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Bucky Lasek: “I Will Drive Smart First And Foremost”

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

2012 has been a year of adjustment for skateboarding legend Bucky Lasek, as he competes in his first season of high-level motorsport as a member of the Subaru PUMA Rallycross Team in the Global Rallycross Championship. Lasek made it to his first final round of the season last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, finishing a respectable eighth place and climbing to 13th in championship points. After the race, he took the time to answer some of our questions about his year so far, learning the car, and his goals for the rest of the season:

(Interview coordinated by Chris Yandell)

This is your first season of full-time racing in a major series. How difficult has it been to try and keep up with some of the more experienced drivers? What have you learned over the course of the season?

Yeah, I’ve been like that piece of pasta dropped in the boiling pot a bit late, and expected to be ready with the others! . My team has been very patient and know I’m developing along with my car which is very difficult to do and requires seat time. I’ve learned so much but mostly patience, in regards to results. When you’re learning in front of everyone it’s tough when you really know where you can be but still have to wait for intuition to set in.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

New Hampshire was the first time that the GRC was able to get dirt involved on a NASCAR track, as well as adding an elevated hairpin over the pit wall. In short, it was perhaps the most unique layout of the season. What were some of the biggest challenges on that track?

Bringing dirt in was and is key to all the races. It’s the rally aspect which is very important. The banked hairpin was awesome but very tricky. I actually arrived earlier to NH as a tester on that obstacle and made them widen it for it to actually be derivable, it was originally just way too narrow. Besides that the transition from tarmac to dirt, in what I believe was turn 2, was something I never felt like I nailed right. Also coming out from going under the jump and before the table top was tricky to get grip due to the water feature but it was very fun.

You had an incident with the elevated hairpin in qualifying at New Hampshire that saw you get into the fence. What caused that?

It was my fault, I had slightly touched (not a push but a touch) the gas pedal which was at the time to sensitive and the anti-lag just lurched me forward a bit more than I was ready for. Rookie move, but who knew the gas pedal sensitivity was able to be adjusted. These are the type of things you learn on the fly, and unfortunately in front of everybody when dealing with a new car and team.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

A lot of drivers ran into trouble at New Hampshire, but you kept your car clean through your heat race and the last chance qualifier. What’s the secret to keeping the car in one piece, especially on a technical track like Loudon?

At the time I was really concentrating on seat time and racing clean, which is how you learn. If I went out there and just banged into people, not only would I break my car I’d lose valuable time in the car and learn nothing.

Las Vegas added new modifications to the layout from Charlotte and Texas, adding six-degree banked dirt in the NASCAR infield and putting the shortcut through the gap jump. What did you like about it?

I loved the banked dirt in turn 1 due to the fact dirt is new to my driving/racing style. So any dirt is good dirt in my opinion.

What were your goals for the Las Vegas race weekend? How confident were you in making it to the final?

My goal was to make the final. I was confident even given what little time I’ve been in the car but my last test went very well and I now have the confidence in the car.

Image via Subaru Rally Team USA

How did the addition of the SEMA round affect the way that you approached the first Vegas race and how you will approach the following SEMA race? Do you have anything to lose by driving all-out at Vegas?

I came into the first Vegas race with a new level of confidence stemming from the last testing we had where I felt I was finally able to catch up to some of the developments we were making to the cars. I’m still not in a position to drive “all-out”. I need seat time and will drive smart first and foremost.

Finally, how did you spend the  two months while the GRC was off, prior to Vegas?

I still compete at a very high level in skateboarding so even as bad as I wanted to drive I couldn’t. So I was busy doing some skate competitions. The time off was necessary for me to burn-out a bit in skateboarding and for racing to become the roses I couldn’t wait to smell again!

– Chris Leone

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