So Easy, Even Brian Deegan Can Do It

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
so easy even brian deegan can do it

Disgraceful so-called “pay driving” has been a part of racing since the very beginning. Whether it’s ABBA drummer “Slim” Borgudd’s Formula 1 career, “Malcolm In The Middle” star Frankie Muniz backmarking Formula Atlantic, or even a lame-ass church guitarist driving in Grand-Am, there’s no getting around the fact that the vast majority of people on most racing grids wrote a check to be there.

Ford has a better idea. Instead of letting dentists, attorneys, trust-fund kids, and other no-talent morons pay them to drive their rally cars, they’ve decided to tarnish the already less-than-stellar reputation of rally “racing” by finding the biggest douchebags in the universe and paying them to drive. First it was Tanner Foust, the guy who really, really doesn’t want you to know he’s almost thirty-eight years old. Then it was Ken Block, a fellow best known for having shoes made overseas in conditions that are, ahem, possibly quite terrifying. Where do you go from there?

That’s right! You hire an extreme motorcycle stunter who can’t spell “militia” correctly!

“One thing I am used to is riding dirt bikes,” Deegan said. “I grew up doing it ever since I was eight years old and I feel comfortable there. I went out and won a lot of medals and (then) won at supercross.”

“However there comes a time in your life where you’re like ‘have I done it all, or do I want to take on the next chapter?’ and I saw four-wheels as the next chapter. When the opportunity came through Rockstar and Ford to race rally car at X Games , I was like ‘It sounds pretty cool and I am going to go for it.’ For an athlete who comes from the top of the game to start at the bottom again, it isn’t easy. You have to kill your ego and your confidence is back to where you have to start over and try to learn this as fast as possible. I feel like my technique from dirt bikes and learning how to be the best at a sport has carried over.”

Somebody explain to Deegan that a full factory ride from a major auto manufacturer isn’t “starting at the bottom”, okay? The implications from Ford’s rally strategy are fairly interesting from a business perspective, however; by hiring drivers who are well-known in other fields and turning them into rallyists, the company is implicitly acknowledging that the best publicity to be had from their motorsports ventures has nothing to do with actually winning in those ventures. What if Ford had followed the same strategy for their GT40 program at LeMans, long ago? We could have had Paul McCartney, Andy Warhol, and Ted Kennedy running 220mph down the Mulsanne Straight…

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  • Grzydj Grzydj on Apr 13, 2011

    Baruth needs to start a minivan racing series. He constantly fantasizes about street racing them against other "journalists" whilst on the job. Also, Deegan is a pretty decent chap. I've met him at a few rally races and he was a pretty tidy driver.

  • Joe_thousandaire Joe_thousandaire on Apr 14, 2011

    Isn't "finding the biggest douchebags in the universe and paying them" the whole point of the X-games anyways? Nothing there is sport, its sports-entertainment. Guys with bad haircuts and tattoo sleeves preening for the camera, kind of like the NBA except without the athleticism. In fact the only bad thing I can think of about Tanner Faust is that he touts his X-games drifting 'championships' as if they actually mean anything.

  • Damon Thomas Adding to the POSITIVES... It's a pretty fun car to mod
  • GregLocock Two adjacent states in Australia have different attitudes to roadworthy inspections. In NSW they are annual. In Victoria they only occur at change of ownership. As you'd expect this leads to many people in Vic keeping their old car.So if the worrywarts are correct Victoria's roads would be full of beaten up cars and so have a high accident rate compared with NSW. Oh well, the stats don't agree.
  • Lorenzo In Massachusetts, they used to require an inspection every 6 months, checking your brake lights, turn signals, horn, and headlight alignment, for two bucks.Now I get an "inspection" every two years in California, and all they check is the smog. MAYBE they notice the tire tread, squeaky brakes, or steering when they drive it into the bay, but all they check is the smog equipment and tailpipe emissions.For all they would know, the headlights, horn, and turn signals might not work, and the car has a "speed wobble" at 45 mph. AFAIK, they don't even check EVs.
  • Not Tire shop mechanic tugging on my wheel after I complained of grinding noise didn’t catch that the ball joint was failing. Subsequently failed to prevent the catastrophic failure of the ball joint and separation of the steering knuckle from the car! I’ve never lived in a state that required annual inspection, but can’t say that having the requirement has any bearing on improving safety given my experience with mechanics…
  • Mike978 Wow 700 days even with the recent car shortages.