Tag Archives: rally

NASA Rally Sport Announces 2015 Nat’l Calendar with Video

Instead of a press release that has a bunch of dates and locations. NASA Rally Sport decided to take you to the action with their 2015 National Calendar announcement. You get to see a short clip of the flavor and in-car from each event, and you quickly realize that NRS has events all over the country, and they have a lot of them! Info and more on their website NASARallySport.com to help get you started in US Rally!

Jason Smith and Matt Brandenburg Earn National Rally Championship Titles at BRS

The woods of Upstate New York played host to two days of intense rally action last month. Black River Stages, the 2014 NASA National Rally Championship Event was held in the towns of Harrisville and Croghan on September 20-21st. A big field of rally teams from all over the country showed up to see just who would have what it takes to be the fastest on these twisty and sometimes muddy stages. Six qualifying events across the country led up to this winner-take-all event.

Jared Lantzy, Jason Smith, Elliott Sherwood, and  Matt Brandenburg

Jared Lantzy, Jason Smith, Elliott Sherwood, and Matt Brandenburg – Photo by Matthew Stryker – Stryker Rally Media

Top honors went to Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive, and Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive.

“We like to use the phrase ‘win it on the stages,’ meaning that the best racing is when driving skill alone determines the outcome, and not frivolous timing penalties or undeserved mechanical breakages,” said NASA Rally Sport East Director Anders Green. “One excellent story that I heard from the weekend was Eric Wages, sitting in second place, and Mike Reilly in third, working hard during a turnaround at repairing frontrunner Jason Smith’s car when both of them would have benefited by doing nothing. That is a dedication to the true spirit of competition that goes beyond lip service. Ultimately, it’s the racers themselves who define the level of honor and nobility that exists in a series.”

Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive

Driver Jason Smith and Co-Driver Jared Lantzy for All Wheel Drive – Photo by Matthew Stryker – Stryker Rally Media

In the Two Wheel Drive class, Brandenburg showed up with a well built motor; it lasted just long enough to complete the stages and not a moment more. Kevin Turner and Matthew Rhoads took second, unable to repeat their amazing performance last year where they won the rally overall. Jim Kelly and Dean Thuline completed the 2WD podium, a pair that has steadily gotten faster all year and certainly one of the top picks for podiums in 2015.

Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive

Driver Matt Brandenburg and Co-Driver Elliott Sherwood for Two Wheel Drive – Photo by Rob Sackyta

The structure of the multiple qualifying methods was based around finding and qualifying racers who have the potential for amazing speed. However, just like the Olympics, on the day of the actual race, no one will be able to sit on their laurels, they must come out on top in that gathering of all of their speedy peers. In many racing series across the country, it is well known that simply towing the race car to enough of the events will grant you a year end trophy, but when it comes to the NASA National Rally Championship, “You can’t win it with a trailer.”

NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body in the US, focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools, technology, and systems to the organizers, racers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is a core mission of NASA Rally Sport. Making sure that rally remains a sustainable and affordable passion for the drivers and organizers while building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen goes hand in hand with that mission.

Pacific Rally Cup Wraps Up with a Shake Up in AWD and 2WD at Prescott

Consisting of five events on the West Coast, the Pacific Rally Cup is awarded to the top scoring 2WD and AWD driver and co-driver for the season. Held at the scenic Prescott Rally in Arizona, this year’s PRC final event would have some surprises.

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John Trucks & Chris Fine at the Prescott narrow bridge.

In AWD, heading into the final event, Todd McAllister nearly had the season locked up with his Subaru WRX STi. With a win at High Desert Trails and a good showing at Rally Idaho, Todd McAllister and navigator Trent Bateman collected points at every PRC event this season supported by the Rallicandi team. At the Gorman Ridge Rally a serious challenger emerged when Rally Kings John Trucks and Christopher Fine took the win over McAllister in their WRX STi.

Suffering with a blown strut, and unable to match McAllister’s speed on the first day of the Prescott Rally, Trucks settled in for the weekend a minute behind and a chance to try and gain on Saturday. The two Subarus of McAllister and Trucks were 1st and 2nd overall going into Saturday morning, when they set almost identical times on the first stage, and Trucks finally took a win on stage two. His fortune was about to dramatically change when McAllister and Bateman lost a steering ball joint, narrowly escaped the posts of a cattle guard at speed, and retired on stage three. Todd remarked: “Out because of a $20 part. It sucks, but we could have done way more damage if we hit that cattle guard.”

Blowing a tire on the last stage and no doubt rattling nerves, John Trucks and Christopher Fine finished the weekend winning the Prescott Rally and the 2014 AWD Pacific Rally Cup. “This is amazing! It’s never over until it’s over,” said Trucks. The team came away with 162 points over McAllister’s 155. Third place competing at this event was Chuck Wilson with 138 points.

Tony Chavez from the air!

Tony Chavez from the air!

In 2WD it looked as though points leader Derik Nelson was the clear favorite. Derik was unable to attend, and this left the door open for Tony Chavez to “cruise to a win.” We know in rally though, things like this rarely happen. The Condor Rally Sport Team had issues just getting to the event when the service truck water pump failed and a late night replacement got them to the event in the early morning of Friday with not enough time and sleep for reconnaissance.

Setting consistent times, Tony Chavez and Raquel Salas worked hard to complete the Prescott Rally and were rewarded with the 2014 2WD Pacific Rally Cup. The team collected 164 points for the season. Tony exclaimed: “What a weekend. A lot of hard work just to get here. We’re excited to be taking home the cup!”

As this event came two weeks after the 2014 NASA National Championship runoff at Black River Stages in New York, it will also serve as a qualifying round for the 2015 NNRC. Winning the final stage at this event (the Power Stage) Duncan Smith in AWD and Markus Saarinen in 2WD instantly qualify. On the podium John Trucks and Chuck Wilson qualify for AWD. Kristopher Marciniak and Bret Robinson also qualify for the finishing on the 2WD podium. Thanks for a great 2014 season. See you next year!

John Trucks, Tony Chavez, Raquel Salas, and Christopher Fine

John Trucks, Tony Chavez, Raquel Salas, and Christopher Fine

NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body in the US, focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. Providing tools, technology, and systems to the organizers, racers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is a core mission of NASA Rally Sport. Making sure that rally remains a sustainable and affordable passion for the drivers and organizers while building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen goes hand in hand with that mission.

Markus Saarinen Takes Prescott 2C Win!

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The beautiful red rock canyons of Arizona were the backdrop to the 2014 Prescott Rally and the first NASA Rally Sport 2WD Challenge. 2C offers up a significant cash prize for 2WD and last weekend gave drivers a chance to really show their talent on the fast and flowing southwest stages. The 2WD Challenge is supported by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports who believe that starting with a 2WD in rally is the best path to future success in the sport.

NNRC 2014 2WD Champion Matt Brandenburg traveled from Ohio with Co-Driver Brian Huntsbarger to be a part of the action after winning two weeks ago at Black River Stages in New York. Matt was the heavy favorite, but an oil soaked clutch on stage 2 quickly put him out after he set the fastest 2WD time on the first stage. Brakim Racing’s e36 BMW M3 did not rejoin the rally on Saturday. Matt Remarked: “Wish we could have fought it out this weekend! One stage just doesn’t cut it.”

Markus Saarinen moved into first after stage 2 and held the lead for the remainder of the weekend. The well equipped Sasquatch Mini Cooper was setting great times and even had a 1st fastest overall on the last stage of the event. Markus and Alicia Saarinen have rallied all over the US in the last few years. Markus had no hesitation when declaring: “Witty Tom is the best rally stage in the country!” For their hard work the team received a $1000 cash prize for 1st in 2WD!

Fighting to maintain 2nd place in 2C last weekend, Kristopher Marciniak, driving a fresh engine in his rallynotes.com 2.0L Dodge Neon, saw his lead slip to just 12 seconds after the first 2 stages on Saturday. The father and son team of Bret and Doug Robinson, who set blistering fast times on Saturday morning in their Volkswagen Golf, forced Kristopher to turn up the speed. The husband and wife team, Kristopher and Christine, responded by setting fast times the remainder of the day and took home the $600 prize for 2nd place. Bret and Doug received $300 for 3rd.

The battle for 4th came absolutely down to the wire. Erik Christiansen and Amy Floyd were determined to improve their stage times from last year at this event in their VW Golf. Chrissie Beavis and Matthew Johnson, who resurrected the family’s Volkswagen Jetta, had an unfortunate flat on stage 1 that set them back about 5 minutes. Determined to claw their way back, the newlyweds began setting a top pace and minutes became seconds as they worked to get back into the hunt passing the father and son team of Larry and Lance Gross who were setting solid times in their Toyota Corolla. During the chase Erik commented: “Chrissie is gaining about 20 seconds a stage on us. We might not be able to hold them off.” On the final pass, Erik and Amy managed to keep their lead by only 2.5 seconds! They were awarded $100, and Chrissie and Matthew were handed the fifth place and final prize of $60.

With the success of NASA Rally Sport’s first 2C event there will be an announcement on 2015 2C events very soon. NRS wants 2C to encourage the building of more affordable 2WD rally cars by setting the goal of winning individual events. 2C competitors have a blast driving as fast as possible on closed dirt roads!

Both of our presenting sponsors are serious about 2WD as a starting point for rally. Team O’Neil in Dalton, NH offers classes in Ford Fiesta school cars and their curriculum focuses on starting with the skills and techniques of 2WD. Streetwise Motorsports in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA builds and supports 2WD rally cars and is ready to help you get started in 2C with their many years of technical experience.