Tag Archives: US Rally

National Competition Intensifies 2WD Challenge at Prescott

The 2015 Prescott Rally was the culmination of the local California Rally Series Championship, the points battle for the Pacific Rally Cup, and the winner-take-all NASA National Rally Championship. With that as a starting point for the competition, it was going to be a real challenge to capture any of those 2C winnings. Teams from all over the country traveled to take part in the event, and this offered a unique opportunity to see just how fast the 2WD competition in the Southwest is. Our supporters, Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports, believe that starting with 2WD is the best path to future success in the sport and they encourage competitors to master these skills before upgrading rally machinery.

Local competitor Brian Scott took his historic rally machine off the display floor of the local Nissan dealership and right onto the leader board for stages 1 and 2. This gorgeous Datsun 240Z has all the trimmings of a modern rally car and is an instant hit with spectators. In the right seat, Brian’s long-time experienced co-driver John Dillon made this team hard to catch at their home event. On day two however, the team broke the throttle cable (no doubt pushing it to the max) and was out of the fight.

Brad Morris had helped to arrange travel for himself and the AWD team of Eric Wages from South Carolina to take on the NNRC. Brad has driven and won this event in the past, and along with local co-driver Doug Nagy, the team was looking for the win. Setting a 4th fastest time on SS1 the team charged into the second stage. They suffered a hit to the right front of their Mitsubishi Lancer, which caused two flats. With only one spare, they limped into the first service. On Saturday they did well to climb back up into the top spots, but a broken axle would end their event on the very last stage.

Brent Lee had to scramble a bit to find a co-driver for Prescott, as his mentor John Dillon would be riding in the Datsun. Experienced Northwest co-driver Billy Irvin stepped up for the 2WD challenge, and a chance at the national championship title in Brent’s Ford Fiesta R2. The pair was quickly up to speed setting a fourth fastest on stage 2, and was just behind Millen setting second on stage 3. An electrical sensor problem that prevented the engine from knowing its temperature crept up on them and they unfortunately stopped towards the end of stage 4. In the spirit of pressing on, they would restart on Saturday but the problem resurfaced and the car refused to start after stage 8.

Mike Hurst, who has been involved with the operation of rallies for many years, so it was exciting for him to come out and race in a very clean Ford Capri loaned from Bob Olson. Along with experienced driver / co-driver Michel Hoche-Mong the team was at the head of the 2WD pack on Friday. They set great times for the first two stages on Saturday, but a leaking radiator was discovered pulling into service. The bottom of the aluminum tank had come in direct contact with the chassis, so a quick repair was out of the question and Mike chose to save the car and savor his first outing in a rally car in many years.

Two teams having a great time at Prescott were Richard Burden with co-driver Sean McElwain in Richard’s new VW Golf, and Steven Egger and Christopher Chenoweth in Steve’s BMW 318i. Richard has some experience with Irish rally, and enjoyed shaking out his new car on the technical stages. Consistent over the two-day rally, Steven approached the event with a great attitude. Both teams took to the stages and always had big smiles when they came into service.

Determination was what allowed Javier Olivares and Gian Castellanos in their Ford Escort to finish the event. An electrical problem with their fuel system cropped up on stage 9, and the team barely made the cutoff time for the next stage. It was reported that the co-driver was holding wires together to keep the car running. After their defeat at Gorman, the team was happy to be at the final time control on Saturday.

Learning just how much rally is about pressing on regardless, Jason Hamilton and Ralph Pond started their first rally with alternator problems. Competing on their very first stages they set a decent time on SS1. The Ford Mustang was running off the battery and some bad wiring was identified when they came into the first service stop after SS2. They charged it as best they could with the service truck and headed off into the night. They would retire shortly afterwards, but we know they’ll be back!

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Gary DeMasi & Marie Boyd – 5th

Making the tow all the way from Pennsylvania, Gary DeMasi was looking to challenge the roads and competitors of the Southwest. Teaming up with local co-driver Marie Boyd, the V8 Rally Ranger would tackle the wide flowing roads. Slow at first, but picking up speed, DeMasi gained confidence with the open exposures Prescott provides. Having some issues with fuel didn’t prevent them from continuing on Saturday, and Gary’s unstoppable determination would see the team all the way to the awards. Grabbing a small piece of the cash pool, Gary DeMasi and Marie Boyd were fifth in 2C and finished as the third qualified team for the national championship.

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Chris Palermo & Andy Bautista – 4th

Chris Palermo and Andy Bautista were new teammates for Prescott in their Nissan Sentra. Problems with a brake pad on Friday night was the only thing that slowed them for the weekend. Battling with Andrew Cowan and Ryan Dunham in their more powerful VW Jetta, the fight went down to the wire with Cowan losing a rear wheel on stage 12. This put Palermo into 4th place in the 2WD Challenge.

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Ray Piloto & Brock Palmer – 3rd

Ray Piloto and Brock Palmer were debuting their brand new Chevrolet Sonic at Prescott. Not wrapped up in the championship or national fight, the team had a relatively stress free weekend. Some turbo issues were sorted on Saturday morning and the climb to the top of the leader board was on. Grabbing the third fastest time on the last stage would land them third in 2C for the weekend and Ray Piloto would take home $75.

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Markus Saarinen & Alicia Saarinen – 2nd

Markus Saarinen admitted that the gearbox he had to work with was not the best for the fast Prescott stages. Along with his co-driver and wife Alicia, the couple was still flying off the jumps and cattle guard crossings that dot the roads. Matching speed with Millen on Saturday wasn’t going to be enough to take the lead, but staying in second in 2WD and fifth overall was going to capture points for the Pacific Rally Cup, and $150 of 2C cash!

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Ryan Millen & Christina Fate – 1st

Ryan Millen and Christina Fate were squarely on a mission to finish out a great season of events with their Toyota RAV4. Grabbing cash at two of the three 2C events this year, many knew they were going to be competitive at their very first Prescott. Once again using his Baja desert racing skills, Ryan was able to get out ahead on stage 3 when the sun set and the dust came up. Grabbing a minute on most of the field, the team catapulted into the lead. They take home first place in 2WD, third overall, and $250 worth of cash for winning the 2WD Challenge!

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.

More info on 2C – The 2WD Challenge
Prescott Rally
The event was part of the California Rally Series
This event was part of the Pacific Rally Cup
This event was the 2015 NASA National Rally Championship Final

Photos by Matthew T. Stryker
Stryker Rally Media

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.

2C Brings out the Competition Next Weekend at Prescott!

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NASA Rally Sport recently announced the 2C – 2WD Challenge for the 2014 Prescott Rally, and drivers from all over the country responded. Offering fierce competition and a chance at a significant cash prize, 2C is what grassroots rally competitors are looking for. The 2WD Challenge is presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports, who believe learning to push the limits of 2WD rally cars is the best path to future success in the sport.

Hot off his 2014 NASA National Rally Championship win in 2WD, Matt Brandenburg, driving an e36 BMW M3, expressed interest in coming to Prescott shortly after Black River Stages last weekend! The challenge was made sweeter when Derik Nelson, an accomplished driver from the Northwest, who won 2WD at the 2014 Idaho Rally and is currently leading the points for the Pacific Rally Cup – signed up in his e36 BMW M3. This could be an incredible Bimmer showdown on the fast and flowing Prescott stages!

Markus Saarinen has been getting faster all year in his Mini Cooper. He will be recovering from a crash that removed the front right wheel and strut at the Gorman Ridge Rally a month ago. Markus will have his work cut out for him trying to get ahead of Kristopher Marciniak in his Dodge Neon. Kristopher is no stranger to Prescott and was the 2013 NNRC 2WD Champion and came in 4th overall last year to take the title. In the mix will be a Datsun 240Z driven by Brian Scott. Brian has extensive experience at this event in an AWD car, and took the 2WD class win last year.

Tony Chavez could take the Pacific Rally Cup home if Derik Nelson has issues, but Tony is driving a slower production class car for the California Rally Series. Tony made it clear though: “We already clinched the P-Stock championship. We will race for the 2WD win! No more points racing for us!” We couldn’t have said it better, this is what 2C is all about!

Bret Robinson will be looking to shake out the gremlins from Idaho and Gorman that seemed to be giving his VW Golf some trouble. Other VW Golf hardware will be driven by Erik Christiansen who came from behind to set the fastest 2WD time on the 2014 High Desert Trails Power Stage earlier this year! Roger Matthews will be coming down from Colorado with one of two Volkswagen Rally cars. He’s looking for a solid finish after his DNF at Idaho.

Some wildcards at this event include: Championship co-driver Chrissie Beavis, who pulled the family’s VW Jetta out of storage for this event. Not having driven for a few years shouldn’t mean much, as she is used to incredible speeds from the right seat in Open AWD cars. Also, Jason Lightner in a very fast Porsche 912 has been known to set some great stage times in his vintage rally machinery.

Rounding out the 2WD Competition will be Larry Gross in his Toyota Corolla, Deke Williams in a Dodge Neon, Steven Egger in a BMW 318i, and Jason Trubey in a VW Jetta. With the prize fund out to 5th place, look for any of these guys to be taking home some cash!

The stage is set for some absolutely fantastic 2WD competition. Follow live scores and text for the Prescott Rally at http://rallydata.com. On Twitter @NASARallySport #2WDRally #PrescottRally and on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/NASARallySport. Looking to learn to drive at the limit in a 2WD car? Go to the Team O’Neil Rally School at http://www.teamoneil.com. Looking to build a 2WD car? Talk to Streetwise Motorsports at http://streetwiseparts.com.

Announcing the NASA Rally Sport Two Wheel Drive Challenge – 2C

2C 2WD ChallengeThe world’s best drivers started out in small two wheel drive cars. They pushed the limits of their low-traction machines and broke records people never expected. Thousands of hours spent practicing techniques would them serve well when their cars got faster and the margin of error became smaller. For some, 2WD is a stepping stone. For others, it is the only class that matters.

NASA Rally Sport is proud to introduce the Two Wheel Drive Challenge presented by Team O’Neil Rally School and Streetwise Motorsports. 2C will consist of several individual events throughout the country starting with the Prescott Rally this October 3-4th. 2C events will offer a substantial $2,000+ cash purse paid out to 5th place for the fastest 2WD driver. Prescott will also award a 1 day rally school to a driver of its choosing. The 2WD Challenge is offering great competition with a simple rule: Two wheels driven.

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.

The Prescott Rally headquartered in Prescott, AZ will feature 110 stage miles over two days. This event will push 2WD competitors to maintain speed going up the long hill into Jerome and reward those who stay on the throttle coming down into the valley where top speeds will be achieved. It doesn’t happen often, but should there be precipitation, a whole new appreciation for car control will be learned. Payout is as follows for rally finishers in 2C: 1st – $1000, 2nd – $600, 3rd – $300, 4th – $100, 5th – $60. The organizers have extended the early entry deadline to Monday, September 8th 2014.

Our mission is to continue growing the grassroots excitement of the sport and encourage the building of more affordable rally cars and setting the goal of winning individual events. We want to showcase grassroots talent with social platforms, driver interviews, video, and buzz around the battles that are often overlooked. Let’s show the next generation of rallyists how much fun we can have driving as fast as possible on closed dirt roads! Join us!

NASA National Rally Championship Wild Card Picks Revealed

For 2014 the ultimate rally event of the NASA Rally Sport season is the Black River Stages in upper New York. On the weekend of September 20 and 21, the rally will host this year’s NASA National Rally Championship and crown both All Wheel Drive and Two Wheel Drive national champions. Simultaneously, Black River Stages is the final round of the Atlantic Rally Cup presented by RallyPro at The FIRM. With just over six weeks until the rally takes place, the list of national qualifiers moves closer to being cemented with this announcement of the Wild Card drivers.

The NASA National Rally Championship philosophy works similarly to the Olympics: first you qualify, then a winner takes all battle for the title takes place in a single venue where all comers have a decent shot. There are a variety of methods of qualification, all designed to identify fast rally drivers. In short, you can win the final stage of a rally, you can win a rally, or you can win a regional series. All of these are excellent indicators that the driver is fast and has the potential to be a national champion. This method prioritizes driver speed over driver budget. And finally, there is the Wild Card. Each NASA Rally Sport director, in the Western part of the country, Kris Marciniak, and for the Eastern part, Anders Green, chooses a racer who they believe has the capability to take the crown but for some reason didn’t otherwise qualify.

“My Wild Card choice is Matt Brandenburg.” revealed Director Anders Green. “He had a tough start to the season, a penalty that kept him off the podium at the Sandblast Rally which would have qualified him for Nationals. But what really impressed me is how he picked himself back up after that event, kept at the grindstone, worked on his car and team and kept pushing through the rest of the season. It’s a perfect trifecta: he loves rear wheel drive, I love promoting two wheel drive, and the fans love his ridiculously yellow sideways BMW.”

“When it came to my Wild Card choice, I went with history.” started Director Kris Marciniak. “Jason Smith’s first rally as a driver was Black River Stages, way back in 2009. He worked his way up from Dead Last But Finished at that rally to multiple event wins and winning the All Wheel Drive Atlantic Rally Cup in just two short years. And doing it in an Open AWD Light car with no turbo speaks to the skill he has behind the wheel.”

The rally is always looking for passionate fans who want to get closer to the action by volunteering. Special access combined with great perks like free camping, food, and clothing makes volunteering the best way to meet up with a whole new group of rally fanatics in your area. Go to BlackRiverStages.com for more information on all aspects of the rally.

NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body of 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.

NASA Rally Sport Congratulates Ray Hocker and Names New West Coast Director

Ten years ago in the wake of some major changes to the sport of rally in the US, Ray Hocker declared the need to “make sure that our clubman competitors know that we will continue to represent their interests in providing safe, fun, and affordable events.” Establishing NASA Rally Sport with John Shirley, and supported by John Lindsey of the National Auto Sport Association, the goal was to work with all organizers and competitors for the growth of the sport.

Both Ray and his wife Donna have worked tirelessly to make sure that grassroots rally in this country thrived. They are part of the rich history of California Rally Series events like Rim of the World, High Desert Trails, Ramada Express International Rally, and the Gorman Ridge Rally, etc. If you’re at all involved in the sport, you’ve been greeted by Donna’s smile in registration and seen Ray at various controls throughout the events making sure everything is running smooth.

Ray and Donna will continue to support and organize events, but they have chosen to transition from their roles and would like to name a new director. “We would like to announce that Kristopher Marciniak will be the new NASA Rally Sport West Director. Along with his wife Christine, we are confident about the future and we know we are leaving it in good hands,” said Ray Hocker. “We are very pleased about the growth of the sport and we’re excited to see where NASA Rally Sport can go.” The Hockers’ dedication and passion for the sport of rally is what helped to make NASA Rally Sport the grassroots rally sanctioning body it is today. We thank them for their hard work and congratulate them on their success.

The Marciniaks first competed at the Gorman Ridge Rally in 2005, got engaged on a turnaround stage at the Prescott Rally in 2006, and organized their first event in 2009 (The High Desert Trails Rally). They are involved in various supporting roles with the California Rally Series, and continue to compete with their new car and update their popular US rally website: rallynotes.com

“We’re absolutely excited to take on this role. Our passion is stage rallying, and being competitors – I feel – makes us sharp organizers,” Kristopher spoke of the Marciniaks’ new role at NASA Rally Sport. “Our focus will continue to be the enjoyment of our grassroots racers. Every racer, from those at the front of the pack to the team starting last, we want everyone to have a great time at our events.”

NASA Rally Sport, the grassroots rally sanctioning body in the US, focuses on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers. For more information visit: www.nasarallysport.com

Sandblast Rally Approaches with Record Breaking Car Entry Numbers and Non-Stop Service Park Action

Over fifty car teams and over forty motorcycle riders will be descending on Chesterfield County, South Carolina next weekend. The event, known as the Sandblast Rally, is the first event in the Atlantic Rally Cup presented by RallyPro at The FIRM. Volunteers and racers will be on site beginning Thursday. Travelling from as far north as Maine and as far west as Colorado, racers will begin towing their vehicles on Tuesday for the Saturday race. Internationally, two drivers from China are coming to rally for the first time in the US.

“It’s staggering the size of the turnout we have this year.” says Anders Green, a Director at NASA Rally Sport. “Right now we’re at 70% growth in the number of cars entered. Last year was a good year too, with 34% growth in car count. I really think it speaks to the affordable, grassroots-focused racing that NASA Rally Sport concentrates on. Entry lists always fluctuate, but right now Sandblast is on track to field the largest number of cars ever run there.” The current record for car entries at Sandblast, 50 cars, was set in 2003, arguably the peak of modern rally in the US.

A host of new blood is coming into NASA Rally Sport to go rally racing in 2014. It’s easy for fans to recognize these up and coming rally drivers, as they are all assigned a race number in the 900 to 999 range. Just a few months into this year these numbers have already been issued to 29 drivers.

In addition to the cars, a full field of motorcycles will also be on hand. Currently the 2014 rider count is just a handful of riders away from being the largest RallyMoto field ever assembled.

“Logistically a field this large is a challenge.” says Amy Feistel, the race organizer. “No other rally in the country has run a field over 90 entries in the last decade. We are developing more core volunteers and using new technology in the field and in the back office.”

One exciting result of this large amount of cars and motorcycles is “non-stop service”. The service area, also known as the pits, has three scheduled stops during the day. However, the train of vehicles is so long, that the first service wraps into the second, and the second wraps into the third. In other words, before the last cars leave from their first service, the first motorcycles are already coming back in to their second service. Once the first racers arrive in the service area in the mid-morning, a racer will be checking in or out practically every minute till well after dinner.

The best way to watch the race is still by volunteering to help the event, as volunteers are placed right on the race track at key intersections to ensure the overall safety of the event. Anyone can volunteer and sign up via the SandblastRally.com web site. No previous experience is needed and plenty of food and camaraderie will be supplied for the volunteers stationed out in the woods right on the edge of the racing line, as well as at the famous afterparty where the volunteers, crews, riders, and drivers get to mingle and share their stories from the day’s racing.

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, and building the family of racers and volunteers that make rally happen goes hand in hand with that mission. This has resulted in information systems, online scoring tools, registration technology, timing clocks, real time updates via text message, and a plethora of other services that have been developed specifically for NASA Rally Sport.

RallyPro Performance Driving School at The FIRM, the presenting sponsor of the Atlantic Rally Cup, is the only driving school in the country to deliver true rally-based driver training and technique on tarmac, gravel and dirt surfaces, offering an unmatched, thrilling and complete driving experience. The school offers a wide array of performance driving classes, going well beyond rally-specific training, to include on and off road SUV driving and ATV riding.