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RallyCross News

Matt Williams navigates last year’s RallyCross Nationals course in his Volkswagen Beetle. (Keith Lightfoot) Matt Williams navigates last year’s RallyCross Nationals course in his Volkswagen Beetle. (Keith Lightfoot) View Full Size

Courtesy of Keith Lightfoot and Warren Elliott

TOPEKA, Kan. (Aug. 26, 2014) - After a three-year run at Tulsa (Okla.) Raceway Park, the SCCA RallyCross National Championship moves to a new venue for 2014. This year’s championship event will take place at I-80 Speedway, near Greenwood, Nebraska. The Nebraska Region SCCA, which hosted the first RallyCross championship event in Hastings in 2005, will coordinate this year’s championship during the weekend of Oct. 3-5.

Multiple courses will be set up on the speedway’s large dirt parking areas. If the weather remains dry, expect plenty of grip on the hard-packed racing surface, which has a reputation for being fast and durable. However, if it rains, locals say be prepared for slippery, greasy conditions that will reward drivers who exercise patience and smoothness in the search for traction. This year’s event will feature three courses (Saturday AM, Saturday PM & Sunday AM) and competitors should expect four to six runs on each course, depending on course conditions and event flow. Unlike Solo events, all runs count in RallyCross, so consistency is paramount.

As in past years, our annual Who Will Win prognostications can be difficult since many RallyCross competitors are notorious procrastinators who often wait until the final few weeks before the event to register. At the time this article was prepared, 53 drivers of an expected 120 total entries were registered, so readers should be mindful of this when evaluating our prognostications. And with that disclaimer, here are our predictions for this year’s national championship winners.

Stock Front Wheel Drive (SF)
With only three registered entrants at this time in an expected field of 10 drivers, Stock Front is a difficult call. Ron Foley (Honda Civic Si) has a shot at taking the top spot but Solo standout Drew Little (Acura Integra) will keep things close. Rumor has it that 2014 champion Tim Hardy will be making the trip to Nebraska with his trusty Ford Escort. Plenty of unknowns in this class, particularly since past front-runners James Wilson, Micah Nickelson and Damon Guy Cuccia are not yet registered, but here is our best guess:

1. Tim Hardy
2. Drew Little
3. Ron Foley

Stock Rear Wheel Drive (SR)
Like Stock Front, Stock Rear has only three registered entrants in an expected eight-car field. This year SCCA luminaries Howard and Linda Duncan have swapped their slow but reliable Hyundai Elantra for a tail-happy and slightly faster Mazda Miata. And Nathan Usher who competed in Modified All last year is making the move to Stock Front in another Miata. Expect some of last year’s top competitors, including runner-up Patryk Matecki (Mazda Miata), to show up too. Here’s our call for the top finishers:

1. Nathan Usher
2. Patryck Matecki
3. Howard Duncan

Stock All Wheel Drive (SA)
Stock All will be close, with one or two cones separating the winners and losers. Gonzalo San Miguel (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS) is a perennial favorite with his smooth driving style and will be sharing his car with fellow Utahan Karl Sealander. John Voegeli (Subaru 2.5 RS), Z.B. Lorenc (Subaru Impreza) and Mark Hill (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS) will be in the hunt as well. If 2013 champion Jan Gerber joins the fray, it will be nearly impossible to predict the outcome. Despite a plethora of fast Subarus in this class, watch for 2013 Champion Charles Wright to wheel his rock-solid Mitsubishi Evolution to a repeat win.

1. Charles Wright
2. Gonzo San Miguel
3. Karl Sealander
4. Z.B. Lorenc
5. Mark Hill

Prepared Front Wheel Drive (PF)
Prepared Front will once again have an old-tech look, with classic cars from the 1980’s and 90’s. Bryan Tippens and teenager Alex Hunter will be co-driving the Hunter family’s diminutive Honda CRX. Don Hardy, running his Stock class Ford Escort in Prepared, Mark Smith (VW Golf) and Robert Seelig (Honda CRX Si) will be competitive if they enter. Last year’s champion Chang Ho Kim (Honda Civic Si), Antonio Serracino (Acura Integra) and Jim Rowland (Nissan Sentra SE-R) will battle each other throughout the weekend for the top spot. The winner will need to be cone-free. We predict Rowland will avenge his second-place finish to Kim last year, unless he cracks under the pressure of being picked to win.

1. Jim Rowland
2. Chang Ho Kim
3. Antonio Serracino
4. Bryan Tippens

Prepared Rear Wheel Drive (PR)
Prepared Rear is perennially the smallest class at the national championship. In fact, there are no entrants at this time. Historically, this is the place where old Miatas, Porsche 924s and RX-7s come to relive their glory days. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy a clapped-out Crown Victoria Police Interceptor Special and race your spouse, significant other or kid sister for a national championship.

1. You
2. Your kid sister

Prepared All Wheel Drive (PA)
Expect very close competition for the top trophy positions in Prepared All. Defending Champion Edwin Cunill, who drove Charles Wright’s Stock class Evo to victory last year, will be fast but catchable in his MAZDASPEED6. Harold Denham, driving Warren Elliott’s Mistubishi Evo, has the fastest car in the class, but will he be able to utilize its full potential? Jake Blevins is showing some speed this season in his Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS after making the move from Stock class. Mark Macoubrie (Subaru WRX STi) and Keith Lightfoot (Plymouth Laser RS) will be in the hunt as well, if they can avoid cones. Nebraskan Alex Reinkordt (Subaru Legacy SS) will be on his home turf, and things will only get more interesting if past champions Cody Hatfield and Kubo Kordisch decide to show up. Come Sunday afternoon, the final standings will read:

1. Edwin Cunill
2. Jake Blevins
3. Keith Lightfoot
4. Mark Macoubrie
5. Harold Denham

Modified Front Wheel Drive (MF)
Modified Front will provide the closest racing of the weekend, with several former national champions running in class. Leon Drake (VW Golf) will be on hand to defend his 2013 title. Jon Olschewsk, fresh from a visit to Team O’Neil Rally School, will return with his great-looking Nissan Sentra SER-V, but will it succumb to mechanical woes? Brett Hunter and son Ian Hunter will be compete in their newly-built Honda CRX. Aaron Miller’s Honda Civic will once again be a top contender and Kent Hamilton will be making the trip from Alaska to co-drive with Miller. And don’t overlook Washington’s Kito Brielmaier (Toyota EL31 Tercel) who will be making his debut at Nationals. This will be an exciting class to watch and the winner will be determined on the final run. Here is our prediction:

1. Leon Drake
2. Kent Hamilton
3. Aaron Miller
4. Jon Olschewski
5. Brett Hunter

Modified Rear Wheel Drive (MR)
Lots of RX-7s in this class, with Pete Remner, Aaron Dewey, and Bee and Theresa Thao all driving classic 80’s Mazda iron. Will Lincoln resident Kris Martison (BMW 325is) be able to capitalize on his home track advantage? Plymouth Arrow enthusiasts will be cheering on Jim Rowan. And don’t be surprised to see Will MacDonald show up in his Pre-Cambrian era Volvo. Expect a few last-minute entries in this class that will shake up the final results.

1. Pete Remner
2. Kris Martison
3. Jim Rowan

Modified All Wheel Drive (MA)
Power, speed and traction are the hallmarks of Modified All. With only eight registered entries so far, and another ten or so expected, this class will be difficult to predict. This year Dan Quiet jumps from PA to MA in his newly-built Subaru Legacy 6-cylinder, arguably the best-sounding RallyCross car ever. The usual suspects Peter Zlamany (Plymouth Laser RS), Wayne Stockel (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS), Orion Fairman (Subaru Impreza 2.5 RS), Ryan Sealey (Subaru Impreza), and Jeff Timpe (Subaru Impreza) will be on hand to make things interesting. And a host of other top drivers, including past champion Eric Genack (Subaru WRX), 2013 runner-up Brian Ballinger (Subaru WRX) and some of the Texas RallyCross mafia, including 2013 champion Brianne Corn and Kevin Corn, may show up to make things interesting. At the end of the day, expect Brianne to take the crown back from last year’s champion Warren Elliott (Mitsubishi Evolution). When the dust settles, here are the final results:

1. Brianne Corn
2. Dan Quiet
3. Warren Elliott
4. Peter Zlamany
4. Orion Fairman
5. Wayne Stockel

Although the seers have spoken, every RallyCrosser knows that anything is possible once the dirt begins to fly. We hope to see you in October! 

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