Don't Be Gentle: Indiana Rallycross 2014 Opener
No matter what the racing series, opening day is certainly the most anticipated and exciting event to be a part of – that was definitely true for May's 2014 season kick-off of Indiana Rallycross. For many racers, the end of a season is just the beginning. The beginning of a long winter of rebuilds, addressing problem areas, adding horsepower, fine tuning and planning out the playbook for the upcoming season.
Arriving to Badlands Off-Road Park early in the morning, the buzz of idling and firing engines could be heard as I approached. The noise and scurry of teams doing last minute prep adds even more hype and anticipation for getting the season going. Then the flag drops!
This year, Indiana Rallycross has upped their game. Now that the series is well sponsored, many improvements have been made including more exposure resulting in larger events. The cars have gotten faster and the track layout is getting more challenging and fun to watch.
One of the many benefits of being a part of, or even just spectating, an event such as Indiana Rallycross is the atmosphere. Many patrons of Badlands Off-Road Park stop what they're doing and come to watch the rally action. It's easy to get quickly drawn in, and before you know it MX riders are not only taking off their helmets, but also their plastic body armor as they prepare to stop and watch for a while.
Family-Friendly (& Dog-Friendly)
Families come out together to watch or race. For this one I brought my own Boxer puppy along for the day – to my surprise, many other dogs were present for the outing too.
“GZB” is one of the participants and is always awesome to watch. His highly tuned, naturally aspirated AWD Subaru is consistently one of the fastest cars on the track. His driving style and capabilities make for an exciting display of dirt slinging action coupled with podium finishes. Although GZB is not the only car in the Open Light class, he is very competitive and sporting Rally America stickers – it's clear what his aspirations are.
But GZB wasn't the only wild one on the May 3rd season opener...
Craig Vucich entered the series in his awesome Ultra4 car built by Motor City Machines and himself. While the vehicle isn't exactly built for this course style with tight turns and short distance, the car was fun to watch!
Indiana Rallycross organizer Danny Phillips went along for the ride during a lap and Craig gave it all he could, resulting in bicycling around a tight turn. Welcome to Ultra4, Danny!
There's the "Wild," Then There's the "Fun"
Aside from the wild, there are also the fun cars to watch. For example the Honda Odyssey Minivan, or the “Rental Car.” Some racers run what they rent only to be able to participate in the high energy white knuckle ride. Doesn't matter if you're in a googly-eyed Miata or your daily driver – nothing beats drifting around a gravel road with the skinny pedal to the floor and a big grin on your face.
The standings for the May 3rd event resulted in the following first place finishes:
"A" Class: John Topor in the #308 Subaru WRX
"B" Class: Mirek Namojlak in the #555 Subaru WRX
"C" Class: Nate Miller in the #81 Subaru Impreza
"D" Class: Jarek Sozanski in the #77 Chevy Camaro