ARA Driver Spotlight: Chris Greenhouse
Though his Dodge Neon SRT-4 may look rather unassuming among the usually stacked Open 2WD field it's up against, with driver Chris Greenhouse behind the wheel, it's more than capable of running away from the competition.
Greenhouse has been rallying since 2006, and has been exclusively using the Neon SRT-4 platform, save for one rally in the UK in 2015, so if anyone knows how to get everything out of it, it's him.
Before rally, however, Greenhouse had a similar past to Subaru Motorsports USA driver, Travis Pastrana.
"I grew up, as a kid I raced dirt bikes, uh, sort of like some other kid that raced dirt bikes and decided to move on to other things," he says. "I kind of followed a little bit in [Pastrana's] footsteps there. 'With age I got a cage,' to quote Travis."
After one year of co-driving, Greenhouse got himself a car, and got behind the wheel.
Greenhouse was able to share a little bit more about his Neon, and what makes it somewhat of a rally sleeper car here in the ARA.
"It's got a 2.4 liter turbo, it's good for about 300 or more horsepower and about 300 or more torque," he says. That's over 100 more HP, and 100 more ft-lbs of torque than a Fiesta R2T, though the Neon would be at a weight disadvantage.
It's not all about power though. As any rally enthusiast would tell you, your car needs to be nimble and controllable in the twisting stages you come across.
"Last year we did a pretty major suspension upgrade to it, and that has made this thing sing. I would say that the motor was important to get it to go fast in a straight line, but this was a bigger deal. This thing does what I ask it to do now," Greenhouse remarks.
"We had an old shell, this is a new shell, we built it about a year or so ago," he says.
"The old shell started getting tired and we kinda kept racing it, and it kept failing and having problems, so we decided to build another shell."
Trying to hold on to a shell as long as possible is economical, but will negatively effect your racing ability, but after it's long, hard life, Greenhouse finally decided to make the change.
"[The old shell] had maybe 40 or more rallys on [it], and hard ones, and a lot of hard hits and a lot of hard wrecks so, should've retired it a long time before we did."
Despite this, Greenhouse admits that no matter how good you are, driver error will always be one of the biggest hurdles you'll face.
"I've crashed out while leading two, maybe three times. Sometimes we make problems for ourselves, don't we?" he says, laughing.
Despite the struggles, Greenhouse has preformed extremely well over the years, taking multiple class wins, and many overall podiums.
Greenhouse explains his favorite memory from his rally career, "We won a Canadian National up in 2015, Rallye Baie-des-Chaleurs, that was really a big one for us."
"Don't get me wrong, we've had some big wins here in the US too, I think twice at STPR, and Sno*Drift once too, but that one was really special."
Most recently, Greenhouse has finished second in class at his past two ARA National Rounds, and was even able to take 10th overall last year at the Ojibwe Forests Rally.