Speedway, Indiana (May 16, 2018)
With the inaugural year of the American Rally Association (ARA) successfully in the record books, the second year of North America’s newest stage rally championship is off to an exciting start. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of the United States Auto Club (USAC), an organization which dates back to 1955 and currently manages seventeen different race series, ARA has an even more secure base in which to operate from these days.
In addition, ARA also benefits from a new full-time management team lead by longtime rally driver & co-driver, Doug Shepherd from Michigan. With nearly 40 years of experience in the sport of stage rally, Shepherd brings a vast amount of knowledge and experience to this key role. Assembled by USAC CEO Kevin Miller following the conclusion of the 2017 season, the full-time team has the ability to react to the needs of the ARA on a daily basis. This is something that Miller felt was extremely important for the series and the organization to have in place going into year two in order to be successful.
With a simplified set of classes that allow for better competition, a revised set of technical rules, a 2018 National Championship Series that consists of seven well-organized events taking place from April to October covering six states from coast-to-coast, and a growing list of nationally recognized marketing partners and contingency sponsors which include Subaru of America, Ford Performance, VP Racing Fuels, Autoweek, Maxxis Tires, Hoosier Racing Tire, Cooper Tire, GrimmSpeed, and AMSOIL, the stage has been set.
“After a hectic four months I am happy to say that we have most of the people and systems in place to handle the ARA operations”, said Doug Shepherd. “The media and industry response to the USAC/ARA partnership has been fantastic with many new marketing and contingency sponsorship programs benefitting the ARA Championship series. This brings increased visibility to the events and the participants and makes the all the hard work in the office worthwhile.”
The American Rally Association’s inaugural rally of their 7-event 2018 National Championship Series, the Oregon Trail Rally based in Portland, Oregon, took place April 20th – 22nd. Under near-perfect weather conditions, 58 top-level rally teams from across the United States and Canada gathered to kick off the American Rally Association’s second season. Following an evening of incredibly close competition at Portland International Raceway on Friday, where rally fans watched their favorite teams compete on a mixture of tarmac and gravel surfaces in a Super-Special format, the teams and fans moved several hours east along the Columbia River Valley to The Dalles, Oregon, for Saturday and Sunday.
Competition resumed in Goldendale, Washington on Saturday, April 21st, with 55 miles of racing stages in a 200 mile c