Speedway, Indiana (November 9, 2018)
American Rally Association (ARA) officials are pleased to announce that Sno*Drift Rally will join next year's championship as the opening round of the 2019 ARA National Championship Series. Scheduled for January 25-26, 2019 in Atlanta, Michigan, Sno*Drift will see winter weather return to the ARA championship for the first time in nearly two years.
Located in the northern reaches of Michigan's Lower Peninsula near three of the Great Lakes, Sno*Drift Rally is aptly named thanks to its near guarantee of snow or ice. Regarded as one of the more challenging rallies of the year, the conditions at Sno*Drift frequently change from lake effect snow to packed snow, wet snow, dusted ice, and sheet ice. While the weather makes for a tough challenge on its own, the rally ups the ante thanks to tire regulations. Unlike at winter rallies north of the border, studded tires are disallowed in Michigan; limiting the maximum grip available to competitors. A unique approach to driving is necessary for success at Sno*Drift.
Driving at Sno*Drift is about car control; the slick surface reduces the advantage of power and punishes those who lapse in concentration. Adapting to the conditions and controlling wheel spin makes all the difference, and upset victories are common. A fast driver in a slow car can beat a higher seeded team on the snow-packed roads of Michigan.
For the fans, Sno*Drift offers terrific spectating opportunities at multiple points along its 120+ stage mile route. The Super Special stage is a favorite spot that attracts one of the largest stage-side crowds of the season. Run in a gravel pit, fans on the rim get a bird's eye view of the rally action and never miss a corner. The crowd packs in early for the signature stage of Sno*Drift, Bonfire Alley. Campfires and bonfires line the 5 mile stage, built by spectators who light up the night and make an experience unmatched by any other event in North America.
“Sno*Drift is an iconic winter rally and is known for having challenging winter conditions that test the drivers,” said ARA President Doug Shepherd. “It is a compact event in Montmorency County that is well-organized and popular with teams and spectators. It makes a great addition to the 2019 ARA National Championship Series. I look forward to being there in January.”
This coming year will mark the thirty-fourth running of Sno*Drift Rally. First run in 1973, the event has been the opening round of US rally season continuously since 1997. For 2019, Sno*Drift joins an ARA championship packed to the brim with incredible events. The winter rally also shortens the championship off-season by two months – the 2019 ARA National Championship Series now starts on January 25, 2019 when the first car sets off from Parc Expose in Atlanta, Michigan.
Keeping with the winter theme, 2019 ARA regionals kick off in just a few weeks at the Nemadji Trail Rally on December 1, 2018. Nemadji will accept both 2018 and 2019 ARA licenses; it will be the final event to accept 2018 licenses. 2019 ARA licenses will be required at all other rallies next season, including Sno*Drift Rally. They are now available at rallylicense.com.
With the addition of Sno*Drift to the calendar, there are now eight two-day events on the ARA National Championship schedule and another five one-day regional events – the biggest rally season yet for ARA. Due to the expanding schedule, scoring for the 2019 ARA East, West, and National championships is under review with potential revisions to be announced no later than December 1.
The full and updated 2019 ARA season is shown below:
2019 ARA National Championship Series
January 25 – 26
100 Acre Wood Rally
March 15 – 16
April 27 – 28
Oregon Trail Rally
May 31 – June 2
Idaho Rally International
June 29 – 30
New England Forest Rally
July 19 – 20
Ojibwe Forests Rally
August 23 – 24
Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally
September 13 – 14
ARA Standalone Regional Events
Nemadji Trail Rally
December 1, 2018
TBA May, 2019
Tour de Forest Rally
September 21, 2019
Show Me Rally
October 5, 2019
Nemadji Trail Rally
December 7, 2019
Photo Credit: Jason Nugent
About American Rally Association
American Rally Association is a member-driven organization dedicated to the sport of Stage Rally. The ARA provides a transparent, inclusive, and growing sanctioning body to competitors throughout America. A 501 (c)(3) non-profit and wholly owned subsidiary of the United States Auto Club (USAC), ARA is led by seasoned Stage Rally professionals who work hand-in-hand with an experience Board of Directors to deliver a framework for: safety, competition, promotion, and education for all aspects of the sport. The common goal for our members, volunteers, and organizations is a thriving Stage Rally program in America. To connect with ARA, go to americanrallyassociation.org.