Conner Martell Storms to ARX2 Victory in Austin
Vermont’s Conner Martell stormed to victory in the first-ever round of ARX2, the official support category to Americas Rallycross (ARX) at the Circuit of The Americas in the DirtFish ARX of COTA last weekend (July 14).
The DirtFish driver even missed Q2 with a clutch problem but was quickest in Q3 and Q4 to climb back into contention. His climb to victory wasn’t made easier in the second semifinal when he tried an outside move at the first turn and ran wide. He later passed Keatts Motorsports’ Cole Keatts for second and was fortunate to finish second with a puncture as his DirtFish teammate James Rimmer had his chances ended by spinning into the tire wall.
Martell would then be moved to the front of the grid for the final when the most consistent driver from qualifying, Christian Brooks, was given a penalty for contact in the semifinal. Martell made a better start than TQ (top qualifier) Fraser McConnell, from Jamaica, in the final and led until the checkered flag to take the first ARX2 victory.
Behind, in a gnarly battle, Brooks passed Buhl Sport Detroit's Alex Keyes in the joker at the first turn, then cleared Keatts to gain another position. The action intensified at the joker merge later in the race as the identical cars fought for the podium places. On Lap 5, McConnell dropped down the order from contact and DirtFish’s Scott Anderson stopped with half a lap to run.
Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Matt Carpoff was fourth in Semifinal One after a solid performance in qualifying, but Travis PeCoy had a difficult first ARX2 event, the engine failed in his car in Q1. The Dreyer & Reinbold Racing mechanics did an awesome job to change the motor for Q4, where he was fifth quickest, but without the two times needed to qualify he didn’t make the semifinals.
“It’s awesome to win the first ARX2 round, I’m really excited and I’m just praying that I can do the rest of the ARX2 season because I’m full time with RX2 this year and I’m hoping that we can get enough money together to do the rest of the ARX2 series,” explained Martell. “This means a lot, it’s awesome coming to the first round of a series and racing against everyone I used to race against, going out and winning – that always feels great. Nobody else will ever be able to say they won the first ARX2 event. The DirtFish team did an amazing job this weekend and I’m really hoping I can continue so I can go for the Championship.”
The next round of ARX2 will be a doubleheader event at Trois Rivieres in Canada, supporting the third round of Americas Rallycross (ARX) and round seven of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. “I raced at Trois-Rivieres last year, we did actually pretty well until the final when I got hit on the second lap,” said Martell. “The I’m really excited to go back, I’m going there anyway for the RX2 round and I’m hoping we can do both. The track’s awesome, it’s in the open surrounded by grandstands and last time every seat was filled. The fans know rallycross, it’s a great place to be.”