Americas Rallycross Begins 2019 Championship at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 7, 2019) – Americas Rallycross (ARX) 2019 is all set to get underway with a bang this weekend at the Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio, where the wide-open fight to become the next champion will commence.
Much has changed amongst the ARX teams over the off-season, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who will shine in the first round this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Course’s brand-new rallycross facility.
Reigning ARX Supercar Champion Scott Speed made a major move over the off-season from the Andretti Rallycross team to Subaru Motorsports USA and will make his first-ever start in a Subaru WRX STI at Mid-Ohio, targeting the team’s first ARX podium and victory.
He is joined at Subaru by the experienced pairing of Sweden’s Patrik Sandell and Australia’s Chris Atkinson, both drivers famous for success on the World Rally stages before turning their hands to rallycross. Sandell finished third in the ARX points standings last season and like Speed, is targeting the title in the re-worked Subaru.
Sandwiched between Speed and Sandell in last season’s championship standings was former rallycross champion Tanner Foust, who won two rounds of the 2018 ARX season, including the first-ever ARX event at Silverstone in the UK in an Andretti Rallycross Volkswagen Beetle. He remains in the same No. 34 machine for 2019 and is joined by ARX2 graduate Cabot Bigham.
Bigham isn’t the only ARX2 driver stepping up to the Supercars this year, as Travis PeCoy joins Canadian star Steve Arpin for Loenbro Motorsports. The team ran Ford Focus RS RXs in ARX last season but have now switched to a pair of Fiestas for 2019, with the cars undergoing serious development work over the winter in a bid to mount a title challenge.
The ARX schedule will start and end at Mid-Ohio, with a double-header weekend at Gateway Motorsports Park for rounds two and three in July, a visit to Trois-Rivieres in Canada in August and down to Austin, Texas at the Circuit of The Americas in September, before the sixth and final round at Mid-Ohio in October.
At each event, the official ARX single-specification support category, ARX2 will compete, along with the brand new ARX3 series.
Live coverage begins on Saturday, June 8 at 11:50 a.m. ET with Qualifying 1. Every round and every lap of ARX and ARX2 coverage will be shown live on Facebook.com/ARXRallycross, with highlights from the Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio airing on CBS Sports Network on June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET.
ARX2 Headlined by Returning Contenders, IndyCar Drivers and Experience Rookies
The Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio Features Rounds 1 & 2 of the 2019 Championship
LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 7, 2019) – A new champion will be crowned in ARX2 this season, the official single-specification support category to Americas Rallycross (ARX) which will burst into action this weekend at the Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio.
Big motorsport names and experienced rallycross drivers make up the grid in the second-tier division for the 2019 season. Buhl Sport Detroit driver Alex Keyes won the final two races of 2018 season in Austin, Texas and will return for a second season in the No. 4 Racing4Detroit ARX2 machine. Another ARX2 podium finisher from the first ARX season, Cole Keatts, has signed to race as part of a four-car team for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing.
Joining Keatts will be veteran Indianapolis 500 driver J.R. Hildebrand in the No. 48 WIX Filters with Mecum Auctions machine. The 31-year old Californian is making his rallycross debut in ARX2 as part of a two-weekend program for the double-headers at Mid-Ohio and at ARX of Gateway next month. Hildebrand has already tested the all-wheel-drive DRR car and will be joined on the grid by his DRR Indy 500 teammate, Sage Karam. The former Indy Lights champion will drive the No. 24 WIX Filters DRR race car at Mid-Ohio and Gateway.
The team’s fourth driver will be 14-year old Gray Leadbetter, the first female to compete in ARX2. Leadbetter will race the Oil2Soil-sponsored DRR car for the entire nine-race schedule. She has previous experience of competing on both two and four wheels and has been racing since she was just three years old. Her recent credentials include winning back-to-back regional amateur Arenacross championships and an international karting title, as well as competing in UTV off-road racing and Mini-Outlaw sprints. Under the guidance of 2004 Indy 500 champion Buddy Rice, Leadbetter has recently tested a wide range of cars in the US and Europe.
After making his rallycross debut in ARX2 last season and finishing on the podium on his way to fourth in the points, Jamaican driver Fraser McConnell has been racing in the FIA World Rallycross Championship RX2 support class this season in Europe and is challenging for the top positions. He will drive for DirtFish Motorsports in the first double-header of the ARX2 season this weekend at Mid-Ohio and will be joined by Brad DeBerti, who has made a name for himself in off-road short course racing and is a former Pro-Lite category champion.
Americas Rallycross will also include a third-tier division for the first time in 2019 with ARX3 providing an introductory-level into the sport. After being used as the official vehicle of the 2018 World Rallycross USA celebrity event, the 200hp six-speed sequential SIERRA buggies, weighing 900lbs and launching from 0-60mph in under 2.8 seconds provide a great first-step for young drivers looking to compete in ARX. Drivers competing include Aaron Kaufman, James Kirkham, Bill Shuster, Jim Jonsin, John McInnes and Dave Wallingford.
ARX2 Coverage will be shown live all weekend long on Facebook.com/ARXRallycross and featured on the CBS Sports Network broadcast on Wednesday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET.