RAmer: 2008 season preview

PROVEN WINNERS, TALENTED NEWCOMERS TO CONTEST 2008 RALLY AMERICA SERIES SEASON Pastrana, Pinker, Block to Renew Championship Rivalry; BMX Star Mirra to Make U.S. Rally Racing Debut at Season Opener MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 8, 2008 -- Building...

PROVEN WINNERS, TALENTED NEWCOMERS TO CONTEST 2008 RALLY AMERICA SERIES SEASON

Pastrana, Pinker, Block to Renew Championship Rivalry; BMX Star Mirra to Make U.S. Rally Racing Debut at Season Opener

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 8, 2008 -- Building on a successful 2007 season that featured unprecedented close competition and the emergence of new series stars, the nation's top rally racing drivers will kick off the 2008 Rally America National Championship Series season at the demanding Sno*Drift rally from Jan. 25-26 in Atlanta, Mich.

"It's always exciting to begin a new season, and this one looks to be the most competitive and exciting to date," said Rally America Managing Director J.B. Niday. "Several drivers have stepped up to new cars, and the rivalry between our top teams has actually heated up during the off-season.

"We also have the addition of BMX superstar Dave Mirra, which will help attract new fans to the sport of rally."

Two-time Rally America titlist and defending national champion Travis Pastrana (Subaru Rally Team USA) will face familiar challengers, including his SRT USA teammate Ken Block and the Rockstar Energy Drink Rally Team of Andrew Pinker and Tanner Foust.

In 2007, a tight battle for the Rally America championship came down to the season finale, with Pinker and Block finishing just 12 and 21 points behind Pastrana, respectively, in the overall standings.

Fan favorite Matthew Johnson, who claimed his second consecutive Rally America Production GT (PGT) class title in 2007, will advance to the elite Open class for 2008. Also moving up to Open class competition is 19-year-old Kyle Sarasin, the 2007 Rally America Rookie of the Year and two-wheel-drive standout.

Another competitor of note is Amy BeberVanzo, who along with new co-driver Aubrey Volger will form the only all-female team in national rally competition. BeberVanzo, who competed in select Rally America events in 2007, returns for a complete season in 2008, while hill-climb specialist Volger will make her Rally America debut at Sno*Drift.

Other talented newcomers who will contest the 2008 Rally America National Championship include Irish import Will Corry, the Group N class winner at Rally Colorado in 2007, and BMX legend Mirra, who will make his American rally debut at the season opener.

Mirra, who is recognized as one of the world's most well-known action sports athletes and is credited with bringing freestyle BMX into the mainstream, will team with Pastrana and Block in a three-car effort fielded by Vermont SportsCar.

The 2008 Rally America National Championship season begins Jan. 25-26 with the Sno*Drift rally in Atlanta, Mich.

About Rally America
Based in Golden Valley, Minn., Rally America sanctions the premier rally racing series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2008, Rally America will conduct nine National Championship events at venues across the country, from Olympia, Wash., to Bethel, Maine. Rally America competitors reach speeds well over 100 mph in modified street cars on natural-terrain courses of gravel, dirt or snow. Additionally, through a partnership with ESPN, qualifying Rally America drivers are invited to compete in the Summer X Games, the annual leading action-sport event that is broadcast live on ABC and ESPN.

-credit: www.rally-america.com.

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