Sno Drift Rallies a Success for DFL Racing
Atlanta, MI - It was another exciting weekend of rallying for the DFL Racing team at the Sno Drift Rally in Atlanta, MI on January 28th and 29th. Sno Drift is the first event of the 2005 National Championship, the 2005 Central Regional Championship, the first event run under the new sanctioning of Rally America, and one of the oldest rally races in the United States. The team consisted of Carl Seidel of Houghton, MI driving their Production class VW Golf GTI with Eric Iverson from Minneapolis, MN codriving to second in class on Friday, and Ryan Johnson of Blaine, MN codriving to first in class on Saturday.
Friday's stages started out with a little excitement. Having taken the first stage relatively calmly to get a feel for the icy and snowy conditions, Seidel got a little over-exuberant on the second stage which resulted in a high speed spin. Little time was lost, however, and the only damage was a cornering light which broke off in the snow bank. The rest of the day would not go uneventful either, though. On stage four they had another spin from hitting a yield sign. Approximately thirty seconds were lost this time, as Seidel had to work the car to get it out of the snow bank and back on stage. The only damage resulting from this altercation was a dented fender, luckily. Convinced now that he had to take it a little bit easier, Seidel just planned on cruising to the finish for the night, yet the second to last stage held more surprises. A few miles before the finish Iverson exclaimed into the intercom, "I'm blowin cookies!" At first, Seidel didn't know what to make of this. What about cookies? Then he figured it out and pulled over so Iverson could unload his stomach contents not in the car. Iverson's stomach was barely able to hold on for the last stage, but the duo still managed to place second in their class. Then after the completion of the night Iverson and Seidel set out to find a replacement codriver for Saturday's stages. Ryan Johnson was up to the task. He was codiving for Matt Moro in his Production GT class Subaru WRX when they DNF'd on Friday.
Saturday was an easy cruise and a good Production class battle for first. Car 515 campaigned by brothers Adam and Philip Boullion led until they DNF'd on stage ten, then Seidel and Iverson took over the lead. On stage twelve Mike Merbach and Jeff Feldt piloted their VW Jetta into first in the class by twenty two seconds. Seidel and Johnson closed that gap to eighteen seconds after stage thirteen. Again on stage fourteen Seidel and Johnson narrowed the gap by a couple more seconds, now just sixteen and a half seconds separated the teams with three stages to go. The places switched on stage fifteen, Seidel/Johnson were twenty six seconds faster than Merbach/Feldt and now lead by ten seconds. The ten second lead continued for the second to last stage, stage sixteen. On the very last stage of the race Merbach/Feldt gained seven seconds on Seidel/Johnson, but still ended up three seconds behind in the final total stage time.
Overall it was a fantastic event. The Rally America staff did an excellent job of putting the rally on, the future of rally in the United States looks bright. There were no problems with the rally car the entire weekend, to the dismay of the service crew provided by Martineau and Morris Contracting, Inc. of Houghton, MI. But little to no damage is alright with Seidel, the car owner. The DFL Racing team now leads the Central Region Production Class Championship with 90 points, Merbach/Feldt have 59, and Boullion/Boullion have 40. The next event on the calendar for DFL Racing is the Headwaters Regional Rally in Park River, MN on May 14th.