We are the 2008 U.S. Rally Championship Series Champions!
Scott and Dillon Named 2008 United States Champions in USRC
Callicoon, NY. "We did it! We ARE the champions!" exclaimed driver Brian Scott (Pine, AZ) after their fourth podium finish of the year. He and John Dillon (Thousand Oaks, CA, codriver) won the 2008 United States Rally Championship (USRC) title by finishing third at the International Rally New York on 1 Nov 2008. The event was the final round of the 2008 USRC championship, which also included the Idaho Rally, Gorman Ridge Rally, and Prescott Rally events in the west and Sandblast Rally, Rally West Virginia, and the New York Rally USA in the east.
"We knew going in that we had to finish the event to be certain of victory," explained Dillon. "If Martin [Donnelly] and Stevie [Duffy] had to finish just three spots ahead of us in order to claim the win. We couldn't just tiptoe through the stages, but had to attack hard enough to stay close to the front." Early in the first day, however, their competition drove off the road and damaged their car, unable to continue.
"We still couldn't relax, even after hearing about their misfortune. A couple of Colorado teams had a mathematical long shot to win, so we still had to be careful to finish. We simply couldn't allow ourselves to make any mistakes out there."
The car, a Subaru WRX STi prepared by Race Technik in Mesa, AZ (www.RaceTechnik.com), gave the team plenty of handling on the slippery surfaces of Friday's stages. Plenty of power was available too to stay in the hunt, thanks to the new Cosworth engine. "A lot of people think of Cosworth only in the context of Indy cars, but they know how to make Subarus go pretty danged quick too," explained Doug Chernis, crew chief. "We tried out the new engine in Prescott [at the Prescott Rally], and it immediately proved itself. The guys won every stage on the way to their overall victory there."
"Sometimes its harder to 'back off' than it is to go flat out," mentioned Scott about their third place finish in New York. "Just before every stage, John would ask me, 'What's our goal?' so I'd be reminded again to focus on the championship. We had a couple of 'moments' on the first day, but after that it became easier to stay aggressive without taking unnecessary chances on these narrow roads."
"I've gotta give plenty of credit to Brian for keeping cool on this one," added the codriver. "Between his driving, the power of the Cosworth, and the work of Doug, Shaun, and J.T. on the car, we were able to achieve the dream that eluded us two years earlier." (They finished third in the USRC championship in 2006.) "After my back injury in Laughlin a year ago, I wasn't sure how much racing I'd do in 2008. For us to work together to earn this title is just incredible. Man, what a great season! I can't thank Brian and the crew enough for this opportunity!"
For 2009, Scott is building a Historic Class rally car, a Datsun 240Z. He still plans to campaign the Subaru from time to time, however. "It's too much fun to not drive it once in a while!" he laughs.