At the final round of the United States Rally Championship, held last weekend at the Laughlin International Rally and Motorsports Festival in Laughlin, NV, the Rallynotes.com Team grabbed more then a ten minute lead over their competition in stock class on Friday and lost it all on Saturday to a tricky corner after a long fast straight. "That's rally," said driver Kristopher Marciniak. "The Taylors got a flat on Friday and we jumped into a ditch on Saturday. I was actually taking it easy -- going fast where I thought we could and going slow through the tricky stuff. Even a slow pace for us is still pretty hairy, and this ditch on the left caught us out and flattened three tires. Were it not for our tough Bilstein shocks we might have had more damage."

To keep the rivalry going, the team worked quickly to repair the damage and was able to restart the rally at the Super Stage on Sunday. With the Rallynotes.com Team paired against the Ford pickup driven by Michael Taylor and co-driver Steven Taylor, they made for the closest battle of the day. "We beat them on Friday and they beat us on Saturday, so I wasn't going to let them beat us in front of a crowd on Sunday," joked Kris. After three runs the Dodge Rally Neon was out on top by only .01 of a minute. "That's as close as it gets, but we beat them on Sunday. They are great competitors and we were razzing each other all weekend. They earned the champagne at the end of the day."

As the International Rally is also run as three regional events, the team scored their highest ever finish in the tough California Rally Series P-Stock Class with a 2nd on Friday. That's 15th overall in a bone stock Dodge Neon. "We pushed hard on Friday and we beat a lot of faster cars and drivers. Sometimes I want more power out of the Neon, but days like that I know I'm driving her as fast as she'll go," remarked Kris. The Rallynotes.com Team are now the 2006 USRC Stock Class National Champions.

Our fantastic volunteer crew once again kept the Dodge Rally Neon in top shape. Kevin Patterson, Harry Bushling, Kaiser Chen, Brian Driggs, Danielle Patterson, Cyndi Stivers, and Vanessa DuLany. Without them the team couldn't have continued on Sunday. "The crew had the car fixed in time for us to drive over the finish ramp on Saturday night. I can't thank them enough for their hard work. Afterwards we celebrated the season with a nice dinner at the Ramada Express," said co-driver Christine Wittish.

Kristopher is a recently engaged computer technician and support analyst. Christine is a recently engaged molecular biology graduate student at the University of California, Irvine in the lab of Dr. Douglas Wallace.

-credit: rallynotes.com