USRC: Series Rally Tennessee round two preview

THE UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CONTINUES WITH THE SECOND ROUND The excitement is building in anticipation of the next round of the United States Rally Championship (USRC, www.usrallychampionship.com). The second round of the United...

THE UNITED STATES RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP CONTINUES WITH THE SECOND ROUND

The excitement is building in anticipation of the next round of the United States Rally Championship (USRC, www.usrallychampionship.com). The second round of the United States Rally Championship is Rally Tennessee this weekend, May 23 and 24. In spite of the economy, the number of teams entered exceeds the number of entries in the previous running of the event.

Rally Tennessee is a 120-mile all-tarmac event that follows the first round of the Championship -- Rally New York USA -- also an all-tarmac event, which was won by Block / Gelsomino driving Subaru Impreza WRX STi. The United States Rally Championship is unique in the United States in that it encompasses the only two all-tarmac events in the country.

After Rally Tennessee, the Championship will continue with five gravel rounds -- Idaho Rally International, Rally West Virginia, Gorman Ridge Rally (California), Prescott Rally (Arizona) and the final round -- International Rally New York. Most rounds of the Championship allow for reconnaissance of the rally course and pacenoting.

Notable entries are the two-time (2006 and 2007) United States Rally Champion Seamus Burke with Eddie Fries, the 2007 Champion Co-Driver, in Mitsubishi Evo 9, and Thomas Lawless, the 2005 United States Rally Champion, with Irish co-driver Brian Sharkey also in a Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Other notable and fast entries consist of a slew of Irish hot shoe teams of Martin Donnelly and Stephen Duffy, Enda McCormack and Bernard Farrell, Michael O'Leary and John O'Leary and Daniel O'Brien with Brendan McCabe. Also, David and Tammy Allan, Scott Wilburn with Aaron Crescenti and William Petrow, the winner of Production Cup at Rally New York USA, with a new codriver Jeremy Neyhart. The previously announced entry of Ken Block and Alex Gelsomino has not materialized.

In two-wheel-drive, the crews of note are Joshua Wimpey and Jeremy Wimpey, the 2007 United States Rally Championship runner ups, Dan Brosnan with Shane McCann, the winners of two-wheel-drive category at Rally New York USA, Evan Moen and Joshua VanDenHeuvel, Thomas Barton and Brian Barton, and Simon Wright with Kieran Wright.

The United States Rally Championship, now in its fifth season, is taking bold steps to make national competition more affordable and accessible to a larger number of rally teams. This is the third season of the new Championship structure that minimizes or, for many teams, eliminates the need for repeated cross-country travel during the Championship season by providing competition on each side of the country. The final round of the Championship at the end of the yearcounts both in theAtlantic Divisionand the Pacific Division and together with the results from all previous rounds decides the top spotsin the Championship. The highest-scoring six teams from the USRC Pacific Division are eligible for the coveted cash travel subsidies totaling $12,000 to attend the final round in New York.

-credit: usrc

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