After the Global Rallycross Championship series folded earlier in the year, U.S. fans were uncertain on how they were going to get their rallycross fix. Luckily, the Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship was formed to fill that void with many former GRC crews like Subaru Rally Team USA and Andretti Volkswagen Rallycross Team bolstering the field.
This weekend was the first event of the series actually held on American soil, the season-opener being hosted in Britain—more specifically, the historic Silverstone Circuit. Andretti Volkswagen driver Tanner Foust took the first round in his Volkswagen Beetle rally car, followed by his teammate Scott Speed, and Liam Doran took the last spot on the podium in his Citroen DS3 machine.
This time, it was Speed who took the top spot at Circuit of the Americas. His back-and-forth battle with Ken Block provided the entertainment and proved to be the closest fight of the night as he was nearly unbeatable around the recently-built infield track. The drama continued into the final where Block was ultimately defeated, having the door shut on him by Speed, himself a three-time GRC champion.
When being interviewed during one of the semi-final heats, Speed mentioned Block by saying, "that guy is always running into someone." In the post-race interview, a reporter referred to the final round as easy for Speed to which he responded: "That was not easy, I had to brake 50 meters before the first two corners because I was getting plowed in the back by the 43." He was, of course, referring to Block's No. 43 Hoonigan Ford.
Former Subaru rallycross driver and skateboard legend Bucky Lasek, who was commentating, responded with "Scott, tell us how you really feel."
Block got his word in, though. Being arguably the king of burnouts and donuts, during his post-race interview, Block responded to the applause for his celebratory spins in the infield by saying, "Scott was doing some pathetic donuts, so I had to show the fans what it is really all about." A hysterically laughing Lasek then commented "Hey, Ken! you should tell us how you really feel," after saying the same thing about Speed.
Speed's Andretti Autosport teammate Tanner Foust grabbed the third and final spot on the podium at day's end.
Now that the drama has settled, there is a new leader in the Americas Rallycross Championship standings. Speed leads Foust by 1 point, 56 to 55 respectively. Subaru driver Patrik Sandell is in third place, but 16 points behind Foust. He is followed by fellow Subaru driver Chris Atkinson with 29 points and COTA second-place finisher Block who now has 24 points after not participating in the first round at Silverstone.
The next event on the Americas Rallycross Championship calendar brings the drivers to Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada on August 4-5.