VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA — If we expected the Triple Crown to be “just another” NASA RallyCross race, we would be fooling ourselves. Eight cars arrived to the circuit, ready to compete for the final Gen-3 victory.
Joshua Chance Mertz was in a class of his own on Tuesday, fastest in seeding by 3 tenths of a second, and then winning his heat race. He backed this up by leading every lap of every final in the Triple Crown, and finishing off the Gen-3 era in style with his 35th career victory, and third (and final) in Vancouver. Philip Kraus was able to hold onto second, despite the fact that the Canadian was knocked off the podium in the second final due to contact with Victor Vallee. Vallee, who was leading the Privateers’ Cup, exited the joker and landed on Car #2, causing extensive damage to both vehicles. A heated radio exchange ensued, with Vallee being permanently suspended from NASA RallyCross competition. This marks the sixth one-two finish for the Austrian squad, and eight double podiums as well.
Making his return to the NASA RallyCross paddock, Dylan Livengoodenjoyed the event from a bench on the infield on Tuesday night. The four-time champion and thirteen-time race winner was injured in an accident at his job in Colorado, and due to medical orders has been prohibited from racing. Longtime privateer Zack Johnson was deputised to the #51 to make sure the “three musketeers” that started the series six years ago were able to finish out the series strong. We hope that Dylan will be able to join the series in June as we transition to Gen-4 regulations.
Meanwhile, the Drivers’ Championship went to Philip Kraus after winning his heat race. The Canadian finished on the podium every race once again this season, and had an unassailable lead to his teammate once he won his heat race. Kraus thus has finished on the podium the last 29 races in a row. He regains the red plate and Car #1 for the first race of the season in June.
The Constructors’ Championship was essentially settled midway thru the season, but Red Bull Subaru MRT won their eighth championship and fifth in a row Tuesday night in Vancouver. As stated above, six one-two finishes stamped the authority of Kraus and Mertz as the squad to beat in NASA.
Along with the Constructors’, Subaru was able to win their sixth Manufacturers’ Championship. It is widely known that they will not have their car ready for 2018B, so we will have to wait until 2018C to see what Subaru has to offer for a title run once again.
The Privateers’ Cup for Drivers and Teams went down to the wire in the last few races, with Indianapolis natives Noah Carmichael and Victor Vallee going tooth and nail for the championship. They swapped blows in practice and the second final, and with Vallee’s disqualification it handed Carmichael the Cup. Noah was extremely consistent in a tough championship, with nine Privateer podiums, a privateer win, and he joined the MRT squad on the overall podium with a third place in Aspen. East Coast Autosport, Carmichaels’ team, also win their first title.
I thank everyone, past and present, from the bottom of my heart as we seal the six year long chapter of NR2003. It brought a tear to my eye turning off those triples for the last time. I hope to see you all in June as we transition to iRacing for many more years to come.