Subaru Motorsport USA’s Scott Speed stormed to victory in the first round of the 2019 Americas Rallycross (ARX) Championship at the Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio to grab an early points advantage in what is shaping up to be an enthralling season of ARX action.
Speed took the pole with a victory in the second semi-final, before leading all six laps in the final to continue his title-winning form from 2018. In turn, Speed also secured the first ARX win for Subaru Motorsports USA at the brand-new Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course’s rallycross facility.
Things got wild in the first corner of the final when Subaru’s Chris Atkinson got forced wide by teammate and polesitter Speed, before he was spun around by Andretti Rallycross’ Tanner Foust, as Loenbro Motorsports’ Steve Arpin cut the course and climbed to second. Arpin’s rookie teammate Travis PeCoy climbed to third on Lap 1 after an entertaining battle with Foust in the first semi-final and hustled his team boss for the first two laps before Arpin took his joker. PeCoy took his joker on Lap 4 and held onto third, but behind him, Subaru’s Patrik Sandell came out of the joker and made contact with teammate Atkinson, damaging Atkinson’s left rear wheel and sending Sandell spinning into the infield.
Out in front and on his own, Speed took his joker on the second lap and held the lead to take Subaru’s first win in the category, as well as his first win in the classic Subaru colors, in his first attempt. Arpin was given a five-second penalty for cutting the course at Turn 2 on the opening lap, therefore promoting teammate PeCoy into second with Arpin rounding out the top three to secure a double podium for Loenbro Motorsports.
Foust recovered to finish fourth in front of Sandell and Atkinson, and as a result, sits second in the standings. Andretti’s Cabot Bigham ended a solid first weekend with the No. 02 Oink Clothing Volkswagen Beetle with a fourth-place finish in semi-final one, but came up just short from progressing to the final.
Jamaican Fraser McConnell stood on the top step of the podium for the first time in ARX’s official single specification support category, ARX2. DirtFish Motorsports’ McConnell started from pole position for the final and took control immediately from the start to lead all six laps and claim his first rallycross win. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Cole Keatts started on the first row and recovered from a slow start to run second, but a clash with Buhl Sport Detroit’s Alex Keyes ended his race early. DRR’s Sage Karam dropped to fifth on the first lap but battled back to pass teammate Gray Leadbetter and Keyes, before pressuring McConnell throughout the final lap to secure another second-place finish to cap off a sensational rallycross debut weekend.
Keyes rounded out the podium in third to wrap up an excellent opening weekend for his 2019 championship aspirations, after winning Round 1 of the 2019 ARX2 Championship on Saturday in dominating fashion. JR Hildebrand came home fourth, ahead of Leadbetter who was forced to retire from the Final due to damage.
In the first ever weekend for the new Sierra ARX3 series, John McInnes took two wins in the SIERRA RX3 buggies thanks to some very assured performances all weekend. Jim Jonsin secured a pair of podium finishes with a second and a third, with James Kirkham and Dave Wallingford rounding out the podium places for the opening weekend.
ARX continues its 2019 campaign with a marquee event at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, just outside St. Louis, Missouri. The ARX of Gateway, July 13-14, features the first-ever duel double-header weekend for ARX Supercar and ARX2. Tickets are available online at ARXRallycross.com and on WWTRaceway.com.
Event highlights from the Cooper Tires ARX of Mid-Ohio will air on CBS Sports Network on Wednesday, June 12 at 9:00 p.m. ET.