Monday, August 23, 2010

Breaking: Ken Block Not to Contest RallyCar in '11!!

Well, I haven't seen it posted anywhere yet, though certainly I don't read EVERYTHING on the Internet.

Nothing that I know of has been posted "officially" but according to what I know, Mr. Block will not be participating in Rally America (now changing its name to a more amorphous "RallyCar") in 2011. His absence will be due to the fact that Mr. Block intends to run a FULL WRC schedule with Ford and concentrate his efforts there.

With various contacts of mine calling Block's current RallyCar Ford a number of nasty names (garbage, poorly done, awful, etc.) it is not surprising he would turn to what is truly a world class vehicle in the WRC.

What is surprising is that he would do this after having DNF'd out of EVERY WRC event he entered this year including this past weekends WRC Germany
(Mr. Block DNFs...again...) If I was Ford, I'd think twice about throwing my money behind any effort in which the driver has DNF'd in all but one of his competitive events in a given year (though he did managed to win the 100 Acre Wood Rally America event earlier this year).

All this leaves Rally America...excuse me...RallyCar in a precarious position. With Travis Pastrana apparently losing interest (unless being dethroned makes him hungry for a RallyCar championship again) and Block leaving, it is left without its two biggest names. Up and comers Dave Mirra has yet to show the skill behind the wheel or flair for marketing that both Block and Pastrana have and the top two finishers this year (L'Estage and Bacon) are both behind the wheel of Mitsubishis and thus without factory backing.

RallyCar has seen the writing on the wall I believe and will focus an every greater percentage of its efforts on its new "RallyCross" series in New Jersey. With guaranteed major cable TV on board in the form of ESPN and Pastrana, Mirra and Foust on board, it stands a solid chance at succeeding...but...with only 20 entries, 8 of which are older, privateer driven 2WD vehicles, and the majority of AWD vehicles having no shot at competing with big budget efforts of the aforementioned names I could easily see the series ending up with very few drivers come that third event come November.

This isn't NAPCAR...the teams, outside of the top three perhaps, do not have multi-million dollar budgets (and are likely run off credit cards and heart some of the time) and RallyCar or Rally America would do well to remember that, though I think we are beyond the event horizon already...


Brian Driggs said...

Here's something even sadder to think about. Ken Block got trounced WRC-style this year. (I bet Loeb and the gang made fun of his funny hat, too.) Yet, he shows up to a US rally event and schools everyone - every time.

What does that suggest about American rallyistas?


spalind (Dan Spalinger) said...

Well, he only finished one US rally event this year...he did win it, but the rest of his US rally season was just as big a joke as his WRC season was...I think Pastrana's brief WRC attempt went better than Block's if I remember correctly...