Meet the Drivers: Micah Nickelson
The 2WD entries that contest the Rally America National Championship are always among the most beloved by competitors and fans alike. Micah Nickelson is usually among the top 2WD racers in his Volkswagen Golf every time he takes to the stages, with numerous regional class victories to his name and even an overall win at Show-Me Rally two years ago. Today, we get to know Micah a little better—stay tuned tomorrow to meet his co-driver, Tyler Ptacek:
What made you want to start rallying?
I’ve always been interested in motorsports and have wanted to go racing since I was kid. Though I think the exact moment that made me want to start rallying was when I was spectating at 100 Acre Wood Rally in 2011; the first rally I had ever gone to. I watched a couple cars launch off the start line then slide into the first corner and that was all it took. I had to get into this awesome motorsport.
When was your first event and how did you do?
My first rally was at 100 Acre Wood Rally in 2012, one year after I was just a spectator. The car I drove had its flaws but it drove well enough for me to learn a lot of big lessons early. The car didn’t finish day one because the fuel tank was too small and on day two the engine failed but it was still a great event filled with lots of first’s that I’ll always remember.
When was your first really memorable result—win or podium—and how did you get there?
The first really memorable result would probably be when we placed first in 2WD at STPR while finishing the last super special stage in front of grand stands of people driving as fast as I could on three wheels. The whole rally was almost perfect. We were setting great times and stayed consistent. We would go to service, wash the windshield, fill up with fuel and go out for more stages. It was great to finish so high in the standings but the icing on the cake was being able to put on a three wheeled show at the last super special. I’ll never forget it.
Who is your usual co-driver, and when did you two start rallying together?
My co-driver from day one has been Tyler Ptacek. We’ve known each other since high school and we were going to the same university when I caught rally fever and asked him to co-drive with me.
What’s your favorite event on the Rally America schedule?
My favorite rally would have to be a tossup between Sno*Drift and 100 Acre Wood. Sno*Drift is great because the slick conditions equalize the competition and also makes for some great sideways driving. 100 Acre Wood on the other hand has miles of the fastest and widest stages I’ve been on and who doesn’t like to go fast?
Do you have any pre-event routines?
Before an event I’m usually checking and trying not to stress out over any last minute details that need to be addressed on the car. Other than that, I sleep, I wake up, and I go rallying.
Which other drivers in your class do you respect the most?
Two names I often see at the top of the 2WD times are Seamus Burke and Michael Hooper and it’s hard not to respect the driving talent of those two. Really though, anyone who pushes themselves and their equipment to the limit, pressing on regardless, has my respect no matter what they drive or what their stage times are.