by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Jason Swoboda

The 2018 Rally America National Championship rolls on with one of the shortest turnarounds on this year’s calendar. After Rally Colorado rolled into Rangely two weekends ago, the series returns to Michigan for the second time this season with Sno*Drift Summer Rally, a one-day, eight-stage event that serves as one of three events of its type on this year’s calendar.

With just over a month between SDSR and the next event, drivers will have plenty of time to reflect on their results from this event before the action picks up again in the fall with Rally Wyoming. Here are five crews that we expect to make the most of this weekend’s action:

#3 Nathan Usher/Marianna Langosch :: Open Light :: 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon

The defending winners of this event, Usher and Langosch have been remarkably consistent here over the past few years, going from third in 2015 to second in 2016 before winning last year. They’ve already earned their first victory of the 2018 season, as last December’s Nemadji Winter Trail Rally applies to the 2018 championship, and have earned multiple class podiums since then. Despite skipping Rally Colorado, they remain third in the overall standings, and will be third on the road.

#94 Piotr Fetela/Dominik Jozwiak :: Open :: 2017 Ford Fiesta FRT Proto

What would have been a prime opportunity to make a move in the Rally America National Championship standings fell by the wayside in Colorado, as gearbox issues knocked Fetela and Jozwiak out of contention after the first service of the weekend. Rather than attempt to fix the car to try and claim a single finishing point, the team withdrew to refocus its preparation on SDSR. They’ll be first on the road this weekend in hopes of closing the gap to first.

#194 Dave Brown/Mike Brown :: Open Light :: 2000 Subaru Impreza RS 2.5

Still the overall points leaders despite struggling with multiple car issues in Colorado, Brown and Brown actually managed to extend their lead just by finishing the event. The eight finishing points they earned for completing every stage, plus a single point for finishing outside of the top 10, enabled them to grow a two-point lead over Fetela/Jozwiak into an 11-point one coming into SDSR. With a maximum of 12 points on offer at this event, they’re guaranteed to hold onto at least a share of the points lead.

#82 Mike Hurst/Katherine Hurst :: Group 2 :: 1974 Ford Capri

Winner of last year’s Stewards Challenge against Steve Gingras, Hurst will return to action at SDSR as one of five competitors in this year’s Daddy-Daughter Challenge alongside daughter Katherine. Hurst was fourth overall and best of all of the 2WD competitors at this event last year, within 40 seconds of placing on the overall podium. In the race-within-a-race, he’ll face off with Gingras and daughter Katie, Eric and Julie Anderson, Eric and Camille Carlson, and Michael and Lauren Engle.

#141 Chris Sladek/John Sharps :: B-spec :: 2015 Honda Fit

The B-spec championship battle took another turn at Rally Colorado when Sladek earned the points lead with another class victory. His closest competitor, Doug Gekiere, returns to action at SDSR to renew pleasantries, and these two will face off for the class victory. The biggest difference between the two: Gekiere’s normal co-driver, Matthew Hoffman, will be in the second seat, while Sladek will pair with John Sharps after winning with Zach Pfeil in Colorado.