The Prescott Rally 2013 Story

Racing isn’t always cut and dry: This is our 2013 Prescott story.

Two engine short blocks and a new head were rolled into my garage the weekend before Prescott, so those and the stand alone engine management that took too long for me to receive were going to have to wait until after the rally. Mildly disappointed with the situation I looked over the tires we had for the event. Two new Silverstone skins had been freshly mounted and I was picking over what was left of Rally Idaho spares. If I can’t have a hot motor, at least I have new tires.

Since we didn’t qualify for the NNRC in Idaho, our goal for the weekend was the California Rally Series CRS-2 championship. Our competition in class is a Porsche 911 driven by Jason Lightner. We raced together in Idaho, and at Gorman when we helped out with scoring I watched him beat a lot of teams and grab the Power Stage win – so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him at Prescott. We knew if we took first in CRS-2 we’d have the points. We also knew there would be a bunch of new teams in Subarus, and I delight in surprising people with the speed to which I can pedal a Dodge Neon down a stage. You must admit that all drivers have a few pounds of ego in the car. Mine is made up mostly of beating all wheel drive turbo cars. πŸ™‚

We arrive at the rally and our best laid plans turn to shit immediately. Ray Hocker (NASA Rally Sport) hands us a start order list with a bunch of asterisks next to half of the names. “Congratulations! You are qualified for the NASA National Rally Championship.” he says to us. We excitedly thank Ray and this hasn’t even sunk in when a super clean Datsun 240Z driven by the past Prescott winning driver Brian Scott rolls by, and it’s built to the absolute limit of the class. Sure the 2.4L I-6 motor isn’t idling quite right, but I think it’s because it’s not at 6,000 RPM making 200HP. πŸ˜‰ I look at all the clean fittings on the car and I day dream of the ported and polished head that is sitting on the floor next to the laundry and the box labeled “plumbing” in my garage. I look down at my start list and I notice that Brian Scott is NOT qualified for the NNRC. His last minute unlikely co-driver is Michel Hoche-Mong (who happens to be the CRS director) will obviously get CRS points and could jeopardize the CRS-2 co-driver standings. We need max points and I already know what’s about to happen… and dammit I’m going to try and stop it.
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Rally Idaho – Plans and Preparation

Idaho RallyWe’re excited to get back into rally competition and kick off our 2013 season with Rally Idaho. We ran it in 2008, and I helped crew for another team in 2010. It was on the USRC calendar back in the day, and now we’re really excited to see it as part of the NASA National Rally Championship (NNRC). It’s a 2 day event that takes place Northeast of Boise.

Besides this little sidetrack, the 2GN is in great shape, and a lot of my time has been spent prepping and packing the Blazer. Following the mantra: “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” Everything is considered for weight and use. Nested labeled containers inside bins make sure no air space is wasted. I even plastic wrapped spare parts and placed them throughout the truck instead of taking a huge mostly empty container of odd shaped parts. I managed to fit 5 tires into the rally car and I made sure that the gas tank was pretty much empty.

A new set of brake pads and a new air filter was desperately needed on the 15 year old truck. I managed to track down a pesky wiring problem to a fuse I didn’t know existed. For the (possibly hundreds) of people that mentioned it over the years: “Yes! My left trailer light blinker now works!” I just assumed that it would be on the same circuit – who knew Chevy had separate trailer fuses from the factory?! *after 6 years… πŸ˜€

In order to instantly qualify for the NNRC we’re going to need to be on the podium in 2WD. Our competition looks pretty strong right now, and I’m not really sure what will happen. We’ve got a fresh new set of tires, experience on the roads, and a strong desire to contest the championship at Prescott this year.

We’re on our way to Idaho!

We will have pics and updates as we go.
APRS Rally car tracking will be up and running.
@rallynotes will be tweeting to #usrally
Scores will be here on

This is not a Press Release

Preface: I spend a lot of time thinking about marketing and the image of Rally in the US. If this interests you – keep reading!

frank-pressNot too long ago – Everything you read, watched, and listened to was output by a handful of media companies. Your only way to “make the news” was to put out a release that was crafted and polished with your message. You needed to catch the editors attention, draw them in for a short story, sprinkle in sponsors, and tell them where they could get more. Writing press was a good way for a low budget team to be just like a high budget team. On paper they look the same: Cute story, couple of photographs, shout out to a brand, see you next time.

Who reads these anymore? They certainly aren’t actually printed, and my carefully honed list of websites who publish press – publish everything. Once you start publishing everything you get a fire hose of information that no one really wants to read. Plus your message gets diluted down to practically nothing: “Sport you’ve never heard of has guy racing for points by Ovaltine.” How do I craft a message about Rally to everyone? Be boring and as vague as possible. πŸ˜‰

Now what do we do? Well, some of the bigger teams, events, and companies have just moved their prepackaged press message over to Social Media. They post 60 times a day, every post has no real depth, and they are fire-hosing Twitter and Facebook along with every RSS feed tagged #rally #usrally. They ignore the “Social” in social media. Just shouting from mountain tops to no one in particular. After a few rallies they stop paying their PR person, get burned out, and the updates just stop or the fans tune out.

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Finally sporting the silver and red paint scheme. The team unveiled the new livery at the Prescott Rally last weekend. This is the second car that Kristopher Marciniak has built from scratch and it marks a huge milestone in its development. “We tested the car for one day at North Nevada. New suspension, new everything. It was successful and the time was right to finish the car with a great paint job from Danny’s Auto in Long Beach,” said Kris. Vinyl and stripes from Streetwise Motorsports pull it all together and the lightweight hood from Seibon Carbon not only adds to the performance, but completes the “angry rally car” look. Kris adds; “I love it! This is the rally car that I imagined more then a year ago. It took a lot of work, but it came together great!”

On Friday evening; driver Kristopher Marciniak and Co-Driver (navigator) Christine Marciniak had just settled into a rhythm, when the dust settled in on stage 3. Christine recalls: “It’s never been this bad… I was very worried we were going to go off the road in a big way.” Visibility on the first night stage dropped to zero several times and driving lights became useless in the thick dust. Kris describes it: “We were flying along over a cattle guard and I was setting the car up for a left four (a fairly tight turn at speed) and a wall of dust just moved in. I had to come to a stop and find the edge of the road out my side window before continuing.” Dust was an issue for everyone and after the night was over it was a bit of a surprise to see the team in 1st CRS-2 and 1st in Open 2WD. “It felt like scoring spun a big wheel on Friday stage 3 and handed out random times. We got lucky and I think the fast section of Witty Tom was clear for us, but not for others,” adds Kris. See the video highlights at

When they returned to the hotel on Friday night a tire change was performed and the service crew of Brian Driggs and Dan Green discovered a leaking strut. Doug Nagy of Streetwise Motorsports was consulted and late night strut repairs began. A call to Odi from FEAL Suspension gave the team clear repair directions. The leaking O-Ring was replaced and fluid was injected back into the assembly with some makeshift tools including a baby ear and nose cleaner. There is no more resourceful group of people then at a stage rally service park on a Friday night in Prescott.

Saturday morning sitting in 1st with a somewhat repaired rear strut, driver Kristopher Marciniak made the decision to go for it. The team of Eddie Fiorelli and Tom Smith (in 2nd) had been faster on every stage but special stage three. Michel Hoche-Mong trying to avoid a huge rock had crashed on SS2 Friday night. Michel, the clear favorite, was now unable to start day two and the podium was up for grabs. Fiorelli turned up the pace at the same time and beat the Marciniaks on SS5 & 6 in the morning. Now the lead was down to a handful of seconds and rallynotes pushed and won Stages 7, 8, and 9. Going into the final stage 10 with only a 5 second lead, both teams charged down the 20.1 mile Firstville stage. Kris describes: “A lot can happen on a 20 mile stage. We were going 90MPH in places I’ve never gone over 70. We got loose in the middle of the stage and clipped a rock, and I though – that’s it… but it was okay and we pushed all the way to the end.” The final time for Marciniak was 20:35, and Fiorelli had set an amazing 20:20 in his 2.0L VW Golf. Thus taking the lead and winning by a scant 10 seconds. “The competition of the California Rally Series is like no other series. We had a fantastic time pushing the new car hard, and doing great at our first big rally since 2008!” said Kris. The rallynotes team captured 2nd in 2WD at the 2012 Prescott Rally!

What’s next for the team? Engine upgrades and a full 2013 season! The Marciniaks will be taking the next few months to continue the Dodge Rally Neon 2GN SRT-4 development. Be sure to watch the progress and updates on and more frequent updates at . We’d like to send thanks out to,, and for their support!
See you on the stages!


Since shaking down the car at North Nevada, the graphics package and body work have been applied. The cute Dodge Neon is transforming into an SRT-4 beast! Driver Kristopher Marciniak talks about the new livery: “One thing that’s always exciting is when the rally car finally matches the logo design at the top of our website. That rally car logo is a sort of talisman for me in that I envision what the rally car will one day become and then work towards it.” The cars silver and red paint scheme was done by Danny’s Auto Body in Long Beach; Seibon Carbon hood; Vinyl by Streetwise Motorsports.

Set in one of the most iconic landscapes in the Southwest, The 25th annual Prescott Rally travels through red rock canyons for miles on winding dirt roads. These roads are considered to be some of the best rally stages in the country. The team fell in love with the area in 2005 and have been back every year to race or volunteer. This weekend (September 28-29) will mark their 5th year of competition at this event. The team is really looking forward to it!

The competition in the USRC Open 2WD class has 10 entries vying for the win for the final round of the championship. In the regional CRS class, a win at Prescott could mean a podium finish in the California Rally Series CRS-2 class championship. After setting 3rd fastest stage times at North Nevada, the goal is to place well with the new car. “I’d like to do exactly what we did at NNR without getting stuck on a berm for 20 minutes. We love Prescott and we’re going to have fun!” said co-driver Christine Marciniak.

Live updates from this weekend will be on the tumblelog and APRS rally car tracking will be active starting Thursday! The Prescott Rally website is


Rallynotes selected to run Saturday for the North Nevada Rally on July 7th, 2012, on roads they last raced in 2008 located near Gerlach, NV. This was the first competitive stages that the Marciniaks have run since winning the USRC in 2008. This was also the first competitive stage miles the new 2GN (Soon to be SRT-4) Dodge Neon would tackle. Kris tells us more: “New car, new suspension, new everything! We wanted to shake out the bugs and test the handling before adding 150+ HP. We also wanted to shake out 4 years of not competing by not jumping into a really powerful car!” The team by no means has been absent from rally; They volunteer for the California Rally Series and organize their own event – The High Desert Trails Rally.

There were 8 cars in the CRS-2 (Group 2) 2WD class at this event, which meant there was ample competition to judge stage times. Right off the bat the team set 3rd fastest overall on SS9 (the first stage on Saturday). On their second stage, SS10 “Purgatory Pass,” a small mistake over a sharp left hand turn pulled the car into a soft berm. Kris struggled to keep the car’s momentum, but they got stuck in what would become their own personal “Rally Purgatory.” Kristopher describes the scene: “Going over the berm de-beaded the front right tire. We went into the scenery a little bit and almost made it back onto the road, but got stuck on the berm coming out of the corner. It then took us 30 minutes to dig out the front right and get a spare on there, while car after car continued by us. It sucked, but the car was fine, the team was fine, and the competitive pressure was off. Now we just had to have fun and finish.” Pressure or no pressure, the team proceeded to set the 3rd fastest time on the last 3 stages of the day! “The last stage we made a personal charge to be fast. The car was running great, Christine was once again used to the pace that we set in the notes, and we set a fantastic 10:03 time for SS14. We missed 2nd by only 1 second, and were 32 seconds off the rally leader Andrew Lockhart, who won the event overall.” said driver Kristopher Marciniak.

The team would like to thank Kevin Patterson for his tremendous efforts in helping to service 3 teams at North Nevada!
Our next event: The Prescott Rally in Prescott, AZ. Join us!

Husband and wife team, Kristopher and Christine Marciniak, have been rallying together since 2005. They are three time USRC Production 2WD champions. Kristopher handles technology and operations at Warm Your Floor in Laguna Hills, CA. Christine has a PhD in molecular biology and is working in the field.


Victory for the Marciniaks at International Rally New YorkThe battle that went all the way across the United States to the 2008 International Rally New York is over. Tied for USRC points with Hampton Bridwell and Josh Katinger going into the rally, the Rallynotes Team completed a mission that started over two thousand miles away in Southern California. To keep pace with their rivals in a more powerful SVT Ford Focus, the team in the Dodge Rally Neon would have to be at their best.

After four very fast stages on Friday morning, just two seconds separated the top two Production 2WD teams. This meant the pace would continue on to the rougher and muddier stages of the day. A mistake on stage five by the Ford Focus team caused them to slide sideways off the road, getting stuck and losing over two minutes. The Rallynotes Team would capitalize on this error and continue to run fast and clean stages. On stage seven the team had their only mistake of the weekend, overshooting a left turn causing them to lose roughly ten seconds of the gap.

On Saturday morning the Rallynotes Team lead was down to just over one minute. The strategy for the day was to keep the pressure on and attack at 100%. The road for the stages was a long uphill section followed by a short downhill run in one direction and a short uphill section followed by a long downhill the other way. “I was surprised we were just as fast on the downhill. The Focus could only make up time on the uphill stages and we were both driving at an incredible pace.” explains Driver Kristopher Marciniak. “I watched the gap become 1:14 and then 58 seconds. The SVT Focus really pulls going uphill, it was going to be close. Fast and perfect are not two things that come easy at a rally.”

With two stages and the super special left to go. Hampton and Josh slid off a right hand turn and rolled the Focus with no harm to themselves. The USRC Production 2WD champions would be Kristopher and Christine Marciniak in their Dodge Neon for the third year in a row. Because of the ridiculous pace set by both teams, the Rallynotes Team won 2WD overall in the rally and 7th overall for the event – by far their best showing.

“We want to wish the best of luck to Hampton and Josh, without their competition we wouldn’t have won in 2WD overall.” said Kris. Congratulations go out to 2nd place Dan Brosnan & Shane McCann (Nissan Sentra) and 3rd place, father-son team of Simon and Kieran Wright (Ford Focus) who celebrated along with Kris and Christine Marciniak at the two wheel drive champagne ceremony at the conclusion of the rally. As Co-Driver Christine Marciniak mentioned at the awards ceremony – “We want to thank all the East Coast teams for embracing us – even though this is no longer our home area, it is where we grew up, so that was just awesome. We also want to thank all our friends and family who came out just to cheer us on!”

Congratulations to the overall winner of International Rally New York 2008 Seamus and Joseph Burke. Congratulations to USRC winners Brian Scott and John Dillon (Open 4WD), Jimmy & Melissa Keeney (Production 4WD), and Bruce Davis & Jimmy Brandt (Open 2WD). The USRC is a great national championship that gave us the ability to come across the country and defend our title. Truly supporting EVERY class, the United States Rally Championship is really an affordable and realistic championship series for rally in North America!

The team would like to thank the following people for without whom this win would not have been possible: Nathan Snitko, Matt Malloy, Craig Symonds, and Tyson Derby – for coming out as volunteer crew members; Joyce and Don Wittish – for their financial support and enthusiasm; and also Korey Marciniak, Ian Bowers, Andrew Hobgood, Sabrina Vollers, and Bill and Valerie Foskey – for coming out to cheer us on in our debut East Coast event. “We would like to thank all the organizers, volunteers, and workers for all the rallies this year. Without dedicated people, we could not go out there and have this much fun. See you next year!” – Kris & Christine


Dodge Rally Neon winning Production 2WD at the 2008 Prescott Rally in Arizona.On October 3rd and 4th, the team pushed the envelope of speed in their stock powered Production 2WD Dodge Neon at the 2008 Prescott Rally. Keeping up with faster Group 2 class cars, they were able to slide into tenth overall and third in 2WD for the event! Adding to their USRC points with a 1st in Production 2WD, and winning the California Rally Series ‘Performance Stock’ Championship in the process!

The car and crew were in top form all weekend. Finding the speed early on Friday night, the team set 10th fastest times on the first two stages. Service only required a small lighting adjustment for the encountered dust. This helped keep the car fast for SS3 and SS4. An overnight tire change was all that was needed to ready the Dodge Rally Neon for the next day, and Saturday only saw some minor rim damage after hitting a large rock.

The weather played a factor as it started to rain on Saturday afternoon. This kept the dust away, soaked the crews waiting in the service area, and made the last 3 miles of ‘First View’ treacherous. Driver Kristopher Marciniak explains: “We were flat out for the first five miles. It’s uphill, so we can’t afford to slow down and lose momentum. A few miles from the end, we chose to take it easy after a hard left put us sliding sideways towards the mountain. It got real slippery up there.” We would like to congratulate Brian Scott and John Dillon for their Open AWD win, Jimmy and Melissa Keeney for their Production AWD win, and George Doganis and Tom Smith for their fast Open 2WD win. The team celebrated their Production 2WD win with these teams during the champagne ceremony immediately following the rally.

At the award ceremony later that night the team was honored with the Carl Merrill Award. Organizer Michael Taylor explained why Kristopher and Christine were the recipients this year. “These two exemplify Carl’s spirit and commitment to rally and sportsmanship.” The team would like to once again thank Michael Taylor for the recognition and thank all of the organizers, workers, volunteers and competitors of the 2008 Prescott Rally. Special thanks to our volunteer crew of Vanessa & Brian Driggs, Dan Green, Jake Caler, Jared Sivinski, and Kyle Johnson. Not only helping the Rallynotes team, they offered assistance to three other teams, and the rally itself by driving the CRS scoring trailer back to the hotel while the final scores were computed.

With help from Brian Scott’s crew, the team’s tools, tires, and spares will be in New York for the final round of the United States Rally Championship. The Dodge Rally Neon is being privately shipped and the team will be flying in shortly before the event. Will the team have the speed and stamina necessary to beat the leading Eastern Production 2WD team of Hampton Bridwell and Josh Katinger in their SVT Focus? Who will be the 2008 USRC Production Class Champions? All will be decided in the final round at the 2008 International Rally New York. See you there!


Dodge Rally Neon at Gorman RidgeNext weekend, the 21st Annual Prescott Rally, held in beautiful Arizona will be the location for some great NASA Rallying. With an impressive 35 teams on the entry list, six USRC Production 2WD entries, and seven total teams battling for top California Rally Series P-Stock honors, this will be an exciting final event for the USRC Pacific and CRS regional championships. The team will be pushing hard for USRC points and a top spot in order to win the CRS P-Stock class championship for 2008.

The Dodge Rally Neon is in great shape after the grueling Gorman Ridge Rally. No major damage was incurred and the car has been thoroughly looked over. Updated Bilstein rear struts will keep the team in control for the speed and jumps seen on these long stages. The new Tuff Rims continue to impress and will be tested on the large imbedded rocks known to dot the course.

The team is excited about the competition and the course this year. The rally will be running two 22 mile stages which will test the entire field. “Our Gorman strategy was to go slow and save the car. At Prescott – I want to be setting the pace for the Production cars all weekend. The last time the 22 mile stage was run we set 7th fastest overall. I would like to do better then that this year.” exclaimed driver Kristopher Marciniak.

The team is charged up for the penultimate round of the United States Rally Championship. They are ready to tackle the roads and competition at the Prescott Rally!


Gorman Ridge RallyAbout an hour north of Los Angeles, Hungry Valley is home to a very special rally called Gorman Ridge. It’s a rougher event that makes for a well rounded championship. Just to finish this rally takes planning, effort, struggle, and patience. If you cross the finish line here you are ready for anything that a southwest rally will throw at you – exposures, boulders, rough washes, embedded rocks, water bars, etc. Unusual that it’s often the beginner rally of choice for those starting out in the California Rally Series. Last weekend saw a number of retirements as the crews raced through the rocky terrain.

The team planned some careful strategy for this event. A loss here would force them to be perfect at Prescott against teams that may not have entered Gorman. Finishing would guarantee a prize tow fund to the USRC final – International Rally New York. With that on the line, the team took it easy on the rough stuff and brought it in to a champagne finish. Driver Kristopher Marciniak talks about the strategy, “As a rally driver you need to know when to go slow and when to go fast based on conditions. If you destroy the car, it’s over. At Gorman you can destroy a car in seconds. It was tough for me to sit back and have teams catch us, but I settled into a good pace, and stayed there for a consistent drive to the finish.” When asked about the pace, Co-Driver Christine Marciniak said, “I wanted to go faster! But locking in the USRC tow fund was more important. I’m really excited for Rally New York!”

This is the 15th rally the team has entered with the Dodge Rally Neon. The new Tuff Rims have now passed the endurance test with flying colors. The volunteer crew stayed sharp throughout the entire event, checking and double checking tires, skidplates, suspension, and fluids on the rally car. We would like to thank: Harry Bushling, Dan Green, Judd Barber, Darrin Simmons, and Dave Clark for their efforts at the event.

The team is set for the penultimate round of the United States Rally Championship, the Prescott Rally in beautiful Arizona. Fast and fun, Kristopher and Christine Marciniak will be pushing for top times at their favorite event of the season!