2017 Race of Champions

2017 Race of Champions

The Drivers are Introduced Prior to the Race

There’s a problem with that assumption, though: There were drivers from drag racing, off-road racing, rally cars, IMSA, and open wheel racing, as well as stock car drivers. However, all the cars were prepared as stock cars and the courses/tracks were basically stock car tracks. So the stock car drivers had an undue advantage. Enter the Race of Champions, and all that has changed.

This Year’s Race of Champions Took Place Over the Weekend of Jan 20-22

The Race of Champions event was held in Marlins Stadium in Miami. Every part of the track was visible to every spectator.

Here’s how it works: Two or three top drivers from several driving disciplines - on two and four wheels - are put into cars which are identical except for colors and numbers and told to go at it. Unlike any other kind of racing, all the action takes place in front of the fans - every curve, every flag and every crash. There are 18 different types of cars used over the three day event, from the VUHL 05 ROC Edition, to the KTM X-BOW Comp R, a Polaris Slingshot SLR, Ariel Atom Cup, Super Stadium trucks, Mercedes AMG GT S, Whelen NASCAR Stock Cars, Audi R8 LMS, and the Gallardo Super Trofeo. Instead of only having to prove that they can handle a stock car on a stock car track, ROC competitors have to prove that they are, indeed, the Fastest Driver on the Planet.

This Year’s Competitors

As always, Race of Champions drivers came from a wide variety of motorsports disciplines. Kyle and Kurt Busch come from NASCAR. Sebastian Vettel, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Coulthard, Pascal Wehrlein, Jensen Button and Felipe Massa represent Formula 1. Helio Castraneves, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, James Hinchcliffe, Tony Kanaan and Gabby Chavez are from IndyCar. Travis Pastrana represents Moto Cross,Super Cross and Rally America. Scott Speed and Petter Solberg are RallyCross drivers. Tom Kristensen represents the FIA World Endurance Championships. Stefan Rzadzinski has competed in NASCAR, IndyLights and touring cars. Finally, Gabriel Glusman won the South and Central America ROC Factor vote to be an unknown driver representing his region in the ROC.

Competition Over the Weekend Was Close

Juan Pablo and Felipe Massa driving the Ariel Atom Cup. Juan Pablo came away the victor.

The best one could say about his stint as a NASCAR Cup driver is that Juan Pablo Montoya was slightly better than mediocre. However, he was and is a very good open wheel driver and a good driver overall. He just didn’t adapt well to the type of driving required at NASCAR’s Cup level. This, the 28th running of the Race of Champions, showed that he is definitely one of the best drivers in the world.

Kyle Busch in the ROC Car

Montoya squared off against Tom Kristensen in a best-out-of-three, head-to-head series of races on Sunday. He beat Kristensen in the Rallycross car and then repeated the feat in the X-Bow car to become the 28th Champion of the Race of Champions, the Champion of Champions.

Juan Pablo in the Polaris Slingshot SLR

The 16 competitors were broken up into four groups of four drivers each. Montoya was in Group B with Petter Solberg, Felipe Massa, and Pascal Wehrlein. Montoya beat Travis Pastrana in the quarters and then defeated Massa, who also advanced from Group B, in the semis. Although Massa crossed the finish line first in their head to head, he had a five second penalty added to his time for hitting the wall.

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About Mike Aguilar 202 Articles
Mike's love of cars began in the early 1970's when his father started taking him to his Chevron service station. He's done pretty much everything in the automotive aftermarket from gas station island attendant, parts counter, mechanic, and new and used sales. Mike also has experience in the amateur ranks of many of racing's sanctioning bodies.
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