Rally AmericaSubaru Rally Team USA driver Travis Pastrana clawed into the lead in the final stages of the Lake Superior Performance Rally to take the win and his second consecutive Rally America National Championship Series title.

“Winning the Rally America championship last year for the first time was fantastic, but this year it feels much more special because we had to overcome tougher competition as well as battle back from some poor results earlier in the season,” said Pastrana. “To win the championship by winning the final event with such a close and fierce battle is just so gratifying.”

Entering the Michigan season finale, it would be winner take all as Pastrana and his Subaru Rally Team USA teammate Ken Block were tied in the overall championship standings, four points behind RockStar Energy Drink Rally Team driver Andrew Pinker.

When Block and co-driver Alex Gelsomino were forced out of the contest on Day 1 after an off-road incident that damaged the front end of their car, the championship hopes of the Subaru factory team rested with Pastrana and co-driver Christian Edstrom.

Equally determined were the fiercely competitive Pinker and co-driver Robbie Durant, and their RockStar Energy Drink teammates Tanner Foust and co-driver Chrissie Beavis, the X Games gold medalists.

While Pinker – who had never competed on the challenging and changeable roads of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – suffered due to a lack of power on Day 1, Foust set blistering times early on.

Although Pinker rebounded with a stage win on Day 2, the effort wasn’t enough to catch Pastrana, and victory slipped away from Foust in the final stages when he suffered a flat tire. In the end, Foust was second, just 3.5 seconds behind Pastrana. Pinker finished third.

“It was close, but no cigar,” said Pinker, who nonetheless claimed second overall in the driver’s championship in only his first full season of Rally America competition. “We’ll get it next year.”

Despite transmission trouble, Matt Johnson and co-driver Jeremy Wimpey put in a strong performance to win the Production GT class and secure the class championship.

In two-wheel drive competition, Doug Shepherd and co-driver Karen Wagner led the LSPR field to finish first in their Group 5 2003 Dodge SRT 4.

Tom and Don Burress took the Group 2 event win in their Volkswagen Rabbit, while Arkadiusz Gruszka and Grzegorz Dorman finished first in Group N. Production class went to the sibling team of Jan and Jody Zedril in their Mitsubishi Lancer.

The 2008 Rally America National Championship season begins Jan. 25-26 with the Sno*Drift rally in Atlanta, Mich.

About Rally America
Based in Golden Valley, Minn., Rally America sanctions the premier rally racing series in the United States, the Rally America National Championship Series. In 2007, Rally America will conduct nine National Championship events at venues across the country, from Olympia, Wash., to Bethel, Maine. Rally America competitors reach speeds well over 100 mph in modified street cars on natural-terrain courses of gravel, dirt or snow. All Rally America National Championship events are broadcast on ESPN2 from July to November in 2007. Additionally, through a partnership with ESPN, qualifying Rally America drivers are invited to compete in the Summer X Games, the annual leading action-sport event that is broadcast live on ABC and ESPN. For more information, visit www.rally-america.com.

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