2018 in Review: Events of the Year

by Chris Leone // Website // Twitter
Images via Chris Owens/IndyCar (1); Lucas Oil Midwest Short Course League (2); Supercross (3)

Whether you’re into the world’s highest levels of circuit racing, or if off-road competition is more your speed, there’s no shortage of amazing events to take in every single year. But it seemed like even the most iconic and recognizable races in the world were able to kick it up a notch in 2018, with plenty of incredible stories to tell and top talent battling for victory.

But if you had to narrow it down to only 10 races to tell the story of action motorsports as a whole this year, which ones would you pick? Here are our selections—tell us if we missed anybody on Twitter at @JimBeaver15 or @christopherlion:

May 27: Indianapolis 500

This year’s Greatest Spectacle in Racing was chock full of storylines, from championship contender James Hinchcliffe being bumped out of the field to Danica Patrick’s final professional race. But in the end, it was Will Power on top, becoming the first driver to sweep the Indianapolis GP and 500.

June 24: Pikes Peak International Hill Climb

PPIHC had an exceptional amount of depth this year, from the Porsche Cayman class that Travis Pastrana spearheaded to wild entries from names like Rhys Millen and Ray Evernham. But Romain Dumas and Volkswagen beat all, proving electric is the future while rewriting the record books.

July 18: Eldora Dirt Derby

The only dirt race for NASCAR’s top three national touring series sees the Camping World Truck Series conquer Eldora Speedway every summer. It was an all-ThorSport Racing battle to the finish, as one-off driver Chase Briscoe muscled past full-timer Grant Enfinger for the checkered flag.

September 2: Crandon Off-Road World Championship

With the unification of short course off-road racing last winter, we saw most of the biggest names in the sport take on The Big House on Labor Day weekend. Expect a lot more of that in 2019 and beyond, as the first Midwest-West Coast unification event for points will take place at Lucas Oil Speedway next summer.

September 2: Grand Prix of Portland

The penultimate IndyCar round of the season saw Scott Dixon and Alexander Rossi’s championship battle take numerous wild turns, from Dixon’s first-lap near-disaster to Rossi leading 32 laps but still finishing behind his title rival. In the end, it was Takuma Sato who took a popular victory.

September 22-23: Nitro Rallycross

We have to be honest with ourselves on this one: the racing itself at Utah Motorsports Campus wasn’t the most compelling rallycross we’ve ever seen. But Travis Pastrana and company challenged us to reimagine what the sport can be in America, and that alone deserves mention on this list.

October 13: Monster Energy Cup

Was it lame for Joey Savatgy to move over for the benefit of his teammate Eli Tomac in Las Vegas? Maybe. But it meant that, for the first time since the first-ever Monster Energy Cup, we had a $1 million prize winner at Sam Boyd Stadium—and that meant a lot of good for one lucky fan. We’ll allow it.

October 13: Formula Drift Title Fight

Irwindale Speedway came back from the dead for what feels like the thousandth time this year, giving us yet another opportunity to bear witness at the House of Drift. James Deane locked up the title, but in a true throwback to Formula Drift’s roots, it was Vaughn Gittin Jr. who stood atop the podium in the end.

November 11: Auto Club NHRA Finals

How often do we get to see the champions of every class of a racing series all win the finale? That’s exactly what happened in the NHRA closer in Pomona. JR Todd, Matt Smith, Tanner Gray, and Steve Torrence—who completed a perfect six-for-six run in the playoffs—all came out on top.

November 15-18: Kennards Hire Rally Australia

The 2018 World Rally Championship came down to a three-way battle between Sebastien Ogier, Thierry Neuville, and Ott Tanak. DNFs from the latter pair gave the title to Ogier by default, but this season was anything but straightforward, and all three had a reasonable title shot at some point during the year.

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