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X Games Preview: Rhys Millen Racing

Image via Rhys Millen Racing

Rhys Millen Racing took the Hyundai Veloster into Global Rallycross competition last year, running two cars at X Games for Millen himself and motocross star Robbie Maddison. This year, armed with a new engine and a new teammate in former privateer Stephan Verdier, Millen will give the event another shot. Both drivers have made it to the main event of the first two races of the season, and Verdier scored the lone podium finish this season for a non-Ford driver by running a smart race at Charlotte, but it’ll take more than that to give the Veloster an X Games medal.

Here’s what to expect from the California-based Hyundai outfit on Sunday:

#12 Stephan Verdier (3rd in points, 26; best finish 3rd): Verdier cautioned at the beginning of the season that he wouldn’t have a new model Hyundai engine until X Games – a prospect which has been delayed – but in the meantime he’s been an expert at sticking to his strategy of taking care of the car. A podium at Charlotte marked his fourth since last season, but he had to rely on a stroke of luck to take the field’s slowest car into the Texas final, winning his last chance qualifier by default when everybody else pulled off course. If he continues to race to his own strategy, as he did in Charlotte and Texas, Verdier’s chances at X Games could be very strong.

Image via Rhys Millen Racing

#67 Rhys Millen (4th in points, 24; best finish 4th): Millen is one of the most versatile professional drivers in the world, but he seems unable to break onto the podium in the GRC. Last year, he couldn’t muster a better finish than fourth place, which is where he finished at Texas and currently ranks in points. A new engine package simply hasn’t led to anything but lateral movement for Millen, whose team simply appears to be good but not good enough.

– Chris Leone

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