Despite the fervent wishes of thousands, Rally America won't let Bill Caswell, Jalopnik's $500 Craigslist rally-car driver, compete in July's X Games. These guys used to be part of the counterculture. Have they lost touch? Let's change their minds.
A recap, in case you missed it: Back in March, an unemployed Chicagoan took a $500 Craigslist BMW to a World Rally Championship event in Mexico. He went with no crew, no real tools, a rented cargo van, a co-driver he barely knew, and little more than a dream. After being mobbed by crowds, having his car fall apart, and nearly dying behind the wheel, he finished third in his class, ahead of drivers with six-figure budgets and years of experience. Over 670,000 people read the full story, which you can find here.
Here's the latest: Last Friday, we published a story announcing the winners of the Jalopnik/Live Sockets Caswell T-Shirt Contest, where one lucky person won both a Microsoft XBox 360 and the chance to ride, at speed on a shakedown stage, in Caswell's rally car. In that post, I pointed out that Bill wasn't getting an invite to the rally-car portion of X Games 16, which takes place in July. I suggested that you friend him on Facebook as a show of support; Bill's friend count subsequently went through the roof. I suggested you write on the wall of the X Games Facebook page, and you did. Enough people posted that the moderator started yanking comments.
I also mentioned the existence of a last-minute, grassroots campaign to get him entry into the Games. I suggested that, if you wanted to see Bill and his ancient BMW there — even though the official invites have already been issued — you email J.B. Niday, Rally America's managing director, and tell him what you think.
Wow, did you guys get off your ass.
I'm sorry, the invitations to X Games 16 have all been issued.
Your e-mail campaign is several months too late.
Rally America, Inc.
8014 Olson Memorial Highway #617
Golden Valley, MN 55427
So there's that. And he's right — the invites (you can see the driver list here) went out a while ago (didn't we mention the campaign was last-minute?), as did the last-minute "at large" invites, and Caswell's chances of making it into the event are
pretty slim all but nonexistent. This post is just a reaction to an awful lot of people telling us that they wanted to see him in the Games. And we're all for making a statement.
Let's make a few things clear: Bill is not invited to the Rally America-sanctioned portion of the X Games. We haven't talked to him about it (with the exception of a few text messages regarding his Pikes Peak effort — 13:50 up the hill and still alive! — we haven't talked to him at all), but knowing his personality, he's probably fine with this. We're not. Do you believe this guy did something amazing? Do you want to see a homebuilt, DIY, $500 crapcan run in a stadium, on national television, with some of the most tricked-out rally cars in the country? Of course you do. So do we.
It's all in your hands: If you agree with this petition, please sign it below, in the comments. Pass this article around through Twitter, Facebook wall, your blog, or email. You can also join the Facebook petition group here:
Full Disclosure: Bill Caswell is my friend and has been for years. Neither I nor Jalopnik profit in any way from his exposure or sponsor deals, and he is not a part of our editorial planning or privy to our publishing schedule. The staff of this website thinks he's worth getting behind simply because of what he does and how he does it.