The first full season of Nitro Rallycross ended in Florida on December 5 with Travis Pastrana winning the championship against teammate Scott Speed. The offseason has just started, but Pastrana has already started planning for the 2022 season and how they can improve while potentially adding even more drivers from other series.
Fresh out of his championship season, Pastrana spoke to Heavy about Nitro Rallycross’ first full program, what he learned working with a top team to design the tracks, the exclusive partnership with Peacock and the future of the series. He also explained the impact of the addition of Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott on the show’s public exposure.
“It exceeded all of our expectations,” Pastrana told Heavy. “Definitely, we have learned a lot. There are a lot of things we can do better. It was great that we had the number of cars. It was amazing to only have the teams and all the drivers who came. I mean, two former NASCAR Cup champions with Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott at the wheel.
“I think it’s definitely exceeded my wildest dreams about how many people want to do this kind of a race, how many people are excited about it. I think the audience was amazing for where it was on Peacock. They have this live stream. It was awesome. “
Busch & Elliott showed other pilots can compete in NRX
Nitro Rallycross’ inaugural season featured many experienced Rallycross drivers, but Busch and Elliott both had some success. They each made positive progress throughout their respective weekends and reached the final event. Busch finished his weekend in Arizona with a fourth place finish while Elliott finished eighth at FIRM in Florida.
Now that both drivers have shown they can do it, Pastrana expects to see a lot more interest in Nitro Rallycross as the 2022 season approaches. He has even received calls from Clint Bowyer and others. pilots who have retired from full-time competition.
“Considering when Kyle made it to the final and didn’t die, wasn’t hurt, didn’t crash the car, I think it opened a lot of people’s eyes to say ‘Wow I can do it. do, ”Pastrana said. “Or ‘Maybe I can try this and maybe my IndyCar deal or my NASCAR deal will allow it.’ So I think that’s what’s really cool, and I was super grateful to Kyle – and actually Scott Speed for that kind of setup – for stepping in just to show everyone that this is. was something that was doable.
Whether or not more riders participate in the Nitro Rallycross, Pastrana achieved a different goal with Busch and Elliott joining the roster. They have proven that champions can “still have fun” in a variety of vehicles.
“I think it’s something that racing hasn’t been for a lot of the best drivers and pilots and all around the world. It just stopped being fun,” Pastrana said. “What if racing ends to be fun and the riders stop having fun and the level of excitement goes down, then the fans stop being excited. That just doesn’t mean that much. So I think, hopefully, that it will be fun sport.
The 2022 season will feature a major change
When Nitro Rallycross riders return for the 2022 season, they will enter a new era. Instead of driving a Mini Cooper, Audi, Subaru or Honda, the best competitors will ride in the all-electric FC1-X.
According to DirtFish, Olsbergs MSE and electromobility specialist QEV Technologies worked together to develop the supercar for Nitro Rallycross. This SUV-like vehicle will be faster and more durable than current combustion-engine supercars, and it will provide a level playing field for drivers such as Tanner Foust, Timmy Hansen, Kevin Hansen, Steve Arpin and Kevin Eriksson. These drivers will have even more opportunities to compete for victories while their teams will have fewer costly repairs.
“Everyone for the next two years – 2022, 2023 – will have the exact same platform,” Pastrana said. “If you know you are using the exact same equipment as anyone else, I think this is going to be extremely helpful. This new electric car is built so durable. It was built specifically for the Nitro Rallycross, it was designed for jumps and terrain, so I think it’s going to be awesome.
Pastrana has not disclosed when the Nitro Rallycross season will start or where the race weekends will take place. However, he did achieve his goal of showing that the series can be successful on its own and grow even bigger in the future.
“We have proof of concept and it doesn’t need to piggyback on Nitro Circus or anything. It’s his own series. We are currently looking for sponsorships to provide a better show. I think the race was great. … Phoenix, I think we had freestyle jetskiing stuff, but we want to have t-shirt guns, DJs and a band.
“We want to make sure that the runners can come because their families want to come. And I know that with two little girls, I only go on vacation where they want to go. Hopefully we can turn that into more than just a racing season. It can be something for the whole family.
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