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Nitro Rallycross Race Preview: The FIRM

The vision is all coming together for Subaru Motorsports USA driver and Nitro Rallycross founder Travis Pastrana.

The first full NRX season wraps up this weekend at The FIRM Rally School in Florida, and Pastrana has parlayed back-to-back victories into a shot at giving perhaps the sport’s most notorious team its first Supercar drivers’ title. To do it, he’ll have to conquer not only a much more pavement-heavy course than the series has seen in weeks past, but also take down teammate/four-time US champion Scott Speed and global front-runner Timmy Hansen in the process.

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Kevin Hansen and Kevin Eriksson compete at Nitro Rallycross in San Bernardino, California, USA on November 21, 2021

NRX’s point system is highly unforgiving to drivers who don’t make the final, with a 15-point gap between eighth place in the feature and missing it entirely and just one point per battle bracket victory on Saturday. Pastrana (182 points), Speed (175), and Hansen (165) are the only three still in mathematical contention after Kevin Hansen missed the main at Glen Helen and Steve Arpin, the only other driver to make all four finals, suffered disappointing finishes at ERX Motor Park and Wild Horse Pass.

If the title battle wasn’t enough to catch your attention, though, the addition of perhaps NASCAR’s biggest name should be. 2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott becomes the final name to sample the Go Nitro Star Car this season, and he’ll look to improve upon Kyle Busch’s fourth place finish at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park and Andreas Bakkerud’s third place at Glen Helen Raceway.

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Andrew Carlson and Tanner Foust compete at Nitro Rallycross in Elk River, Minnesota, USA on 3 October, 2021.

On the NRX Next side of things, Enlunds Motorsport teammates Casper Jansson and Martin Enlund pace the standings with 320 and 305 points, respectively; Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s Sage Karam, #YellowSquad’s George Megennis, and Karam’s teammate Lane Vacala complete the top five. Thanks to dual finals each weekend for the Next division, all five have a theoretical shot at the title. The FIRM will also see the return of a stacked lineup of side-by-side racers; returning names like Tanner Foust, Andrew Carlson, and Jason Luburgh will be joined by new recruits like Hailie Deegan, Robbie Maddison, and Cleetus McFarland.

As always, live coverage of the Nitro Rallycross season finale from The FIRM Rally School will stream live on Peacock. The NBC Sports Network will carry a one-hour highlights show from the Supercar action the following week.

Chris Leone

A veteran of the motorsports industry (both physical and digital), Chris Leone contributes coverage of race events of all types to Off-Road Racer. Elsewhere, he is the marketing/communications manager at iRacing, media director of Jim Beaver's Down & Dirty Show, and a frequent contributor to UTV Underground.

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