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Nitro Rallycross Race Preview: Utah

It’s the rallycross series we’ve all been waiting on for years. Nitro Rallycross takes Travis Pastrana’s vision for the most intense race tracks in the world and expands it into a full-blown series, kicking off its five-round championship at Utah Motorsports Campus on Friday and Saturday. The birthplace of The series, UMC features a uniquely challenging combination of banked dirt corners, multiple lanes, and a triple over-under jump unlike anything ever seen in racing before.

Nitro RX made its debut in 2018 here, and each year the UMC layout has evolved slightly to accommodate competitor feedback. Pastrana’s ethos is to make sure that all parties have a seat at the table on the series’ direction, and as a result, most competitors appear to be pulling in the same direction.

That entry list is as impressive as any assembled in any rallycross series anywhere in the world to this point. Pastrana and four-time US champion Scott Speed team up for full seasons at Subaru Motorsports USA, while Andreas Bakkerud joins in a third car for the first two rounds at UMC and ERX Motor Park. Longtime US regulars like Tanner Foust, Steve Arpin, and Cabot Bigham are also a part of the field. Brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen, winners of the first two Nitro RX events here in 2018 and 2019, lead a deep European contingent that includes the American return of both the Olsbergs MSE team and former X Games gold medalist Liam Doran. They’ll be supported as well by NRX Next, using the Supercar Lites that have run in the US for nearly a decade, and a UTV class run by Sierra Cars.

The full Nitro RX Supercars entry list is as follows:

  • 00. Steve Arpin / GRX Loenbro Motorsports / Hyundai
  • 02. Cabot Bigham / Dreyer & Reinbold Racing / Audi
  • 4. Robin Larsson / Monster Energy RX Cartel / Audi
  • 9. Kevin Hansen / Hansen Motorsport / Peugeot
  • 13. Andreas Bakkerud / Subaru Motorsports USA / Subaru
  • 16. Oliver Eriksson / Olsbergs MSE / Ford
  • 21. Timmy Hansen / Hansen Motorsport / Peugeot
  • 23. Kevin Eriksson / Olsbergs MSE / Honda
  • 33. Liam Doran / Monster Energy RX Cartel / Audi
  • 34. Tanner Foust / Dreyer & Reinbold Racing / Audi
  • 35. Fraser McConnell / Olsbergs MSE / Ford
  • 41. Scott Speed / Subaru Motorsports USA / Subaru
  • 42. Oliver Bennett / XITE Energy Racing / Mini
  • 199. Travis Pastrana / Subaru Motorsports USA / Subaru

Day one of the racing action begins with solo single-lap qualifying before yielding to “battle qualifying,” a bracket-style set of head-to-head races best likened to an NHRA event. Each battle win is worth one point, and the winner of the final is deemed the pole sitter. Day two starts with two eight-car heats where the top two of each advance to the final, followed by two six-car semifinals that do the same, and a single LCQ where the top two finishers again move on. Each of those races will be five laps, while the 10-car final will expand to 10 laps.

Live coverage of Nitro Rallycross airs on Peacock beginning at 4PM ET/1PM PT on both Friday and a Saturday. After this weekend, it’s a quick turnaround to ERX next Saturday and Sunday, before the teams get a month-long break heading into two more back-to-back rounds at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Arizona and Glen Helen Raceway in California in mid-November. The season concludes at The FIRM Rally School in Florida on December 4-5.

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.