Texas, Vegas to host returning Red Bull Air Race series in 2014 (VIDEO)

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Texas Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway are going to try something a bit different next season. The two 1.5-mile ovals will play host to events in the 2014 comeback season for the Red Bull Air Race World Championship, with the Texas round slated for Sept. 6-7, 2014 and the Vegas round for Oct. 11-12, 2014.

The series had an initial eight-season run from 2003 to 2010 before going on hiatus in 2011 to reorganize and also implement improved safety measures. Next year, the series will feature seven events altogether; the five non-American rounds will be staged in locales such as the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Poland, Great Britain, and China.

In their respective statements, Texas Motor Speedway president/GM Eddie Gossage and Las Vegas Motor Speedway president/GM Chris Powell felt that the series would be appealing to their tracks’ fan bases.

“We like doing things no one expects,” Gossage said. “I think the thing that will be so appealing to motorsports fans and gearheads is that this is a real competition. Red Bull Air Race is truly a head-to-head, nose-to-nose competition on the clock, where these pilots are running through the Air Gates to see who can turn in the best time.”

“We tend to draw people who love high-performance vehicles, and certainly these airplanes are high-performance vehicles,” Powell said. “Yes, it’s a bit of a new wrinkle for us at Las Vegas Motor Speedway to be staging air racing, but fans who love performance are very much going to love watching these planes race.”

Red Bull Air Race events have pilots darting through obstacle courses made up of “Air Gate” pylons at speeds that rival those of their earth-bound brethren from NASCAR, IndyCar and Formula One.

For the 2014 campaign, a number of technical tweaks have been made for the aforementioned improvement of safety: Standard engines and propellers for all pilots, changes to the pylons’ material that make them easier to burst if they’re clipped by plane wings, and raising the height of the pylons that the pilots must pass through (from 65 to 80 feet).

Also new for 2014 is a stepping-stone series known as the Challengers Cup, which will see up-and-coming pilots race on the day before the Red Bull Air Race main event.

The TMS and LVMS events mark new ground for Red Bull Air Race, as those will be their first American events to be staged over speedways – a departure from past runs over water and undeveloped land.

The series first held a U.S. round in 2004 at Reno, Nevada, and has since visited San Francisco, San Diego, Utah’s Monument Valley, Detroit and New York City.

Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

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Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.