Kurt Busch interested in racing Dakar Rally: ‘Reminds me of home’ in the Vegas desert

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After dabbling in IndyCar and drag racing, Kurt Busch says the desert of the Dakar Rally could be next.

In an interview with NBC Sports’ Parker Kligerman (video above), Busch said the prestigious off-road raid event is “on the list for sure,” and that he’s talked to Monster Energy, the sponsor of his No. 1 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, about Dakar. Monster also is a Dakar sponsor, backing U.S. dirt bike riders Ricky Brabec (the first American to win the Dakar Rally) and former Supercross star Andrew Short.

“It’s always a matter of just finding the right timing, doing your research,” Busch told Kligerman. “I need to do something a bit smaller like work around a race in the desert Southwest here in the United States first.”

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver said racing in the Baja 500 or Baja 1000 appeals to him, but the November events usually have conflicted with the NASCAR schedule, which will end this year Nov. 7 at Phoenix Raceway.

DAKAR RALLY: Toby Price, Stephane Peterhansel among leaders

HOW TO WATCH ON NBCSNInformation, schedules for the Dakar Rally

“Date-wise, it never worked out to do that yet, but I sometimes go straight to the top and worry about it later,” Busch said. “That’s what I did with the Indy 500 a few years ago.”

Racing for Andretti Autosport, Busch finished sixth as a rookie in the 2014 Indianapolis 500. In 2011, he made the elimination rounds of an NHRA Pro Stock event.

He’s among many drivers from NASCAR’s premier series seeking to expand their racing horizons recently. After running the Snowball Derby last month, Chase Elliott is scheduled to make his debut next week in the Chili Bowl, which also will include Christopher Bell, Ryan Newman and Kyle Larson. At the end of the month, Elliott will make his debut in the Rolex 24, which also will feature Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon.

Since the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NASCAR severely curtailed practice and qualifying sessions, and Busch said the extra time is having a beneficial impact for moonlighting Cup drivers.

“I think this is a big trend that you’re going to start to see,” he said. “It’s just the time and the new era of motorsports, especially with NASCAR going to just race day. We don’t have practice sessions anymore hardly. That opens up the schedule. We’ve had more time by ourselves. And everybody is looking on the Internet and talking and researching what is out there and what can they can get their hands on and what seat can they get in, so I’m digging this.

“This is something I’ve done my whole life. Whatever I can research to find a race. Heck if it’s even a monster truck. I want to go drive a monster truck and crush cars. Everything is wide open right now.”

Busch said the 2021 Dakar Rally is appealing because of its backdrop in Saudi Arabia, which is the host country for the second consecutive year.

“I love the off-road world,” he said. “The intrigue for me is that it reminds me of home and the desert right outside Vegas. And then the sand dunes section in Stage 4. That is so brutal, especially for the bikes.

“I just love the scenery, I love the competition, and it’s just great to see motorsports on TV already.”

Peacock to stream all Supercross and Motocross races in 2023, plus inaugural SuperMotocross Championship

Peacock Supercross Motocross 2023
Feld Entertainment, Inc.
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NBC Sports and Feld Motor Sports announced that Peacock and the NBC family of networks will stream all 31 races of the combined Monster Energy Supercross, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross and the newly created SuperMotocross World Championship beginning January 7, 2023 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and ending October 14 in the place where Supercross was born: the Los Angeles Coliseum.

The combined series will create a 10-month calendar of events, making it one of the longest professional sports’ seasons in the United States.

The agreement is for multiple years. The season finale will air live on Peacock and the USA Network.

Peacock will present live coverage of all races, qualifying and heats across both series. The 31 total races will mark a record for the combined number of Supercross and Pro Motocross events that NBC Sports will present in a single season.

NBC, USA Network and CNBC will provide coverage of all races, including the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final, through 2023 and beyond. For more information about the Peacock streaming service, click here.

“With our wide array of live and original motorsports offerings, Peacock is a natural home for Supercross and Pro Motocross races,” said Rick Cordella, Chief Commercial Officer, Peacock. “We’re looking forward to providing fans with an easily-accessible destination to find every race all season long, including the exciting finish with the newly formed SuperMotocross World Championship.”

MORE: A conversation about media rights created the new SuperMotocross World Championship Series

The NBC family of networks has been home to Supercross for the past several seasons and this is a continuation of that relationship. The media rights for both series expired at the end of 2022, which allowed Supercross and Motocross to combine their efforts.

In fact, it was that conversation that led to the formation of the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

The SMX series will begin on September 9, 2023 after the conclusion of the Pro Motocross season. Points will accumulate from both series to seed the SMX championship, which creates a record number of unified races.

“The SuperMotocross World Championship adds a new dimension to the annual Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons that will result in crowning the ultimate World Champion,” said Stephen C. Yaros, SVP Global Media and Supercross for Feld Motor Sports. “We are thrilled to be extending our relationship with NBC Sports so our fans can watch all the racing action streaming live on Peacock and the option to also watch select rounds on NBC, USA Network and CNBC.”

Complete 2023 coverage schedules for Supercross, Pro Motocross and the SuperMotocross World Championship on Peacock, NBC, USA Network and CNBC will be announced in the near future.