Narrowing the gap between cars and airplanes, Nitro Rallycross (NRX) kicks off a five-race series this weekend at the Utah Motorsports Campus, home of two one-off events before they were forced to skip 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It, and the entirety of the series, can be streamed live on Peacock in 2021.
For a series this size, missing a year might have been a death sentence, but the mastermind behind the concept, Travis Pastrana, took the time off to visualize how to make it bigger and better.
“I believe in rally; I believe in Rallycross,” Pastrana said in a recent interview with NBC Sports. “I believe it is the most challenging form of racing that you can do as a driver. I believe if you’re an F1 driver, if you’re a NASCAR driver, if you’re an Indy driver, if you’re a World Rally driver – you want to drive rally cross, but the tracks haven’t challenged the vehicles. They haven’t challenged the drivers enough to get them over.”
So Pastrana has set out to fix that.
In 2021, NRX will visit five locations around the United States. This week, they head to their birthplace at the Utah Motorsports Campus where the jumps have been made higher and grander – testing just how long a rally car can fly before gravity takes over.
In October, the series heads to ERX Motorpark outside of Minneapolis, Minn.
From there, they head back to the Southwest to Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park outside of Phoenix and the famed Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernadino, Calif. in November.
The series will close out at The Firm Racetrack in North Florida in early December.
“I want every track to be different,” Pastrana said. “I want one track to be snow and ice, one track to be sand, one track to be dusty – yes, it’s not ideal racing conditions, but let’s see who powers through.
“Let’s have big jumps at this track and small jumps at that track. Let’s have off-cambers at this track and berms at this track. Let’s challenge the drivers.”
Because when the drivers are challenged, the fans are engaged.
In 2022, the series will transition to electric rally cars and expand. The United States will continue to host five races, with five additional events to be run worldwide.
Utah Motorsports Campus, Salt Lake City, 9/24-25
ERX Motorpark, Minneapolis, 10/2-3
Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park, Phoenix, 11/13-14
Glen Helen Raceway, San Bernadino, Calif., 11/20-21
The Firm Racetrack, North Florida, 12/4-5