A week after the NASCAR Cup Series season ends at Phoenix Raceway, Kyle Busch will stay in the area to dabble in rallycross. On Wednesday, he announced he will compete in Nitro Rallycross for the first time on 13/14 November at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, where he will drive the #GoNitro car in the Supercar class.
Busch is easily one of the most recognisable and talented names in NASCAR today. The two-time Cup champion is currently fourth in points with a pair of wins in his hunt for a third title, and he swept all five of his Xfinity Series starts in 2021 to help him become the first driver ever to record 100 race wins in the series. Across NASCAR’s three national series (Cup, Xfinity, Camping World Truck), he has 222 total wins in his career and has never had a winless season in seventeen years of full-time Cup racing.
While Busch has dominated stock cars, rallycross will be a new endeavour for him. Although a completely different vehicle, Busch has some experience in non-asphalt environments such as competing in dirt track super late models; in 2012, he won the Prelude to the Dream dirt race at Eldora Speedway.
“Anybody that knows me knows that I’m a true racer and I’ve always prided myself in the ability to get behind the wheel of any type of vehicle at any type of track and be competitive,” Busch said in a press release. “So I’m pumped for the opportunity to go wheel-to-wheel with some of the best rallycross drivers from around the world in Nitro Rallycross at Wild Horse Pass.”
He may be the most decorated name in the NRX field especially in terms of stock cars, but he will not be the only driver with familiarity in NASCAR. NRX founder Travis Pastrana is a former full-time Xfinity competitor who continues to make sporadic Truck Series starts, while Steve Arpin raced in Xfinity and Trucks from 2010 to 2012. Multi-time rallycross champion Scott Speed was a Cup regular in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and scored a Truck win at Dover in 2008. Sage Karam, who races in the NRX NEXT class, débuted in the Xfinity Series this year and is set to race in the Trucks for the first time on Saturday at Martinsville.
“I’m so stoked to get the word out that Kyle is going to compete in Nitro Rallycross,” stated Pastrana. “From day one, this series was made by drivers for drivers in order to create a totally new type of motorsport: one that was challenging to race while at the same time thrilling for fans to watch. Having a champion of Kyle’s caliber get in the ring raises the game even more and introduces a new audience to Nitro RX. Once we get out on the track though, I know that both of us will have our eyes on that trophy.”
NRX is the newest effort to cultivate a rallycross culture in the United States after the demises of Red Bull Global Rallycross and the Americas Rallycross Championship. During the former’s seven-year history including the Lites class, drivers who have raced in NASCAR (national or regional) besides the Arpin/Pastrana/Speed trio included names like reigning Xfinity champion Austin Cindric, Nur Ali, Colin Braun, Victor Gonzalez Jr., Ricky Johnson, Nelson Piquet Jr., Buddy Rice, Jeff Ward, and Brian Wong; Mitchell DeJong has never entered a real-life NASCAR event but drives in the eNASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series for Cup team 23XI Racing (who has an alliance with Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing). Arpin, Karam, Pastrana, and Speed also raced in the short-lived Americas Rallycross, as did former NASCAR road ringer Jacques Villeneuve. Busch’s older brother Kurt Busch tested a GRC car at the Charlotte Dirt Track in 2013.