Nitro Rallycross heads to Glen Helen Raceway in Southern California this weekend for round four of the 2022-23.
The San Bernardino track was the site of one of the greatest Nitro RX races of all time last year as Scott Speed and Kevin Eriksson diced in the Battle Bracket.
After an equal start, Subaru driver Speed took an early lead over the Honda man, who clawed back in the second half of the race for a door-banging finish that Speed just edged.
It was a head-to-head we’re still talking about today – and with Nitro RX now utilizing the single FC1-X throughout the field, emphasizing driver skill over individual car performance, expect to see even more tense battles at the technical dirt course.
The main event, however, was a Subaru masterclass as the Vermont SportsCar-run team swept the board with a historic one-two-three finish.
Andreas Bakkerud was third on that occasion, and he heads back to California just 21 points adrift of RX Cartel team-mate Robin Larsson in the standings. Larsson, very much the class of the field so far this year, has three podium finishes from three – the only driver with such a record in 2022.
As well as being a happy hunting ground for Bakkerud in the past, 2021 series champion Travis Pastrana will also be carrying confidence into this weekend – not only as the defending Glen Helen event winner, but after securing a comprehensive victory in round three at ERX Motor Park in Minnesota.
He’s 58 points off the top spot, but with a win in his pocket and the same Vermont SportsCar team behind him that dominated here last year, he’ll be an instant threat.
Between Bakkerud and Pastrana is Fraser McConnell on 114 points. Fresh from a maiden podium at ERX – bouncing back from a dramatic practice crash the day before – McConnell was one of the fastest drivers at Glen Helen last year, even if reliability didn't help his cause.
Outside the leading quartet, someone to keep an eye on is the aforementioned Kevin Eriksson. Back in the thick of the fight after missing the opening two rounds through injury, we know how good he is around here, and after making it to the final of the Battle Bracket last time out, we know he’s lost none of his pace during his time away.
It’s worth mentioning Jenson Button, too. While the 2009 Formula 1 champion’s debut at ERX didn’t involve him fighting at the sharp end of the field, he made progress throughout the weekend. Now he’s got the experience of the weekend in the bag, plus he’s tested at Glen Helen – the California resident’s home track – before as well so expect yet another step forward from him.
But as well as the headline Group E category, NRX NEXT and Side-by-Sides will also be on the bill at Glen Helen.
During the European leg of the season, NRX NEXT provided some excellent racing so far this year.
Tommi Hallman topped the standings after six rounds, winning the final four. Last year’s NRX NEXT champion and round one winner Casper Jansson was just 50 points back, while the always rapid George Megennis locked up third with a run of three podiums on the bounce later in the European season.
Pastrana and fellow action sports legend Brian Deegan shared the wins in SxS in Minneapolis, and headline the category's entry once again this weekend.
As always, you’ll be able to watch all the action live and free on Peacock in the US, and YouTube for the rest of the world on both Saturday and Sunday.