Updated: Nov 4, 2021
By Laurette Nicoll
Famous for his bold driving skills, explosiveness and competitive nature, two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is coming to throw down against the best rallycross drivers in the world. We’ll see him compete in the Nitro Rallycross series during round three at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ, November 13th- 14th.
The fact that one of the greatest NASCAR drivers ever wants to see how he stacks up against the best rallycross drivers in the world is incredible – and we have Travis Pastrana to thank for it.
Pastrana and his Subaru teammate Scott Speed recently had a conversation about the joy that Nitro RX is bringing them. As Pastrana recounted, “Scott was talking about how much fun he was having with Nitro RX and how it’s been a long time since he was genuinely scared just to drive practice. We talked about some top drivers in other sports, and I joked about who we thought would have fun and do well in Nitro RX. Scott said the greatest driver in the world was Kyle Busch, which I was surprised to hear because Scott is an amazing driver and confident in his own abilities, so I’ve never heard him talk about anyone in that light.”
The gears obviously started turning in Pastrana’s head, and unable to forget the conversation with Speed, reached out to Busch for a straightforward discussion.
Pastrana – “Kyle, do you want to race Nitro Rallycross in the (ZipRecruiter-sponsored) Go Nitro car at Phoenix the weekend after your last cup race in Arizona?”
Busch – “Is the car competitive?”
Pastrana – “Yes. I feel they are the best in the field.”
Busch – “Will I get the exact same car as you and Scott or is it a worn-out work horse?”
Pastrana – “Exactly the same.”
Busch – “How likely is it that I’m going to get hurt?”
Pastrana – “Um… well…”
Busch – “Never mind. I’ll clear it with Samantha and then run it up the chain with Toyota.”
One week later, he was locked in.
As a race promoter who wants to go up against the best drivers, TP’s first call was to Busch. KB has stated that as a driver, “he isn’t a dirt guy,” so will his asphalt expertise translate to dirt? Pastrana left zero doubt saying, “Kyle can drive any vehicle on any surface. He is an amazingly gifted, natural driver and has more seat time in more vehicles than anyone.”
Known for his aggressive driving style, Kyle Busch competing in the Arizona round will be a perfect match for Nitro Rallycross. If a timid driver came into the mix, they’d be left behind and lapped. That’s not Kyle Busch.
As an aside, Busch participated in a super late model charity event from 2007 through 2012 all on dirt. So, even though he doesn’t call himself a “dirt guy,” his experience off the asphalt is vast.
Speaking of dirt, will Pastrana be providing any guidance on how to hit the impressive jumps that come with competing at Nitro RX? “The only advice Kyle would even consider taking from me is how fast he needs to hit the jumps. I’m glad he will be on our team because I’m sure we will learn as much or more from Kyle than he will learn from us,” Pastrana said. Busch will undoubtedly be processing lessons quickly while taking on his high-horsepower car, attacking jumps and hitting dirt banked turns. Only time will tell how this experiment will go. Stay tuned!
Catch Travis Pastrana, Kyle Busch, Scott Speed, and the rest of the Nitro Rallycross gang face off in Chandler, Arizona at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park November 13th-14th live and free on Peacock in the US and YouTube worldwide.