Robin Larsson extended his Nitro Rallycross points lead with victory in the second part of the double header at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix.
Larsson, who finished off the podium for the first time this season in the first final of the weekend, was bettered by pole sitter Oliver Eriksson early on, but the final was quickly halted after a frightening accident for Andreas Bakkerud, which forced him out of the race — luckily uninjured.
The Dreyer & Reinbold JC driver was among a gaggle of cars fighting for second behind Oliver Eriksson when he made contact with Oliver Bennett over the gap jump. That pitched him sideways and into a roll upon landing, transitioning into an end-over-end flip when he was subsequently collected by Kevin Eriksson.
Once the wreckage was cleared, Oliver Eriksson made an even better start than the first go, as Larsson, Travis Pastrana and Fraser McConnell all fought over the remaining podium spots.
Oliver Eriksson kept the lead until the mid-point of the six lap race, when Larsson snuck up the inside of Turn 2 for the lead. Eriksson, his view now obscured by a lifted hood, couldn’t find a way past Larsson, who comfortably led his compatriot home.
Third went the way of Kris Meeke, who spun at the first start after contact with Kevin Eriksson, vaulted into podium contention after starting from the back of the grid by virtue of his win in the Last Chance Qualifier. He soon found himself behind Pastrana, but the roles were reversed once Pastrana jokered on the second lap.
When Meeke took the alternate route on lap four, he kept ahead of Pastrana, who dropped off the pace as the race went on, eventually finishing sixth behind Kevin Eriksson and Fraser McConnell.
Larsson’s final victory – his second of the year – came after an opening heat win, while top qualifier Oliver Eriksson also secured his spot in the main with a heat win.
McConnell and Pastrana made it through after winning their semifinals, Bakkerud and Kevin Eriksson finishing second to them respectively, while Meeke and Bennett advanced from a rather controversial LCQ.
After that race, Bennett was handed a 5s penalty for contact with Conner Martell – a penalty that should have elevated Austin Cindric to second and a Final berth, but a penalty for his own contact with Bennett excluded the Daytona 500 winner from the race.
Before all of that, Chase Elliott looked set to pull off a stunning victory and land a spot in the Final. He was dominating until contact with Bennett forced him to retire.
In NRX NEXT, George Megennis wrapped up his second victory of the US season after title rival Casper Jansson was penalized for contact with the young American, while Greg Michaud led home Ben Maier and Robin Shute in the second Side-by-Side final of the weekend.