Travis Pastrana became the first three-time winner of the 2022-23 Nitro Rallycross victory after dominating the second part of the season-ending triple header event at Glen Helen Raceway in California.
The reigning series champion, who won at ERX Motor Park in Minnesota and Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix earlier in the season, led from lights to flag after besting fellow heat winner and front-row starter Oliver Eriksson off the line.
Pastrana had the race under control but a right-rear puncture for Oliver Eriksson on the penultimate lap ended any hope he had of winning. His Olsbergs MSE teammate Kevin Eriksson inherited second, having shielded his championship-contending brother from attacks in the early part of the race.
While the younger Eriksson’s puncture made the question of race victory a certainty, third place was much less clear. Pastrana’s Vermont SportsCar teammate Conner Martell was running third going into the final lap, but was passed by Friday night victor Andreas Bakkerud as they headed to the gap jump. Robin Larsson then muscled past in the final corner of the last lap.
It was quite the fightback for the points leader who dropped to the back of the field after a slow start from the third row of the grid. He left his joker until the final lap while those in front of him had taken it earlier, and while he couldn’t hold onto the third place he’d cycled to before taking the longer route, it represented a decent comeback.
Timo Schieder, who scored an impressive debut podium on Friday night, took sixth, with the wounded Oliver Eriksson and Oliver Bennett completing the final results.
Championship contender Fraser McConnell was a notable casualty of the preliminary rounds, failing to make the final for the first time this season. He was defeated in the Last Chance Qualifier by Bennett and Martell, Martell having to advance through the LCQ after a bizarre incident in his semifinal where his car’s kill switch was triggered.
Today’s results secured the teams’ championship for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing JC RX Cartel with 790 points. Olsbergs MSE occupies second (601 pts) with Vermont SportsCar third and XITE Energy Racing fourth.
In the Drivers’ championship, with drivers’ worst scores from the first nine rounds of the season now dropped, Larsson sits on top with 345 points and holds a slender 17 point lead over Bakkerud with 58 points still on the table on Sunday. Fraser McConnell sits third on 301 points, nine ahead of Pastrana, while Oliver Eriksson, now on 275 points, has dropped out of title contention.
In the first part of the NRX NEXT world final, European champion Tommi Hallman defeated North American champ Casper Jansson in a tense fight, with Lane Vacala completing the podium in the development class.
Gregoire Michaud beat Scottie Lawrence and Ben Maier in a shortened Side-by-Side final which was red flagged on lap four of six after Lawrence rolled. The race was scored on the first three laps alone however, hence Lawrence maintaining his podium position.
In an addition for this weekend, Class 11 Baja Buggies also featured on the bill, Ryan Rodriguez won ahead of Friday night victor Blake Wilkey.