NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) smiles before driver introductions for the Inaugural EchoPark Automotive Texas Grand Prix NASCAR Cup Series race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, May 23, 2021.  (HHP/Tom Copeland)
Kyle Busch (HHP/Tom Copeland photo)

Kyle Busch Places Fourth In Nitro Rallycross Debut

CHANDLER, Ariz. – Kyle Busch held his own during his Nitro Rallycross debut Sunday at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion not only qualified for the six-lap supercar main event, but he finished fourth behind off-road perennials Travis Pastrana, Timmy Hansen and Scott Speed.

Pastrana, who co-created the series in 2018 wanting to put forth a product that appeals to younger fans, topped Hansen, the Nitro Rallycross point leader, by 2.062 seconds.

Busch, meanwhile, finished five seconds behind Speed’s podium run.

“That was a lot of fun,” Busch said in his telecasted post-race interview. “As soon as my guys were telling me ‘P4, good job’ across the line I was like, ‘Dammit, it wasn’t third.’ At least be on the podium, you know? A lot of attrition there.

“But no, it was a good run,” Busch added. “I had some fun. Thank you to Zip Recruiter and Rowdy Energy and all the Subaru guys. They were fantastic to work with. Scott [Speed] and Travis [Pastrana] of course, helping me out and building my confidence, getting me up to speed a lot faster than I expected. That was fun.”

Busch’s rallycross debut came just one week following his ninth-place finish in the Cup Series point standings. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has been known to dabble in new disciplines, making selective dirt late model starts through the years.

Speed and Pastrana played a large hand in Busch’s experience over the weekend, as they coordinated his ride with Subaru and coached him along the way.

Busch said his NASCAR experience helped him at least grapple the turbocharged 600 horsepower vehicles.

“Slowing down for the corner, figuring out how to go slow, fast,” Busch said. “That was the biggest thing. … It’s just like typical road racing stuff that we have. Just a lot more jumps in the way.

“I was honestly, at six laps, I was like, ‘I wish this thing was like 15 laps,” Busch added. “These guys are crazy. They’re going to break their stuff and I’m going to mosey on up through here like the slow man can.”

Busch doesn’t have additional races planned at the moment, but said he’d invite the challenge again.

“The biggest thing was learning the car and the trade, and trying to figure all that out,” Busch said. “And I certainly have a long way to go. We’re not even to the tip of the mountain yet. Certainly would enjoy the opportunity to come back and run some more, run some different tracks.”

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