Subaru Motorsports USA with Scott Speed (Subaru Impreza) and Travis Pastrana (Subaru Impreza) claimed a one two finish at Elk River, MN (ERX Motor Park) during round two of the 2021 Nitro Rallycross series on Sunday (October 3). Kevin Hansen (Peugeot 208) finished third in a 10-car final. Following the victory of Scott Speed, Elk River, MN became the first event in the history of Nitro Rallycross not being won by a member of the Hansen family.
The first day of the event was filled with the so-called battle brackets – head to head races resulting in a championship point for each win. In the first round (round of 16) there were apart from a bye for Travis Pastrana wins for Robin Larsson (Audi S1), Fraser McConnell (Ford Fiesta Mk8), Kevin Hansen, Timmy Hansen (Peugeot 208), Steve Arpin (Hyundai i20), Scott Speed and Liam Doran (Audi S1). Then Pastrana, Kevin Hansen, Arpin and Speed were victorious in the quarter finals.
Kevin Hansen won it from Travis Pastrana in the semi-final after a very close race while Scott Speed did the same with Steve Arpin. The latter however damaged his Hyundai after he was landing on his front left wheel following the jump. This eventually lead to a final battle between Kevin Hansen and Scott Speed. Before this final battle went underway Subaru Motorsports USA controversial team tactics came into play resulting in Scott Speed returning to the paddock after leaving the starting grid. With his guaranteed second place and third place of Travis Pastrana in the result of the battle brackets both drivers were in separate heat races. And in case both would win their heat race on Sunday they were even locking out the front row of the 10-car final. Kevin Hansen drove for three laps on the track, was declared winner and got an extra championship point.
On Sunday Travis Pastrana won the first heat race (the uneven numbers from the Saturday classification) and qualified for the final front row. Kevin Hansen finished second and was also through to the final. In the second heat race (the even numbers from the Saturday classification) the Subaru Motorsports USA strategy played out well. Scott Speed won the second heat race and as such he was sharing the front row for the final with teammate Travis Pastrana. Andreas Bakkerud (Subaru Impreza) finished second behind Speed and secured himself in the third Subaru also a ticket for the final.
Steve Arpin then won the first semi-final, after having lead it from start to finish, with Cabot Bigham holding off teammate Tanner Foust. Foust, who spun his car earlier in the semi-final, was eventually through to the final after Bigham received a five seconds time penalty. Following the second semi-final Timmy Hansen and Fraser McConnell both qualified for the final.
The grid for the 10-car final was completed on the fifth row with Oliver Eriksson and Robin Larsson who made it to the final through the Last Chance Qualifier race.
When the final went underway Speed had the better start but was chased by Kevin Hansen with Pastrana running third. In the second lap Pastrana was able to pass Kevin Hansen resulting in Subaru running one and two and the Hansen brothers on places three and four. Pastrana made his obligatory pass through the joker lap section in the fourth lap allowing Kevin Hansen to claim second place in the race again. When the leading duo passed through the joker lap section in the penultimate lap it became close merge between Speed and Pastrana for the lead. However the first named stayed in the lead to win round two of Nitro Rallycross. With Pastrana finishing second it was a one-two for Subaru Motorsports USA. Kevin Hansen was allowed to join Speed and Pastrana on the podium. Older brother Timmy [Hansen] made it in four ahead of Fraser McConnell in fifth.
“It’s an incredible feeling to be back on the top step,” said Speed after his win.
“I had a really long road back after getting hurt in 2019, and although we were fast last week in Utah we didn’t feel like we got the results we should have.
“But the car was fast this weekend and we made some tactical decisions that paid off with two Subarus on the front row in the final, so from there it was about me and Travis [Pastrana] keeping it clean and bringing home the trophy.”
In the standings after two events Scott Speed and Timmy Hansen are tied for the lead with both 87 points. Kevin Hansen is third with 85 points.
In the NRX Next ERX Motor Park played host for round 3 and 4 of the series. During round 3 on Saturday Martin Enlund (NRX Next) won the final. He started from pole and lead the race throughout the six laps. It was a one-two for Sweden with teammate Casper Jansson finishing second. John Holtger (NRX Next), who did not race in the opening events at Toole, UT, finished third.
During round 4 on Sunday Sage Karam (NRX Next) was victorious and won ahead of Saturday’s winner Martin Enlund and Lane Vacala (NRX Next). George Megennis (NRX Next) initially came in second but was later on disqualified from the final by the Stewards of the Meeting. Enlund stays on top of the standings after four events. He is leading it with 185 points, 25 points clear on Casper Jansson (160 points). Lane Vacala is currently third with 150 points.
The series continues on November 13-14 at Wildhorse Pass Motorsports Park near Phoenix, AZ..
Round 2 – Supercar – Battle Brackets: 1. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 2. Scott Speed (USA), Subaru Impreza; 3. Travis Pastrana (USA), Subaru Impreza; 4. Steve Arpin (CDN), Hyundai i20; 5. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 6. Robin Larsson (S), Audi S1; 7. Liam Doran (GB), Audi S1; 8. Fraser McConnell (JAM), Ford Fiesta Mk8; etc.
Round 2 – Supercar – Final: 1. Scott Speed (USA), Subaru Impreza; 2. Travis Pastrana (USA), Subaru Impreza; 3. Kevin Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 4. Timmy Hansen (S), Peugeot 208; 5. Fraser McConnell (JAM), Ford Fiesta Mk8; 6. Robin Larsson (S), Audi S1; 7. Andreas Bakkerud (N), Subaru Impreza; 8. Tanner Foust (USA), Audi S1; 9. Steve Arpin (CDN), Hyundai i20; 10. Oliver Eriksson (S), Ford Fiesta Mk8 – DNF.
Round 3 – NRX Next – Final: 1. Martin Enlund (S), NRX Next; 2. Casper Jansson (S), NRX Next; 3. John Holtger (USA), NRX Next; 4. Lane Vacala (USA), NRX Next; 5. George Megennis (USA), NRX Next; 6. Eric Gordon (USA), NRX Next; 7. Sage Karam (USA), NRX Next – DNF.
Round 4 – NRX Next – Final: 1. Sage Karam (USA), NRX Next; 2. Martin Enlund (S), NRX Next; 3. Lane Vacala (USA), NRX Next; 4. Eric Gordon (USA), NRX Next; 5. John Holtger (USA), NRX Next – DNF; -. Casper Jansson (S), NRX Next – DSQ; -. George Megennis (USA), NRX Next – DSQ.
Supercar (after round 2): 1. Timmy Hansen (S), 87; 2. Scott Speed (USA), 87; 3. Kevin Hansen (S), 85; 4. Travis Pastrana (USA), 75; 5. Fraser McConnell (JAM), 68; etc.
NRX Next (after round 4): 1. Martin Enlund (S), 185; 2. Casper Jansson (S), 160; 3. Lane Vacala (USA), 150; 4. George Megennis (USA), 125; 5. Eric Gordon (USA), 120; etc.