2020 Cup Series champion Chase Elliott took on Nitro Rallycross for the second time on November 11-13, albeit in a new vehicle. Now he has revealed the biggest challenge for him at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Arizona.
Elliott provided this insight during an interview ahead of the Last Chance Qualifier on November 13. He explained that his offseason plans currently revolve around relaxing after taking part in the unique series created by Travis Pastrana. Elliott also explained that the all-electric power is less of a concern than the handling.
“The biggest thing for me, personally, is the car being all-wheel drive,” Elliott explained to NRX analyst Jarod DeAnda. “That’s probably my biggest challenge. Yes, the car being electric is different, but I felt like I got used to that fairly quickly.
“But the car being all-wheel drive and just the way you face the car and point the car and what you do. The steering wheel is a bit different than what you would do with rear-wheel drive.”
Adjusting to the FC1-X Has Taken Time
The first time that Elliott took on Nitro Rallycross, he did so in a traditional rallycross Supercar. He drove the “GoNitro” ZipRecruiter Subaru that Kyle Busch had previously controlled during a race weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
As Elliott showed in a YouTube video, his biggest challenge early was figuring out how to jump a Subaru. He had never caught air in a race car before — at least not on purpose — so he had to learn all of the intricate details of finding the right speed and hitting the ramp without overshooting it.
The race weekend in 2022 was a different situation. There were several factors in play. Elliott had to adjust to how the brand-new FC1-X handled the jumps. He also had to account for the instant torque provided by the electric engines. Though flinging the car around the turns was a challenge in itself.
Elliott Will Likely Have Another Opportunity
Elliott’s weekend in Arizona ended with an issue in the Last Chance Qualifier after a fierce battle with Kris Meeke. He was unable to complete the race after starting on the pole and putting himself in a position to capture the win.
Will Elliott return to Nitro Rallycross in 2023 for his third race weekend? There is no clear answer. Though it appears likely considering that the 2020 Cup Series champion has brought out the fans in both 2021 and 2022.
Elliott also told Heavy after the Cup Series championship race in Phoenix that competing in Nitro Rallycross is just fun for him. It’s just something different than climbing into the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro and fighting for wins, stage points, and a spot in the playoffs.
Of course, there will be a considerable amount of time before there are answers provided about Elliott’s potential return. Nitro Rallycross will first close out its second season with trips to Quebec (January 21-22, 2023), Alberta (February 4-5, 2023), and a yet-to-be-revealed location in the United States (March 2023). Once the third season’s schedule is made public, Elliott can look at some potential dates for his return.