The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion just put on a show during his first-ever foray into Nitro Rallycross. Kyle Busch made strides throughout the weekend and finished fourth, ahead of four other series regulars.
Busch only had one race on Saturday, November 13, a battle bracket that he lost to Scott Speed. However, he had three more opportunities to race on Sunday, November 14. He first faced off with the talented Nitro Rallycross drivers during his heat race and finished near the rear of the pack. He then took third during the semifinal round, just behind Robin Larsson and Steve Arpin.
This third-place run should have forced him to compete in a Last Chance Qualifying race, but the stewards made a surprising announcement. They issued a five-second penalty to Larsson after a collision with Arpin, dropping the Monster Energy driver back to fourth and elevating Busch into a transfer position. Rowdy automatically moved on to the final event of the weekend, which series creator Travis Pastrana won in decisive fashion.
Busch Made Several Big Moves During the Finale
Busch entered the weekend finale on the third row next to Tanner Foust. He had multiple heavy-hitters in front of him, a list that included Pastrana, Steve Arpin, Scott Speed, and Timmy Hansen. Behind him sat Kevin Hansen and Cabot Bigham.
The early portions of the six-lap race featured Busch fighting for position at the rear of the field with Bigham. The two drivers traded spots before the NASCAR veteran began to work his way through the field. He passed Steve Arpin after the championship-winning driver sustained damage and moved past Hansen, who also failed to finish the race. Busch then battled with Tanner Foust, one of the most talented wheelmen in the field.
Busch and Foust continued to negotiate for position as the race end approached, but the NASCAR champion ultimately made a critical pass at the over-under section to take fourth in the field. He continued to hold his position through the final turns and jumped across the finish line to cap off a wild weekend.
“As soon as my guys told me, ‘P4,’ I was like, ‘d******, it wasn’t third. At least be on the podium,'” Busch said during his postrace interview. “Lot of attrition there. Passed two of them at least, so I felt like I fairly got fourth-ish. A couple of guys broke.”
Busch Turned in the Performance in Front of a Packed House
The weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park marked the first big Nitro Rallycross event at the Arizona track, but it still took place in front of packed grandstands. Fans from the area braved temperatures in the high 80s, as well as the lack of shade, to witness the show and cheer on their favorite drivers.
A multitude of fans among the attendees proudly represented their favorite NASCAR drivers. There were obviously an assortment sporting M&Ms jerseys, Rowdy hats, and Busch t-shirts. However, fans also represented other drivers. Fans in Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch hats roamed among the crowd, as did several in Chase Elliott championship t-shirts. Some simply showed up in Phoenix Raceway shirts celebrating championship weekend.
Regardless of their rooting interests, these attendees saw a packed weekend of action. There were PT Cruiser races and jet ski tricks in the neighboring lake. Meanwhile, Nitro Circus’ Streetbike Tommy roamed around interacting with fans and hyping up the crowd. UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping even showed up and pulled out his artificial eye while doing commentary.