|Rallycross has run at Irwindale short track outside LA|
Speed swept all four of his heat races and the finale in winning the gold medal in the X Games Rallycross this past weekend in Austin, driving his factory-backed Volkswagen from Andretti AutoSport. Piquet finished third in his factory-backed Ford Fiesta. Second place went to former X Games skate board champion Bucky Lasek, who was driving a factory-backed Subaru, while Pastrana, another Subaru driver, missed his first X Games finale. Hyundai and Citroen also back teams.
Do you see a trend here? There’s a lot of manufacturer interest in Rallycross. That’s because it has captured the imagination of young car buyers. The same buyers NASCAR and IndyCar have been trying desperately to attract.
Rallycross, which boasts a number of high profile sponsors, including Red Bull’s mega dollars, pits small, production-based cars such as the ones young consumers can afford, against each other in door-to-door racing. The cars produce 600 horsepower and can accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than two seconds.
While Rallycross, a fan friendly version of rally racing, has been around in Europe for some time, it’s only about five years old in the U.S. A typical track is less than a mile long, similar to a road course, made up of a combination of pavement and dirt, with ramps and jumps. It can be set up almost anywhere, on a super speedway, road course or short track. An event usually consists of a series of short heat races and then a feature event. Lots of action. Reminds me of a Saturday night at your local short track.
If you haven’t watched a Rallycross race yet, either on television or in person, give it a chance. And while IndyCar and NASCAR are being relegated to NBCSports and Fox Sports1 with increasing regularity, you can often find RallyCross on NBC and ESPN. Maybe those running NASCAR and IndyCar should tune in.