XITE Energy Racing’s Oliver Bennett will miss next week’s Nitrocross races in Phoenix after sustaining a back injury.
A series spokesperson told RACER that the Briton was “not cleared by doctors in time for the upcoming race in Phoenix,” Bennett later took to Instagram to elaborate, revealing he had slipped a disc.
“I’m gutted I’m not going to be at the Nitrocross event in Phoenix in a week’s time,” he said. “I’ve got a bad back, and I won’t be able to sit in a race car and do the jumps.”
It will be the first Nitrocross event Bennett has missed since it became a multi-event series in 2021, then known as Nitro Rallycross. He enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2022-23, claiming three top-five finishes, including a fourth in the first of four rounds at Glen Helen Raceway in October of last year. He currently sits ninth in the points this season, one spot behind Conor Daly, having taken a season-best result of seventh at the most recent race in Utah in August.
While Bennett will miss rounds four and five at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, he has set his sights on recovering in time for rounds six and seven at Glen Helen on December 9-10.
“I’m hoping to be fit and strong ready for the LA round in December,” he said. “I wish everyone in the Nitrocross series a good race weekend. I’ll be rooting for someone, yeah sad I can’t be there.”
Bennett has confirmed to RACER that XITE won’t be entering any car in the Phoenix event following his withdrawal. The team had already slimmed down its entry to a single car, with its second seat – occupied by World Rally Championship veteran Kris Meeke and U.S. rallycross title and event win record-holder Tanner Foust in the first three rounds of the season – already absent from the official entry list before Bennett pulled out.
Ed.: This story has been updated following confirmation of the team’s withdrawal from the event.