McConnell keeps in Nitrocross title hunt with Vegas victory

Championship outsider Fraser McConnell kept himself in the hunt for the Nitrocross title with a dominant victory in the penultimate round of the season in Las Vegas.

With overtaking difficult on the tight track constructed at Planet Hollywood on the Strip, the Dreyer & Reinbold JC driver needed to make his start in the six-lap final count – and he duly did, launching into an early lead.

Polesitter Oliver Eriksson retaliated in the first heavy braking zone however, retaking the lead up the inside of the banked dirt turn, but his time at the front would be a short-lived as he got tagged by McConnell just after the joker merge two turns later, contact that would send him into the wall and leave him at the mercy of Robin Larsson.


Larsson, though, had his own issue to deal with, brewing hounded by Timmy Hansen, who was making his first Nitrocross appearance since 2021. Hansen was faster than the points leader, but couldn’t find a way past, and couldn’t dive into the joker for clean air either as that would have left him open to attack from Andreas Bakkerud who had taken the alternate route on his first pass through.

That battle allowed McConnell to take off in front, while Hansen and Larsson took their respective jokers on lap three and four, the alternating strategies not changing the order, however.

McConnell – who signed a contract extension with DRR this week, keeping him with the team for the 2024-25 season – ultimately crossed the line 3.76s ahead of Larsson who held off Hansen right to the line, both crossing it alongside one another.

Guillaume de Ridder finished fourth on his Nitrocross debut, six seconds off McConnell, with Travis Pastrana and Bakkerud the remaining finishers.

Kevin Eriksson was classified seventh after retiring at the halfway point following a first lap spin, while his brother and OMSE teammate Oliver Eriksson also retired following his own lap 1 incident.


Four drivers failed to make the final, with series debutant Patrick O’Donovan and Viktor Vranckx being eliminated from the first Last Chance Qualifier, while Conner Martell and Oliver Bennett failed to advance from the second.

O’Donovan and Vranckx came together at the Joker split on the opening lap of their LCQ, with the latter ending up in the wall, necessitating a red flag and a trip to a local hospital for checks. When that race restarted, O’Donovan was off the pace as a result of damage sustained in the clash.

In the other LCQ, Martell had a tense fight with Vermont SportsCar teammate Pastrana throughout the contest, with the 2021 champion ultimately prevailing.

Before nightfall, Oliver Eriksson had been quickest in the opening practice session, and won both his heat race, the Top Qualifier race, and his semifinal, with McConnell won the other semi, having started his day with a seeding heat win as well, but fourth in the Top Qualifier race.


Casper Jansson extended is record winning run in NItrocross NEXT. Qnigan/Nitrocross

In Nitrocross NEXT, Casper Jansson won a record-extending seventh race in a row, beating Lane Vacala and series newcomers Elias Sevenson and Ellis Spiezia.

Pastrana took his third win in the last four races in Side-by-Sides, leading home Tyler Remmereid and Gray Leadbetter, whom he recently shared the Legacy Motor Club car in Extreme E with.Teenager Kainan Baker dominated in the open SxS PRO invitational class, winning ahead of Kory Willis and Remmereid, who like Baker was pulling double duty in both SxS class.

Ryan Rodriguez won in the Baja Bugs category, leading home Blake Wilkey and Jim York.

Story originally appeared on Racer