NASCAR and Nitrocross working toward an ‘alliance’

Dana White set tongues wagging earlier this week when he let spill on the Flagrant podcast that plans were afoot to partner Nitrocross – Travis Pastrana’s rallycross-like series which White is a major investor in, and is headlined by the all-electric “Group E” category – with NASCAR.

“I’m flying to NASCAR and we’re doing a deal with NASCAR,” White stated. “We’re going to be the electric series for NASCAR. We’re working on that deal right now.”


RACER can confirm that talks between both sides have been ongoing for several months, but while initial reactions immediately assumed Nitrocross would be a NASCAR-branded electric series, or that the team behind Nitrocross would be about to put together an all-new series, it turns out neither will be the case.


Speaking to RACER on Friday, the championship’s general manager Chip Pankow confirmed the talks by saying, “Is Nitrocross talking to NASCAR? yes. We’re absolutely talking to NASCAR,” but stressed that it would be an “alliance” between both sides, which will remain standing alone in their own right.

“A friendly alliance is what we’re looking to do,” he said. “We’ll always stand on our own.

“We’d like to have a relationship with them. What that looks like, we don’t know, but we’re having a lot of talks and trying to understand what that could look like.”

The move will allow NASCAR to dip its toes in the electric space, without having its own standalone all-electric series, much like how it has involvement in sports car racing through its IMSA ownership, although conversely, the partnership with Nitrocross would not involve any ownership or rebranding.

Speaking to RACER before Friday evening’s super special stage at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally in Chillicothe, Ohio Pastrana added his take on how much is going into the alliance.

“A lot,” he said, not giving away much. “[White] wasn’t supposed to [talk about it] either, but he likes to talk before anything’s out there.”

He did open up a bit when pressed about when we might hear more.

“Hopefully really soon,” Pastrana said. “Ben Kennedy (NASCAR’s director of Racing Development and Strategy), all the guys…they’re definitely looking into seeing how they can bring in a younger audience, make electric cool, and what they can do with the manufacturers, and Dana’s got some answers for them.”

While a prospective alliance between both parties has been long in the making, the first fruits of it will be seen later this year when Nitrocross’ 2024-25 season begins at the NASCAR-owned Richmond Raceway on September 7-8.

A number of NASCAR drivers have sampled Nitrocross already, too. Kyle Busch and Chase Elliott raced in the 2021 season when its top class still ran to an internal combustion “Supercar” format. Elliott returned for a guest appearance in Group E in 2022, along with Austin Cindric, while Joey Logano has also sampled the FC1-X raced in Group E in a brief test.

Three-time Truck series champion Matt Crafton also raced in the championship’s side-by-side category at the 2023-24 season finale in Las Vegas – an event that was attended by multiple NASCAR drivers as onlookers, including reigning Cup series champion Ryan Blaney.

Story originally appeared on Racer