McConnell off to flying startFriday, October 15, 2021
BY RORY DALEY
Jamaican rallycross driver Fraser McConnell has a fast start to his current attempt at glory in the North American rallycross circuit after two rounds of the Nitro Rallycross (NitroRX) series. He sits fifth in the overall championship.
“We're very much in the championship fight. We're fifth in the championship standings, but less than 20 points to first place and you're able to get 50 points in the finals, so it's anybody's game to win right now,” McConnell told the Jamaica Observer's Auto magazine.
The first round took place at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Salt Lake City, Utah, on September 25 where McConnell garnered a fourth-place finish just behind the big hitters in the sport such as Scott Speed, Travis Pastrana, and his European rivals, brothers Kevin and Timmy Hansen. He was able to retain a similar result at round two in Minnesota on October 3, taking fifth, for a combined overall points total that sits him fifth in the championship leaderboard.
“We've have string pace for the last two events, showing great racecraft making sure everyone is seeing that black, green and gold race car in front of them. We're still with that vision and mentality to bring home the trophy.”
McConnell's return to the Unites States comes as the Nitro Rallycross series tries to restart the genre in North American as unceremoniously it came to grinding halt in 2019 with American-based Global Rallycross promoter closing its doors. He ended that year with his highest success as American RX2 champion. He then made the move to the World Rallycross series in Europe where he finished fourth before the novel coronavirus pandemic halted international motorsports. McConnell announced he'd be one of the drivers in the inaugural all-electric RX2e Championship in 2021, competing there before moving back stateside for NitroRX. His reason, exposure, as the five-event series has a TV package like no other.
“Nitro has a different racing format to traditional European rallycross. It's a lot more head-to-head racing, so instead of the regular Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4, we have battle brackets which is two cars head-to-head and the winner advancing to the supercar final. It makes for great TV. The fans enjoy it because there's a clear winner and clear loser,” explained McConnell.
He added that there is further difficulty in the circuits themselves, Utah Motorsports Campus features an optional 120ft gap jump and banked corners. McConnell explained that his success there came from a combination of team knowledge and his motocross background.
“The tracks themselves demand very different, kind of crazy driving, which again makes for great TV.”
So far he's been enjoying the series.
“NitroRX is allowing the drivers to show their personalities and their racecraft on track in many different ways which is really amazing. And the TV package is so robust it's getting to so many eyes and different countries, which is going to really help rallycross get the attention that it deserves. For me it's the future of motorsports.”
McConnell is getting ready for round three, next month at the Wild Horse Motorsports Park, Phoenix, Arizona.