Patrick Gruszka’s Nitrocross Utah Experience

September 1, 2023Joe Moore

ARA star Patrick Gruszka made his NRX Next debut at the Nitrocross Utah event earlier this month. Find out more about his experience below. 

How Did Gruszka Do?

Patrick Gruszka finished third in both NRX Next finals beating out fellow American Rally Association driver Lia Block to take the position on both days. This is a better result than what Gruszka was expecting as he had very limited time in the car before the event. With the Green APU team getting the car just 2 days before it had to go on the trail for Utah. They also had to repair the car’s roll cage as it was bent. 

What Was Gruszka’s Favourite Part Of The Weekend?

The fans were Gruszka’s favourite part of the weekend. Gruszka comes from a rally background, in which it’s hard to see how many fans are actually in attendance for the event. As they are often scattered along the stages, and driving a car at 80+ mph requires lots of focus. Rallycross is a different atmosphere. As all the fans are in the grandstands for the most part allowing the drivers to see all of them. 

Why Did Gruszka Want To Do Nitrocross?

Gruszka said doing Nitrocross was a no-brainer for him. He wanted to do Oklahoma but he couldn’t get a car in time to do the event. Pushing his debut back to Utah. He was interested and excited about a new format of racing for him. 

Was Skipping A Round Of The ARA An Easy Decision?

Gruszka and his team decided they could skip the Ojibwe Forests Rally due to him having enough points in both the Overall championship and the RC2 championship. If Gruszka competed at Ojibwe he would’ve competed in an event three consecutive weekends. Competing at a Porsche event, then Nitrocross Utah and finally Ojibwe Forests Rally. The decision was also made because the team didn’t have much time to reprep his Hyundai i20 and because the team had some concerns. The concerns stem from the incident at the New England Forest Rally that resulted in a fatality. The team’s concerns were to do with the championship and what was being done after the incident at NEFR. 

Was He Happy With His Nitrocross Debut?

Yes, he was, Gruszka came into the event with the mindset of wanting to learn the car. As previously mentioned he didn’t have much testing time with the car before the event. It was also a change for him to go from his turbocharged Hyundai rally car to a naturally aspirated rear-engined car. 

Does Gruszka Want To Do More Nitrocross Events?

Yes, he plans on doing the round in Phoenix in November and every round after that. It just relies on the budget.