Dana White at NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

Dana White at NASCAR race in Las Vegas.


Dana White at Las Vegas NASCAR race.

NASCAR officials have talked about the possibility of going into the electric space for years. An electric car exhibition was scheduled before the official start of the 2024 season at the Clash in the Coliseum, but the historic weather conditions altered those plans. The subject has been relatively quiet since.

However, the topic quickly reemerged and appeared in headlines following the unexpected remarks of UFC CEO Dana White during his June 5 appearance on the Flagrant podcast.

“We own Nitro Circus and we own Travis Pastrana’s Nitrocross, which is electric car racing,” White said. “After 4th of July — I do 4th of July at my house in Maine — I’m flying to NASCAR and we’re doing a deal with NASCAR. We’re going to be the electric series for NASCAR. We’re working on that deal right now.”

NASCAR and Travis Pastrana Respond to Comments

White’s comments were the first anyone had publicly mentioned the possible pairing between the two racing entities. Nitrocross General Manager Chip Pankow confirmed the talks to Racer.com.

“Is Nitrocross talking to NASCAR? Yes,” he admitted. “We’re absolutely talking to NASCAR. A friendly alliance is what we’re looking to do. 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.”

NASCAR and Nitrocross working toward an ‘alliance’ –
After Dana White set the internet on fire with talk of “NASCAR” and “electric,” the RACER team caught up with Nitrocross officials to get to the skinny on what’s really going on behind the scenes.

A NASCAR representative also confirmed that officials have had conversations with Dana White on a variety of topics, but didn’t provide specific details on what had been discussed.

Travis Pastrana shared his thoughts on the alliance and White’s remarks with Racer.com.  

“[White] wasn’t supposed to [talk about it] either, but he likes to talk before anything’s out there,” 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.”

Links Already Exist Between NASCAR and Nitrocross

Travis Pastrana being linked with NASCAR isn’t surprising to fans who’ve followed his career across a variety of motorsports through the years. He’s raced in various levels of NASCAR, including running a full-time season with the Xfinity Series in 2013. A decade later, he piloted the No. 67 car for 23XI Racing in the Daytona 500 and impressively finished 11th.

In addition to Pastrana competing in NASCAR, multiple NASCAR drivers have crossed over and raced in Nitrocross, including a pair of champions in Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch in 2021. The Hendrick Motorsports driver returned to compete in 2022.

And yet another indication of a growing relationship between the two racing series is something that will happen in the future at the start of the 2024-25 Nitrocross season in September when cars take to the track at the NASCAR-owned Richmond Raceway.

While it’s easy to understand how many were surprised by White’s casual remarks on a podcast, a little closer look reveals that there is already a synergy between NASCAR and Nitrocross. The proposed alliance will further that connection and who knows where it might lead.

Wherever it goes, you can be sure White will be more than willing to talk about it.

Kyle Dalton covers NASCAR for Heavy.com. He has more than 30 years of experience covering high school, college and professional sports, including stories for the Austin American-Statesman, San Antonio-Express News, Detroit News and Sportscasting.com. More about Kyle Dalton

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