Ken Roczen scores first career 450 Class Motocross win at Hangtown (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

After narrowly losing out on the win a week ago at Glen Helen, Ken Roczen would not give anyone the opportunity to steal it from him this time around. The Red Bull KTM rider swept both motos at Hangtown – recording his first career Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship victory in the 450 Class.

In the first moto of the day, Roczen started off in second but quickly passed his teammate Ryan Dungey for the lead on the opening lap and separated from the field, leading the rest of the way and winning by more than eight seconds.

Things got interesting in the second moto though. Roczen found himself trailing Brett Metcalfe and Justin Barcia after the first lap and had Dungey close behind him. Over the next ten minutes, the four riders were bunched together fairly tight as they battled amongst themselves. Roczen closed in on the leaders, and on Lap 5, he moved up from third to first in the span of about 30 seconds, passing Barcia and then Metcalfe to move into the lead.

Watch the three-way battle between Roczen, Barcia and Metcalfe here:

By virtue of his victory in both motos, Roczen earned the overall win at Hangtown and has surpassed Dungey in the 450MX point standings. Roczen will carry a five-point lead into next week’s round at Thunder Valley as he now begins a quest to defend the red plate signifying his points lead.

Trey Canard (3-4), James Stewart (5-3) and Justin Barcia (4-5) all recorded top-five finishes in both motos, with Canard getting the edge for the final spot on the overall podium after passing Barcia late in Moto 2. It was an improvement on last week for all three riders, but right now the Red Bull KTM duo of Roczen and Dungey has proven themselves to be at the head of the class.

Hangtown 450 Class Overall Results

1. Ken Roczen (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey (2-2)
3. Trey Canard (3-4)
4. James Stewart (5-3)
5. Justin Barcia (4-5)
6. Weston Peick (8-6)
7. Jake Weimer (7-8)
8. Brett Metcalfe (6-9)
9. Malcolm Stewart (10-7)
10. Chad Reed (11-12)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results listed in parenthesis

In the 250 Class, the riders must have been sensing a case of Groundhog’s Day. For the second week in a row, the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha duo of Jeremy Martin and Cooper Webb swept the top two spots in both motos.

Winning both of today’s motos by 19 seconds, Martin had another dominant day and remains undefeated on the season through two rounds. His teammate Webb has finished behind him in second place in all four of this year’s motos, as the rest of the 250MX field has no answer for the impressive youngsters right now.

Hangtown 250 Class Overall Results

1. Jeremy Martin (1-1)
2. Cooper Webb (2-2)
3. Christophe Pourcel (8-3)
4. Justin Hill (4-6)
5. Jessy Nelson (7-5)
6. Jason Anderson (10-4)
7. Marvin Musquin (9-7)
8. Zach Bell (5-12)
9. Matt Bisceglia (13-8)
10. Justin Bogle (3-35)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 results listed in parenthesis

For a full recap of every moto from Hangtown, watch the highlight video below.

Mercedes, Ferrari go conservative on Austrian GP tire picks

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Pirelli has confirmed all 20 Formula 1 drivers’ tire picks for next weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, with most opting to stack up on ultra-softs.

As it does for every grand prix, Pirelli will bring three compounds to Austria next week, electing for the softest possible combination of ultra-soft, super-soft and soft tires.

In the regular pre-race release of each driver’s tire picks, Pirelli revealed that Force India, McLaren and Red Bull have gone down the most aggressive routes, stacking up on the ultra-soft tire.

Title contenders Mercedes and Ferrari have gone down a more conservative route, favoring additional sets of the super-soft compound.

Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen will take seven sets of ultra-softs to Spielberg, while Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will have eight sets at their disposal through the weekend.

Graham Rahal survives Road America to finish eighth

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Graham Rahal and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing faced a roller coaster of a race during the Kohler Grand Prix at Road America on Sunday.

He was a rocket off the initial start, jumping from sixth on the grid up to fourth exiting turn 1, but was almost immediately ordered to surrender a position for blocking. He quickly slipped back to sixth, and then began plummeting down the order as he battled an oversteer condition that saw his car chew through its rear tires more quickly than others.

Forced to abandon the planned three-stop strategy, he and the No. 15 Gehl Honda team switched to a four-stop plan that saw him drop well outside the top ten at times.

However, they kept plugging away and rebounded nicely in the second half of the race to eventually finish in eighth. While he would have liked to finish higher up the order, Rahal knows that he and the team got everything they could out of it.

“The car was a handful today. I knew about five laps in that I didn’t have the pace for a three-stop strategy,” Rahal revealed post-race. “We tried as best we could to work with what we had during the race and overcome it. I would have obviously liked to have finished better, but eighth is about as good as we could do today. We struggled with a very loose race car all weekend and just couldn’t put a dent in the problem. We worked awfully hard but just missed it this weekend.”

The eighth-place finish keeps Rahal in the championship hunt. Rahal now sits seventh in the standings, 11 points behind fifth-place Josef Newgarden and 72 behind championship leader Scott Dixon.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Ed Jones continues steady run with seventh at Road America

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Dale Coyne Racing’s Ed Jones has made waves in the 2017 Verizon IndyCar Series season with a string of solid performances that belie his rookie status.

And Sunday’s Kohler Grand Prix at Road America was no different.

The 22-year-old battled an oversteering car most of the weekend at Road America, and had to navigate a little carnage late in the race as Alexander Rossi and Ryan Hunter-Reay both fell through the field with front wing problems.

However, Jones weathered all storms to finish an impressive seventh, his fifth finish inside the top 10 this year, and his best finish since his third place at the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade MotorOil.

“It was a really tough race,” Jones said of the effort. “We had a loose car yesterday. It was loose, but fast, for qualifying, and today again the car was really loose. I was hanging on the whole race, but the team had some good pit stops and we were able to move up.

“Obviously, the strategy was pretty similar to everyone else. Everyone was aggressive out there. It was hard racing but we came out with a seventh place and we moved up a little bit in the points.”

The seventh-place run sees Jones maintain his position in the top ten in the championship. He currently sits tenth in the standings, three points ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s Max Chilton.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Vilander replaces Bird at AF Corse for Nurburgring WEC round

AF Corse
Leave a comment

AF Corse has confirmed that Toni Vilander will race the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE in next month’s FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Nürburgring in place of Sam Bird, who is tied up with Formula E commitments in New York.

Vilander currently races full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with Risi Competizione, and appeared at the 24 Hours of Le Mans two weeks ago.

The Finn won the WEC GT drivers’ title in 2014 and last raced full-time in the series in 2015, but will return at the Nürburgring in place of Bird, who confirmed on Monday that he would be prioritizing his Formula E commitments on the July 16 weekend.

Vilander is relishing the opportunity to race alongside Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari, and is eager to bounce back from an early retirement at Le Mans.

“I’m happy to be able to return to the FIA WEC with the 488 GTE of AF Corse team. This is my chance to cancel the disappointment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as possible,” Vilander said.

“Car number 71 is in the top places of the championship standings, and I will give all I have to achieve the best possible result at Nürburgring, to help Ferrari in the manufacturers’ championship and Davide Rigon in the drivers’ ranking.”