Jakes shakes off cobwebs in first RLL test

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James Jakes had his first day of running for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing on Wednesday at Barber Motorsports Park.

The Englishman spent two seasons with Dale Coyne Racing and waited an extra day to make his debut at RLL aboard the team’s No. 16 Acorn Stairlifts Dallara-Honda.

“It was nice to get back in the car,” he said. “I haven’t driven since September of last year so today was a case of dusting off the cobwebs and learning how everyone works at the team. Mike did a great job with the car on the first day.”

The aforementioned “Mike” is Mike Conway, who ran on Tuesday and ended the day fourth quick at 1:08.1584. Jakes went quicker, as all drivers did on Wednesday, to clock in at 1:07.8912. That time was 11th quickest overall for the week.

“It was pretty easy to drive really and you can’t ask for much more,” said Jakes, who will worth with engineer Eddie Jones. “It was a positive day and we will just keep working and hopefully we can carry on the momentum to St. Pete. Obviously Graham (Rahal) had a bad day but we managed to get a lot of work done so hopefully he can look at that and we can get both cars to the sharp end of the grid in St. Petersburg.”

Jakes has one of the least distinguished resumes on the IndyCar grid this season, but that said, Bobby Rahal’s team has had a history of polishing rough diamonds and turning them into potential race winners. Jakes could draw inspiration from Michel Jourdain Jr., who won twice for Rahal in the 2003 CART series, and finished third in the championship. He’d had only one top five finish through the first six seasons of his career.

 

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.