Following the completion of Bump Day today at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 33 starters in the Indianapolis 500 field will fan out across North America to promote next weekend’s big race.
You can expect to see a few of the big-name drivers make their way across morning television shows and major newspapers in the next couple of days. But the driver with perhaps the neatest perk in all of this is Schmidt Hamilton Motorsports’ Simon Pagenaud, who will be throwing out the first pitch in Milwaukee as the Brewers host the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park.
Ceremonial first pitches can be a tricky business, of course. Getting the ball over the plate would seem simple enough, but it’s not when you have tens of thousands of people watching you. And you certainly can’t chuck it into the dirt and make yourself look bad.
Luckily for the Frenchman, he was able to get a lesson from Panther Racing’s J.R. Hildebrand (pictured) — who recently threw out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers game while on promotion duties for the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit at Belle Isle Park (the next race following the “500”).
Long before he stepped into the cockpit of the No. 4 National Guard Chevrolet, Hildebrand — who is well-known for his allegiance to the San Francisco Giants — played varsity baseball in his high school years out in California, so he knows a thing or two about the grand old game. Check out the video above to see him give some baseball wisdom to IndyCar’s reigning rookie of the year.
Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto