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

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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.

Coyne transitioning from underdog to Indy 500 threat

Photo: IndyCar
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For most of the team’s existence, Dale Coyne Racing has been the Chicago Cubs of American Open Wheel Racing – a team whose history was more defined by failures, at times comically so, than success.

The last decade, however, has seen the tide completely change. In 2007, they scored three podium finishes with Bruno Junqueira. In 2009, they won at Watkins Glen with the late Justin Wilson.

The combination won again at Texas Motor Speedway in 2012, and finished sixth in the 2013 Verizon IndyCar Series championship. That same year, Mike Conway took a shock win for them in Race 1 at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit.

Carlos Huertas scored an upset win for them in Race 1 at the Houston double-header in 2014, and while 2015 and 2016 yielded no wins, Tristan Vautier and Conor Daly gave them several strong runs – Vautier’s best finish was fourth in Race 2 at Detroit, while Daly finished second in Race 1 at Detroit, finished fourth at Watkins Glen, and scored a trio of sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course, Race 2 at Detroit, and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

And 2017 was set to possibly be the best year the team has ever had. Sebastien Bourdais gave the team a popular win in the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and then rookie Ed Jones scored back-to-back top tens – 10th and sixth – at St. Pete and the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach to start his career.

But, things started unraveling at the Indianapolis 500. Bourdais appeared set to be in the Fast Nine Pole Shootout during his first qualifying run – both of his first two laps were above 231 mph –  before his horrifying crash in Turn 2.

While Jones qualified an impressive 11th and finished an even more impressive third, results for the rest of the season became hard to come by – Jones only scored two more Top 10s, with a best result of seventh at Road America.

But, retooled for 2018, the Coyne team is a legitimate threat at the 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500.

Bourdais, whose No. 18 Honda features new sponsorship from SealMaster and now ownership partners in Jimmy Vasser and James “Sulli” Sullivan, has a win already, again at St. Pete, and sits third in the championship.

And Bourdais may also be Honda’s best hope, given that he was the fastest Honda in qualifying – he’ll start fifth behind Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Will Power, and Josef Newgarden.

“I think it speaks volumes about their work, their passion and their dedication to this program, Dale (Coyne), Jimmy (Vasser) and Sulli (James Sullivan) and everybody from top to bottom. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunity, for the support,” Bourdais said of the team’s effort.

Rookie Zachary Claman De Melo has been progressing nicely, and his Month of May has been very solid – he finished 12th at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course and qualified a strong 13th for the “500.”

“It’s been surreal to be here as rookie. I’m a bit at a loss for words,” Claman De Melo revealed after qualifying. “The fans, driving around this place, being with the team, everything is amazing. I have a great engineer, a great group of experienced mechanics at Dale Coyne Racing.”

While Conor Daly and Pippa Mann struggled in one-off entries, with Mann getting bumped out of the field in Saturday qualifying, Daly’s entry essentially puts three Coyne cars in the race – Daly’s No. 17 United States Air Force Honda is a Dale Coyne car that has been leased to Thom Burns Racing.

Rest assured, the days of Coyne being an “also ran” are long gone, and a Coyne car ending up in Victory Lane at the biggest race of the year would complete the Chicago Cubs analogy – the Cubs won a World Series title in 2016, and an Indy 500 triumph would be the crowning achievement in Coyne’s career.

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