Eli Tomac captures first career Supercross victory in Phoenix

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Eli Tomac bounced back from a disappointing performance in last week’s season opener to claim the first 450 Class Supercross win of his career Saturday night in Phoenix.

It was a hard-fought battle for the win. The fastest rider in practice, Tomac grabbed the holeshot off the start of the main event but was soon passed by Ken Roczen on the opening lap. Roczen led the first seven laps of the race, then Tomac closed in, and after some spectacular back-and-forth racing between the two, Tomac finally made a pass stick and held on to lead the final 13 laps.

The win was a much-needed one for the GEICO Honda rider, who dug himself a giant hole in the point standings last week after several crashes relegated him to a 20th-place finish.

Roczen finished second in Phoenix after his victory last week, and it looks like Tomac vs. Roczen could be a common theme throughout the season, as the two riders were the clear frontrunners in this race.

Ryan Dungey secured the final spot on the podium after passing Weston Peick for third with three laps to go.

The 250 Class also featured a first-time winner, as Cooper Webb passed Malcolm Stewart on Lap 5 en route to victory. Stewart held on for second, and Jessy Nelson rounded out the podium to retain possession of the points lead.

Phoenix 450SX Results
1. Eli Tomac
2. Ken Roczen (-6.4 seconds)
3. Ryan Dungey
4. Weston Peick
5. Davi Millsaps

450SX Points Standings
1. Ken Roczen, 47
2. Ryan Dungey, 38
3. Jason Anderson, 37
4. Trey Canard, 33
5. Weston Peick, 32

Phoenix 250SX Results
1. Cooper Webb
2. Malcolm Stewart (-5.4 seconds)
3. Jessy Nelson
4. Tyler Bowers
5. Aaron Plessinger

250SX Points Standings
1. Jessy Nelson, 45
2. Cooper Webb, 39
3. Tyler Bowers, 38
4. Zach Osborne, 36
5. Justin Hill, 33

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
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As his season gathers steam, Helio Castroneves said his prospects for finding new rides for 2021 in IMSA and IndyCar also are gaining momentum.

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner said Monday he is optimistic about landing in either or perhaps a combination of both series when Team Penske and Acura end their DPi partnership after this season.

“A lot of people I spoke with, four to five teams, are interested,” Castroneves said. “Whether it’s doing Indy 500 only, whether it’s pushing to do full time or do the sports cars as well. It’s been a very nice conversation.

LOOKING AHEADTeam Penske drivers seeking new rides for 2021

“I have a lot of respect for all the teams that have been talking, and I feel the same feedback. We just have to wait for their (sponsor) connections, and I’m also looking for some connections on my side as well, so hopefully we’ll be able to put this together and get something very soon.”

Given two decades of success with Penske in IndyCar and IMSA, Castroneves’ resume hardly needs burnishing. But the Brazilian has combined with co-driver Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura DPi to win the past two overall victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

But Castroneves, who doesn’t have a manager, said he has been working the phones hard rather than wait for the strong results to bring in the calls.

“At this point, I feel like I’m the one who needs to be talking to them because people need to know I want to continue racing and understand my desire,” Castroneves, 45, said. “There is opportunity, no question, in both (IndyCar and IMSA), which I’m really happy about it. However, because of the COVID-19, a lot of things sometimes have to be a little delayed. But I’m excited. Whatever the opportunity and whatever destiny guides me, whether IndyCar or sports cars, trust me I’ll be as happy as it could be and doing my 100 percent like I always did.

“It’s like politics, you need to be out there, good news or bad news. People have to make notice of your presence. I’m hustling. I want to continue to keep it going. Hopefully, we’ll have good news very soon.”

The news has been all good lately on track for Castroneves and Taylor, who hope to continue their run Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The No. 6 duo has surged to sixth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 10 points out of the lead with four races remaining. After thinking there was “no hope” to be competitive after opening the season with three consecutive poor finishes, Taylor now sees an opportunity for a happy ending.

“With the program going away, Helio has won all the big races and given so much back to the team and left such a mark, he’s really part of Penske history,” Taylor said. “For me, it’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of it. I’d like to leave my little mark as well. Helio has won everything except for a championship.

“Obviously, we’ve won races already together, but we can win a championship now. I think if both of us can do that together and both win our first championship for ‘The Captain,’ that would be an absolute dream come true, and we can tie a bow on it and be happy.”