Malcolm Stewart records first career 250SX win at Oakland Supercross

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Just a few months ago, Malcolm Stewart looked like he might enter the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross season without a ride. Saturday night, he rewarded the team that took a chance on him with the first 250 Class win of his Supercross career.

After getting a good start in the main event, Stewart worked his way into the lead on Lap 3 by making a pass on rookie rider Chris Alldredge. Stewart was soon overtaken by Red Bull KTM’s Justin Hill for the top spot though, and Hill looked to be on the way to victory until he had a huge crash while going through the sand section midway through the race. The mistake allowed Stewart to reassume the lead, and despite feeling the heat from both Alex Martin and Cooper Webb at times, Stewart led the final eight laps to record the victory.

It’s been an eventful offseason for Stewart. He was the odd man out in the initial silly season shuffle, and without a team signing him to a contract, he purchased his old Honda from the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil team and was preparing to enter the season as a privateer until the GEICO Honda squad stepped in and gave him a ride for 2015.

There was also the controversy surrounding his brother, James Stewart – one of the most prolific racers in the history of the sport. James was suspended by the FIM for the 2015 season after testing positive for Adderall. On the podium, Malcolm made clear that the victory was bittersweet without his brother being at the race.

Cooper Webb – the points leader in the 250 Class – turned in another impressive ride, although he once again had to work his way through the pack after crossing the line in 10th after the first lap of the race.

There’s been no lack of drama this year, and one of the biggest stories has been the aggressive last-lap pass that Webb made on Tyler Bowers last week to steal the win at Anaheim. Early in the race at Oakland, the two riders were matched up once again. With Webb riding in front of Bowers, Bowers ran into Webb as Webb checked up rounding a turn, and Bowers’ elbow made contact with Webb, knocking the Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider to the ground.

Webb remounted outside the top ten but put his impressive speed on display as he charged through the field all the way up to second place. During the charge, he ended up getting back around Bowers with a clean pass.

Unlike last week, things weren’t so amicable between the two training partners after the race.

Never one to shy away from saying what’s on his mind, Webb let it be known that he was unhappy with Bowers’ move and hinted that “payback” could be coming in the future.

Bowers tweeted that the takeout was unintentional, saying that he didn’t expect Webb to stop in front of him the way he did.

Webb still holds the points lead, but Bowers sits just eight points back in second, setting up even more drama for the second half of the 250SX West Region season.

Behind Stewart and Webb, the podium was rounded out by Alex Martin, whose third-place finish was a new career best.

Oakland 250SX Results
1. Malcolm Stewart
2. Cooper Webb (-1.4 seconds)
3. Alex Martin
4. Tyler Bowers
5. Zach Bell

250SX West Point Standings
1. Cooper Webb, 86
2. Tyler Bowers, 78
3. Jessy Nelson, 71
4. Zach Osborne, 69
5. Justin Hill, 65

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.”