Supercross: Dungey, Musquin make it three in a row with Indianapolis wins

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The Red Bull KTM team continued their recent domination of Monster Energy Supercross on Saturday night, with Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin both winning their respective classes at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It’s the third week in a row the duo has successfully completed the sweep.

In the 450 Class main event, Dungey grabbed the lead on the opening lap and held on for a wire-to-wire victory. With his fifth win of the season, Dungey extended his points lead to 45 and has all the momentum right now.

A second-place finish from Cole Seely vaulted the 450SX rookie from seventh to fourth in the point standings. His American Honda teammate, Trey Canard, finished behind him in third but still faces a tough challenge to try to catch Dungey for the championship lead over the final six rounds.

It was a similar story in the 250 Class, as Marvin Musquin led all 15 laps of the main event to lock up his fourth win in five races. The Frenchman did it in dominant fashion, finishing 22 seconds ahead of the rest of the field by the time the checkered flag came out.

With another second-place result, Justin Bogle kept himself in title contention but will need to make up a 16-point deficit during the final three rounds of the 250SX East Region series. Although they didn’t get the win, it was a strong night for GEICO Honda overall, as Bogle’s rookie teammates – RJ Hampshire and Jordon Smith – finished third and fourth, respectively.

The big shocker in the 250 Class was Jeremy Martin failing to qualify for the main event. Last summer’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX champion was forced to go through the LCQ to qualify, but a crash during the race resulted in him missing the cut and will likely cost him a shot at the title.

Monster Energy Supercross resumes next Saturday at Ford Field in Detroit.

Indianapolis 450SX Results
1. Ryan Dungey
2. Cole Seely (-3.9 seconds)
3. Trey Canard
4. Weston Peick
5. Davi Millsaps

450SX Point Standings (after 11 of 17 races)
1. Ryan Dungey, 249
2. Trey Canard, 204
3. Eli Tomac, 169
4. Cole Seely, 160
5. Ken Roczen, 156

Indianapolis 250SX Results
1. Marvin Musquin
2. Justin Bogle (-22.3 seconds)
3. RJ Hampshire
4. Jordon Smith
5. Kyle Cunningham

250SX East Point Standings (after 5 of 8 races)
1. Marvin Musquin, 122
2. Justin Bogle, 106
3. Jeremy Martin, 85
4. RJ Hampshire, 74
5. Joey Savatgy, 73

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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