Power, Pagenaud laugh off last year’s Long Beach contact in post-practice press conference

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LONG BEACH, Calif. – With a 1-2 result in Friday’s second practice ahead of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Round 3 of the Verizon IndyCar Series, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud headed into the media center to address the media.

As the conversation went on, humor followed as last year’s rivals and this year’s Team Penske teammates headed towards a discussion about last year’s contact here between the two of them at Turn 6.

It involved aero kit discussion and the removal of Chevrolet’s “rabbit ear” portion on the front wing assembly. Of the decision Power said, “It’s no big deal, so let’s not make it one.”

With Graham Rahal as the Honda-powered intermediary in the discussion, here’s a quick recap on the back-and-forth, and how drivers could make passing attempts into Turn 6.

Power: “Into (Turn) 6 is a good one… if you just nudge them a bit…”
Rahal: “Power’s good at that.”
Power: “You just put them in the tires and keep going.”
Pagenaud: “Just put your right front wheel to the left rear…”
Rahal: “Sounds like we have an inter-team rivalry here.”

Good news? The teammates are laughing it off, and it made for an entertaining press conference.

But if they qualify 1-2 on Saturday? We’ll see what happens from there.

Supercross: Husqvarna’s Jalek Swoll and Malcolm Stewart out with injury

Swoll Stewart injury
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Jalek Swoll and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Malcolm Stewart sustained injury in separate crashes late last week. Stewart missed Anaheim 2 and Swoll will not mount up for the 250 East season opener in Houston on February 4.

“Spent all of yesterday in the ER and today getting surgery so haven’t been able to make an update post,” Swoll posted on Instagram. “Spiral fractured my humorous yesterday and was lucky enough to get into surgery today. Absolutely heartbroken that I couldn’t show all the hard work me, [Mike Brown], [Aldon Baker], and [Joel Perez] were working on truly felt like this year was going to a big one with massive improvements we made but I guess it just wasn’t my time.”

The team announced on Instagram that Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken bone in his arm, sustained in a practice crash on Friday. After missing the division opener, no further timeline has been given for his return.

Swoll made eight starts in the 250 West division last season with a best finish of fifth. In 2021, he scored his first SuperMotocross win in the outdoor Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Stewart missed Anaheim 2 due to a practice injury. Likewise, the team did not announce a timetable for Stewart’s return.

He showed a lot of speed in the first two rounds before accidents eliminated him from contention in both rounds. He finished 16th at Anaheim 1 and 15th in San Diego, putting him in a points’ deficit that was already going to be difficult to overcome.

Stewart entered the 2023 season with a ton of confidence and believed all he needed was to stack his chips the right way to get this year’s championship.

Husqvarna is now represented by RJ Hampshire in the 250 West division and Christian Craig in 450s.

Hampshire had a rough weekend in Anaheim 2 and finished 11th in the overall standings after scoring a last place result in Race 2 with a bike sidelined by crash damage and a 13th in Race 3 after another fall.

Craig has not yet scored a top-10 on his 450 with a best of 11th at San Diego and Anaheim 2.

The news of these two injuries comes on the heels of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team losing three of their four 250 riders.

Last week, Pro Circuit Kawasaki announced Seth Hammaker would miss the season opener with a wrist injury. Almost immediately, it was announced Jo Shimoda would also miss the 250 East opener with a shoulder injury.

Chris Blose will serve as a replacement rider in the 250 East division with Carson Mumford scheduled to replace the injured Austin Forkner in the West.