IndyCar confirms Boston race for 2016

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Verizon IndyCar Series has confirmed the report out Wednesday that the series will race in Boston in 2016.

It is not necessarily going to be the season finale, as Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said that will be determined when the full 2016 schedule is released.

Miles said the agreement with the city runs through 2020.

The full release from INDYCAR is below.

INDYCAR announced today that it will race in the South Boston Waterfront on Labor Day weekend during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The Grand Prix of Boston will feature an 11-turn, 2.25-mile temporary street course that surrounds the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The event marks the first time INDYCAR has raced in the Boston area, a key northeast market for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

“The level of enthusiasm we have received from the Boston community has been phenomenal and we look forward to showcasing the Verizon IndyCar Series on Labor Day weekend in 2016,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “There has been a tremendous amount of work from community leaders and Grand Prix of Boston officials and those efforts led to this key addition to our 2016 calendar. We’re thankful to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Grand Prix of Boston CEO Mark Perrone and many other supporters who were instrumental in making today’s announcement possible. Establishing INDYCAR racing in the northeast is an integral part of our strategy for growing our national fan base.”

“This is an exciting time in Boston and as we explore new ways to grow and attract visitors here, we’re engaging in strong dialogue with organizations like the Grand Prix of Boston,” said Mayor Walsh. “This event has great potential to bring an influx of tourism and support our local businesses during what is traditionally a challenging holiday weekend for hospitality. I’m excited to begin this process and hear from our residents and business owners as we move forward.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series offers the most diverse array of venues in motorsports, racing on temporary street circuits, permanent road courses, short ovals and superspeedways. Other integral street-course events on the schedule include the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg (Fla.), Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (Calif.), Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and Honda Indy Toronto.

“We’re excited to bring this event to the world-class city of Boston,” said Perrone. “From the initial concept, and every step of the way, Mayor Walsh and his leadership have shown an incredible enthusiasm and openness in exploring this new concept, and we’re looking forward to continuing this engagement with the community.”

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit

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Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.