WATCH LIVE: Eli Tomac defends Lucas Oil Pro Motocross points lead at Glen Helen

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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship is in the epicenter of the sport this weekend – Southern California. Glen Helen – a track known for challenging riders with its steep hills – will be the site of the second round of the series.

Live coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with the pre-race show streaming live online on NBC Sports Live Extra and ProMotocross.com. First motos in both classes get underway at 5 p.m. ET, with second motos to follow at 7 p.m. ET. All motos will be streamed live online, and second motos will also air live on NBCSN at 7 p.m. ET.

Last week in the 450 Class, Eli Tomac had a win of historic proportions. His one-minute, 31-second victory in the second moto was the largest margin of victory in the premier class since Ricky Carmichael lapped the field in 2006. Things can change quickly though – Ryan Dungey and the rest of the field have had another week to get their bikes dialed in, and they’re anxious to prove that Tomac won’t repeat his feat.

“His performance was great by all means,” Dungey said at last week’s post-race press conference. “But I also believe – not in a cocky way – that he’s at his best – him, the bike. I see a lot of improvement on our side still yet to come. I definitely have a lot more than we showed today.”

Also in the picture is Ken Roczen, the defending champion of the 450 Class. The RCH Suzuki rider was hampered by a back injury last weekend, but he is feeling much better this week, and it’s showing out on the track. He ended today’s practice as the top qualifier in the premier class.

In the 250 Class, a deep field of title contenders is now thinning out. Justin Bogle (shoulder) and Cooper Webb (ankle) are both out of today’s race after suffering injuries last week at Hangtown. The stage looks to be set for a season-long showdown between Jeremy Martin and Marvin Musquin, the two riders who currently share the points lead entering today’s race.

Glen Helen was the site of Martin’s breakout ride last season – the first of many wins on his way to a championship. The Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was the fastest qualifier in practice this morning and will be looking to turn that into his second straight race win.

Robert Wickens in the Indy 500? Bryan Herta making plans to field a car for next year

Robert Wickens Indy 500
Brett Farmer/LAT Images/IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indy 500 as early as 2024 – a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He’s worked as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team since, but last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races (including the season opener at Daytona) driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that is fitted for Wickens to race strictly through hand controls. Herta said Thursday that perfecting that technology for an Indy car in the biggest race in the world has slowed the project he’s determined to do with Wickens.

‘I’M AS HUNGRY AS EVER’: Robert Wickens’ return to racing

“I’d love to take Robbie back to Indy because I know he could do that, and I think that would be a next step for him in his journey,” Herta told The Associated Press. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the logistical side of things, hand controls, and I think we have solutions for that.”

Herta said Honda has been supportive of the process, which Herta called “one of the most important things we’ve done in racing” last year.

“We actually looked at doing it this year, but the logistics of it, the timing, it just wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “That’s not something you can rush. There’s some things that we have to work very closely with IndyCar on, and things we just have to get right. It’s a process, but I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when told his boss was openly discussing the Indy 500, grinned widely. Herta as a team owner won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be fun,” he said of running the Indy 500.

But like Herta, Wickens said the effort has to be both done correctly and be competitive.

“We’d like to do it right. If we started right now, can we get a car ready for the open test in April? Probably,” Wickens told The AP. “But I don’t know where the systems would be and I want to get on proper simulators to make sure its correct.

“We all want to do a proper, professional effort,” he added. “I don’t want to do it for a marketing campaign. I want to do it for a chance to win.”

Wickens later tweeted about the possibility of racing the Indy 500 and said his goal was “always to get back to the top level of motorsport” whether it’s IndyCar or IMSA.

Wickens in 2021 did a demonstration in Canada that marketed advancements for paralyzed drivers and gave him a chance to again drive. His entire life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, just three months after winning top rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing last year and welcomed the birth of his first child, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with both race cars and the trip to Disney he took this week during the off days at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens, who uses a wheelchair but can stand with some support, marks a full year back racing on Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Despite success last season, Herta made changes to his lineups and Wickens this year will be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.