Pro Motocross: Dungey takes overall win, 450MX points lead after Tomac, Roczen crash at Thunder Valley

Leave a comment

In a shocking turn of events at Thunder Valley, the 450 Class championship was dealt a huge shake-up thanks to a crash from Eli Tomac.

Just when it looked like Tomac was minutes away from cruising to his sixth straight moto win, disaster struck. As a result, Ryan Dungey won the race and took over the points lead, and Tomac may now be dealing with a serious injury.

After dominating the first two rounds of the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the undefeated Eli Tomac carried a 19-point championship lead into today’s races and was considered the heavy favorite. After all, he was on fire, he was the fastest qualifier this morning, he was coming to his home state of Colorado, and he’s one of the only riders used to training in the altitude.

Things were going according to plan through the first moto and a half – Tomac won the day’s first moto, then grabbed the lead and opened up a large gap in the second moto. In a position to just cruise to the checkered flag, the unthinkable happened, and Tomac lost control and crashed hard in Moto 2. He looked to be in serious pain and made no effort to reenter the race, instead heading straight to the medical center to get checked out.

With Tomac out of the running, Ken Roczen – last year’s 450 Class champion – assumed the race lead and was in a position to earn the overall victory as well. At the time, Ryan Dungey, after inheriting second place, had moved into a tie with Tomac for the points lead.

Then fortunes shifted once more, as Roczen also crashed while out in the lead with just two laps to go – something he said was the result of a flat tire – and that allowed Dungey to catch up to him. The former teammates battled for the top spot, with Dungey making the pass and Roczen then going down for a second time.

Dungey was then able to check out with the lead en route to the checkered flag, and his 2-1 moto finishes earned him the overall victory, his first of the season.

“The track is rough. When we’re pushing the envelope that fast, I hate to see [Tomac] go down like that,” Dungey said after the race. “I hope he’s okay, I don’t know the aftermath. He’s going at a good pace right now, and the faster you go, the more that stuff sneaks up on you.”

Roczen’s crash cost him a shot at the overall win, but he still finished second overall with 3-2 moto finishes. Blake Baggett (4-3) rounded out the overall podium – his first career podium finish in the 450 Class.

The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will resume next Saturday, June 6th at Muddy Creek Raceway in Tennessee, and the big question will be around the status of Tomac after today’s crash. Will the GEICO Honda rider be healthy enough to return to racing and keep himself in title contention?

Helio Castroneves ‘hustling’ for IndyCar, IMSA rides; talking with four to five teams

Helio Castroneves IMSA IndyCar
IMSA
Leave a comment

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.”