Boston IndyCar race promoters hope to finalize all agreements soon

0 Comments

Although Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has expressed concern that agreements still have not been reached with several state agencies, organizers of next year’s IndyCar Grand Prix of Boston are confident those hurdles will be overcome soon.

“They’ve been in dialogue since day one,” Grand Prix spokesperson Jana Watt told MotorSportsTalk on Monday. “We support the Mayor 100 percent. It would behoove us, the quicker these agreements are signed, the better.

“But we also understand that from the agencies’ perspective that they understand everything they possibly can about the event, the usage and everything else and who’s paying for what. We need to nail all that down. We agree, absolutely.”

The race will be held on Sept. 4 on a street course that takes in a good portion of Boston’s riverfront area. It was confirmed as part of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule last week, having been first announced in May.

In a sense, organizers are patterning it after existing and very successful IndyCar street races in Long Beach, Calif., and St. Petersburg, Fla.

While Walsh and the city are on-board with plans, financial and other agreements still need to be worked out with agencies including the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the Massachusetts Convention Center and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Those groups control much of the property the planned street race is slated to be contested upon. The final version of the race track layout was only completed in early October.

“Obviously, there are a lot of agreements that have to come to fruition in order for the event to happen, but that’s not unexpected,” Watt said. “That’s part of a race or an event of this nature, that touches so many different agencies. So we’re in 100 percent support of what the Mayor has said. We need these agreements done, too.”

Walsh’s chief of operations, Patrick Brophy, emailed a letter to Jim Freudenberg, chief commercial officer of the Grand Prix of Boston, asking promoters to finalize all outstanding agreements within the next 14 days.

“It is expected that your team will finalize agreements with all interested parties within the next two (2) weeks,” Brophy wrote to Freudenberg. “Please be advised that the Mayor grows increasingly concerned with the progress (or lack thereof) of those discussions.”

In addition to the two-week deadline, Brophy asked that tickets for the race – which were slated to go on sale this month – will not be sold until all agreements are in place.

There is also concern about working closer to allay increasing concerns from community groups about the event, which is expected to generate at least $25 million to the city and state in the first year.

“As you are aware, a predicate to agreements and permit acquisition is the outcome of your discussions with local neighborhood, civic and business associations,” Brophy said in his email. “Mayor Walsh feels strongly that overall community ‘buy-in’ and timely resolution of all financial terms for this proposed event are paramount to his final approval.”

Watt said race organizers remain confident they can reach agreements soon.

“At the end of the day, the conversation didn’t start yesterday,” Watt said. “It’s been an ongoing dialogue and a healthy and good one, a very robust dialogue. It’s been open communication. There are certainly things to finalize.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

0 Comments

Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome in 1974, one of three races held during Supercross’ inaugural season along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2