Ricciardo: Possible loss of US GP in Austin “hurts”

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Daniel Ricciardo is dismayed by the uncertain future facing the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas following the state’s decision to cut the level of tax relief that the race receives.

Earlier this week, it was reported that officials in Texas would be cutting the state’s contribution for the race from $25 million to $19.5 million.

With the Circuit of The Americas’ hosting fee also rising and set to rise over the next six years, a growing financial hole has sparked concern about the future of the US GP, with track chairman Bobby Epstein telling the Austin-American Statesman: “I think we’re screwed.”

An outpouring of support for the US GP at COTA has followed on Twitter, and Ricciardo has become the latest figure to express his support for the race.

“Yeah it hurts,” Ricciardo told NBCSN. “I heard a few things already the last few months, it’s a bit in doubt or there’s a few question marks.

“I don’t know. I’ll start some form of petition to keep it! I feel bad. All the Australians are probably saying ‘you’re Australian, don’t forget!’. Okay, Australia’s got a bit of a secure future in Formula 1 now.

“I don’t know about Austin. For me, it’s awesome. I know all the drivers love it. Otherwise I’ll plan holidays and keep going back there!

“But I want to race there. We’ll do what we can. I’ll try and help out if I can one way or another.”

Supercross: Haiden Deegan debuts in 250s at Houston, Justin Cooper graduates to 450 class for Star Yamaha

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Rising star Haiden Deegan will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut in Houston, Texas with Yamaha Star Racing while the 2021 250 West champion Justin Cooper graduates to 450s.

Deegan, the son of motocross and off-road legend Brian Deegan and brother of NASCAR Truck Series driver Hailie Deegan, made two starts in the Pro Motocross outdoors season last year. He finished 31st overall at the Ironman Nationals in Crawfordsville, Indiana and was 13th at Fox Raceway in the season-ender at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, but the overall results did not necessarily reflect how well he ran. In both events, he challenged for top-10s during portions of the week and actually finished 10th in one of the Pala motos.

Last week, Haiden finished fifth in the Supercross 250 Futures in Anaheim 2.

“We’re really excited to get the season on the East Coast started,” said Monster Energy Team Manager Jensen Hendler in a press release. “It’s also exciting to have Haiden move up to join our pro program this season and to have Justin make his debut on the 450. The guys have been working hard and are looking forward to seeing what they can do this weekend in Houston.”

After scoring a 250SX Futures podium, Talon Hawkins gets 250 East ride.

Deegan will join Nate Thrasher and Jordon Smith in the 250 East division this week.

Cooper moves into the 450 class this weekend. According to Supercross rules, after winning the 2021 championship, he had one season to defend his title and then would be required to move up a class. Cooper missed all of last year to injury.

Cooper was healthy when the outdoor season started and he earned five podiums and nine top-fives in 12 rounds. Three of these races ended in runners-up finishes, at Hangtown, in Rancho Cordova, California, Washougal, Washington and Unadilla, New York.

Cooper joins Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis in the 450 class and will race select events.

Justin Cooper learned to temper aggression with speed

Cooper’s Houston attempt will be the first of an undisclosed number of races he will compete in during the 2023 season.

“It’s been about two years since I’ve lined up for a supercross, and now it’s in a new class with the best guys, so I’m excited to just get out there,” Cooper said. “I’m looking to get back under the lights and learn what I can. Overall, I’m just really excited to be in the position to be out there, so I’m going to make the most of it and enjoy it!”

Deegan and Cooper will be part of a seven-rider Supercross lineup for Yamaha Star Racing. Nick Romano will debut in the 250 East division later this year.