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De Silvestro: ‘Strange’ to miss Indy 500, but Formula E remains focus

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BERLIN, Germany – Simona de Silvestro says that it feels strange not to be racing in this year’s Indianapolis 500, but remains fully focused on her Formula E commitments with Andretti.

De Silvestro joined Andretti in 2015, taking part in three IndyCar races before being signed to its Formula E operation full-time from the London ePrix last June.

The Swiss racer became the first woman to score points in Formula E at the Long Beach ePrix in March, but confirmed earlier this year that she would not be entering the 100th running of the 500 in part due to a clash between qualifying and the Berlin ePrix.

Speaking in Berlin, de Silvestro conceded that it felt strange to see proceedings kick off at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 500 and not be there to take part, with 2016’s edition being just the second she has missed since 2010.

“Well I did feel a little strange when they started practicing on Monday because I’ve been used to doing all that,” de Silvestro told NBC Sports.

“For sure, it’s always really special and you want to be part of it if you can. Right now, I’m here in Berlin, maybe I’ll get to go and see it next weekend and watch it.

“It’s always hard when you’re watching and not driving.”

Formula E very much remains the focus for de Silvestro, with budgetary constraints limiting her chances in IndyCar for the time being.

“Formula E is still the focus. IndyCar at the moment is really difficult because a lot depends on budget,” she said.

“Being realistic, finding money at this time of the year is really difficult. We never know what happens next year or anything like that but no, we’re always working on all the options that are out there.”

De Silvestro confirmed that she is yet to firm up any plans for the third Formula E season, which is due to start on October 9 in Hong Kong.

“Nothing yet. Right now, we’ll go to London, maybe talk to some people and see what happens,” de Silvestro said.

“There’s nothing really set right now.”

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

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Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).