IndyCar drivers Helio Castroneves and James Hinchcliffe have become the latest drivers to sign up for next month’s Race of Champions in Miami.
The Race of Champions pits drivers from all over the world and from a variety of series up against each other in a variety of challenges and cars.
Castroneves and Hinchcliffe join fellow IndyCar racers Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Tony Kanaan and Juan Pablo Montoya in the Race of Champions field, as well as Formula 1 world champions Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button, NASCAR’s Kyle and Kurt Busch, plus nine-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
Castroneves and Hinchcliffe will both have teammates picked from the ROC Factor competition, which was launched on Friday.
“ROC Factor is such an amazing opportunity,” Castroneves said. “It’s a bit like American Idol; one moment someone’s singing in the shower and the next they’re becoming a huge star! I’m really looking forward to it and can’t wait for January 21/22.
“The cool thing about Race Of Champions is that every driver has a chance, no matter what they’re used to racing. The variety of cars means there’s something suited to everyone, regardless of whether they’re from rallying, open-wheelers or NASCAR. So it really is all about the talent.
“Plus, for me, to be competing at home in Miami is always great, especially as my family and friends will be together having a good time. And of course racing at Marlins Park is so unusual! I think the fans will really enjoy it and be coming back for more.”
Hinchcliffe added: “I’m really excited about the chance to be a part of this year’s ROC. I’ve watched this event for years and always wanted to be a part of it, so it’s a bit of an early Christmas present getting the call.
“All these incredible drivers from so many disciplines in one place, all the different cars to try, and we still have to vote for my team-mate! It’s going to be a blast!”
For more information on applying for ROC Factor, click here.
The Race of Champions takes place at Miami’s Marlins Park on January 21-22 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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.