Rzadzinski in 2013. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Stefan Rzadzinski wins ROC Factor North America vote

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Edmonton native Stefan Rzadzinski used a strong social media campaign, a wealth of local support from his home country and a genuine presentation of his desire to race against his racing heroes to capture the ROC Factor North America vote and compete in the Race of Champions in Miami later this month, on January 21-22.

The 24-year-old will compete in the Race of Champions as his countryman James Hinchcliffe’s teammate, in the second edition of ROC Factor. Bradley Philpot competed rather well last year in England.

Rzadzinski and Conor Daly, Verizon IndyCar Series driver and like “Razzle Dazzle” a talented young driver, emerged as the leading contenders among the 10 finalists, a list that also included up-and-coming Mazda sports car racer Glenn McGee and IMSA Radio pit reporter Shea Adam among others.

Several Canadian outlets profiled Rzadzinski, who competed in all three levels of the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires from 2011 through 2013 before heading back to his home country and winning races in the Nissan Micra Cup ranks. Rzadzinski pioneered a new winning style – “reverse donuts” – in Micra Cup races.

A persistent social media push was also enough to keep Rzadzinski’s name alive and well, while Daly drew ardent support from his compatriots in the IndyCar series.

In the end, Rzadzinski, who just turned 24 on Thursday, emerged victorious. Both he and Daly were classy and gracious about the result, Daly among those to offer congratulations on social media.

Argentine native Gabriel Glusman won the ROC Factor Latin America vote for the opportunity to partner with another IndyCar driver, three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves.

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).