Stacked Watkins Glen weekend adds Stadium SUPER Trucks

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This year’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen weekend was always going to add more content – besides the Verizon IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, the full complement of Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires series and the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup Championship also join the weekend dance card.

But that’s not all with the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks joining the lineup this weekend, announced today. The full release is below.

Watkins Glen International announced today the addition of the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks to the racing lineup for the upcoming INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen Sept. 1-3.

Led by the Verizon IndyCar Series, the Labor Day weekend event features six motorsports classes, including Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, MX-5 Cup and the Stadium SUPER Trucks.

In all, there will be 12 practice sessions, seven qualifying sessions and nine races culminating with the Verizon IndyCar Series race Sunday, Sept. 3 at 1 p.m., live on NBCSN.

The Stadium SUPER trucks will take to the track three separate times throughout the weekend holding practice/qualifying on Friday, Sept. 1 at 11:15 a.m., followed by Race 1 on Saturday, Sept. 2 at 12:30 p.m. The second race will take place in advance of the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Sunday. Green flag is set for 12:10 p.m.

“If there is anything that can add even more excitement to our INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen race weekend, it’s Robby Gordon and his series,” said Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup. “This is going to be unlike anything that our fans have ever seen at Watkins Glen International. Personally, I’m very curious to see how those trucks get around America’s fastest road course.”

The widely popular SST Series features 12 identically prepared 650-horsepower trucks that are built to take flight much like a scaled down radio-control car. Able to race on virtually any surface thrown at them, the SST trucks will race the 2.45-mile, 8-turn short course, compared to the 3.37-mile Grand Prix circuit utilized by INDYCAR.

The SST races will feature 36-inch tall aluminum ramps placed in strategic locations throughout the course, allowing the trucks to fly 20 feet off the ground and hundreds of feet down the course, all while hitting speeds upwards of 140 mph.

“For Stadium SUPER Trucks to visit the state of New York and the Northeast for the first time, I cannot be more excited,” Stadium SUPER Trucks President Robby Gordon said. “I’ve had a lot of success at Watkins Glen throughout my career, and have built a large fan base in that region. To bring the door-to-door action and big air of Stadium SUPER Trucks to ‘The Glen’ for the first time, the fans are going to be ecstatic for SST racing.”

Stadium SUPER Trucks feature a 10-event schedule in 2017 spanning three countries, touring as co-events with INDYCAR in the United States, Supercars in Australia and Monster Jam in China.

In addition to former Indy car and NASCAR driver Robby Gordon, a wide variety of drivers from all forms of motorsports will be in attendance, such as 2015 & 2016 series champion Sheldon Creed, Arie Luyendyk Jr., Bill Hynes, Erik Davis, dirt specialists Gavin Harlien and Jeff Hoffman, as well as the top two in the current point standings, Australia’s Matt Brabham and Paul Morris. With this being the first visit of the trucks to the famed Watkins Glen International, all drivers are expected to have an equal opportunity at winning.

INDYCAR returns to Watkins Glen International for the Sept. 1-3 race weekend, featuring the Verizon IndyCar Series, Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda presented by Cooper Tires, Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship powered by Mazda, Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Tires and SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks, in an action-packed event. For tickets and additional information on this can’t-miss weekend, call 1-866-461-RACE, or visit us online at www.theglen.com.

SuperMotocross: Ken Roczen urgently needed change

Roczen change
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Change can be frightening, but it is often exhilarating and Ken Roczen, a rider in his ninth season on a 450 bike, it was urgently needed.

Roczen ended the 2022 Supercross season with his worst performance in five years. After finishing outside of the top five in seven of his last eight rounds in the stadium series, well down the points’ standings in ninth, he decided to put that season on hold.

How it ended was in stark contrast to how it began. Roczen’s 2022 season got off to the best possible start. He won the Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California by more than seven seconds over the 2021 champion Cooper Webb.

That would be his last podium and he scored only one more top-five in the Glendale, Arizona Triple Crown.

MORE: Ken Roczen sweeps top five in Anaheim 2 Triple Crown

Before 2022, Roczen was a regular challenger for the championship despite being plagued by major accidents that required surgery in 2017 and 2018. On his return, he was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, which presents with symptoms of heavy fatigue, muscle weakness and loss of appetite and last year he tested positive for COVID-19.

Against those odds, he finished second in the outdoor season in 2019 and third in 2020. In the Supercross series, he finished third in 2020 and second in 2021.

But the abbreviated season of 2022 signaled a need for change for Roczen.

“I needed the change urgently,” Roczen said in last week’s post-race press conference at Angel Stadium. “I did a pretty big change in general.”

Those comments came three races into the 2023 with him sitting among the top three finishers for the first time in 10 Supercross rounds. It was the 57th podium of his career, only six behind 10th-place Ryan Villopoto. It was also the first for Suzuki since 2019 when Chad Reed gave them one in Detroit 63 rounds ago.

Taking time off at the end of the Supercross season had the needed effect. He rejoined SuperMotocross in the outdoor season and immediately stood on the podium at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. Two rounds later, he won at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado. The relief was short lived and he would not stand on the podium again until this year.

Roczen Motocross Round 3
Ken Roczen won Round 3 of the outdoor season in 2022 at Thunder Valley after finished second in Moto 1 and first in Moto 2. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Winds of Change

Roczen’s offseason was dramatic. Citing differences over his announcement to compete in the World Supercross Championship, he split with Honda HRC and declared himself a free agent. It wasn’t a difficult decision; Roczen was signed only for the Supercross season.

That change had the desired effect. Roczen won the WSX championship in their two-race, pilot season. More importantly, he proved to himself that he could compete for wins.

Late in the offseason, Roczen announced he would also change manufacturers with a move to HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki. He won the 2016 Pro Motocross title for Suzuki with nine wins in 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second. He easily outran the competition with an advantage of 86 points over second-place Eli Tomac.

“I just think change overall made it happen – and these overseas races – it’s really just a snowball,” Roczen said. “You start somewhere and you feel like something works out and I got better and had more fun doing it. Working with the team as well and working on the motorcycle to get better and actually see it paying off. It’s just, it’s just a big boost in general.”

The return to Suzuki at this stage of his career, after nearly a decade of competing on 450 motorcycles, recharged Roczen. He is one of three riders, (along with Cooper Webb and his former Honda teammate Chase Sexton), with a sweep of the top five in the first three rounds of the 2023 Supercross season.

But last week’s podium really drove home how strong he’s been.

“I think we’re all trying to take it all in,” Roczen said. “I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere really, but before the season starts you think about – or I thought of how my whole last season went – and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the podium.”

Roczen’s most recent podium prior to Anaheim 2 came at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland last August in Round 10 of the outdoor season. His last podium in Supercross was the 2022 season opener that raised expectations so high.

Supercross Round 1 results
Ken Roczen raised expectations with his season opening win at Anaheim but did not stand on the box again in the Supercross series. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

The change Roczen needed was not just a different team and bike. More importantly, he needed the freedom to set his own schedule and control his training schedule.

“It’s long days, but I’m really into it at the moment,” Roczen said. “Overall, I felt [that] throughout this off season and now my health has been really well, really good, so that helps. It’s needed to get to the top. I’m pretty confident that we’re, we’re doing the right thing – that I’m doing the right thing.

“I’m doing all my training on my own and I’m planning out my entire week. And I feel like I have a really good system going right now with recovery and putting in some hard days. Right now, I don’t really have anybody telling me what to do. I’m the best judge of that.

“It’s really hard to talk about how much work we’ve put in, but we’ve been doing some big changes and riding a lot throughout the week, some really, really late days. And they’re paying off right now; we’re heading in the right direction. We’re all pulling on the same string, and that helps me out big time.”