MRTI: pre-season testing Day 4 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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The final day of pre-season testing for the Mazda Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires saw the top series in the ladder take to the 2.3-mile road course at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After running on the 1.5-mile oval on Friday, the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires had its first and only day on the road course on Monday.

Monday’s running saw the field increase to seven cars, with Belardi Auto Racing joining in with drivers Santiago Urrutia and Aaron Telitz (of note: Juncos Racing’s Alfonso Celis Jr. did not do any laps on Monday).

And it was Belardi driver Urrutia leading the way, turning the fastest lap of the day, at 1:14.502, during Session 2, bettering Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Norman by nearly half a second in doing so.

However, Urrutia pointed out that his fast lap came as the result of a little help, in the form of push-to-pass.
“Everyone used the push-to-pass at the end, including me, so I think (teammate Aaron Telitz) was quickest today,” he asserted
Urrutia added that, despite the speed, he and the team struggled to hit the setup exactly right, something he acknowledged they’ll need to do to battle for the Indy Lights title.
“We’ve been working on setup for St. Pete and we’re pretty good, though we need to fix some problems that showed up today,” he explained. “I wasn’t completely comfortable in the car today because of that so we’ll get those things fixed before St. Pete. It’s going to be tough this year, because anyone can win the championship. You see from the times today that it’s going to be really tight. To win the championship you have to always be right there – win when you have the car to win, and if you don’t, be right there in the top-five.”
The next official on-track sessions for the series in the Mazda Road to Indy will come at the season-opening weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida on March 9-11.

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.