IndyCar

IMSA: Kyle Kaiser joins Juncos Racing for Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

Leave a comment

Kyle Kaiser will enter the 24 Hours of Daytona with Juncos Racing driving the No. 50 Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Will Owen will serve as one of Kaiser’s co-drivers. Two others will be announced soon.

In 2018, Kaiser entered four IndyCar races including a best result of 16th in the Long Beach Grand Prix.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to compete in the Rolex 24 with Juncos Racing,” Kaiser said at IMSA.com. “It’s very special to have my first experience in endurance racing at such a historic event with the organization I have been a part of for the last five years of my career.

“I have been impressed with the incredible progress the team has made over the last month preparing for the race, and I have the utmost confidence our program will be extremely competitive with the Cadillac power behind us. I am anxious to get behind the wheel of the DPi and continue our preparation for the race.”

His debut in the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship begins with the 2019 Roar Before the 24 in early January.

In 50 Indy Lights starts with Juncos Racing, Kaiser has scored five wins and 18 podiums.

“We are looking forward to continuing our work with Kyle after many years together,” said team owner Ricardo Juncos. “We started our program with Kyle back in 2014 and have created great chemistry with him in our team over the past five seasons.

“Not many teams can say they have had the chance to work with the same driver in four different series during their career, which shows Kyle’s commitment and confidence with Juncos Racing. We are thrilled for the opportunity to continue our relationship with Kyle and would like to thank Kyle and sponsors for their dedication to our team.”

Kaiser is not currently scheduled to run in IMSA beyond the 24 Hours.

Cooper Webb leaps from obscurity to Supercross lead

Leave a comment

Cooper Webb could not even locate the radar tower before the 2019 season began – let alone expect to see his number dead center in the radar screen.

His ascent to 450 competition came with little fanfare. Finishing 13th in Supercross in 2017 and then eighth in Motocross, Webb did not turn many heads as a rookie. Last year was more of the same.

Through Round 7 at Arlington, Webb failed to record a single top five. That elusive result would come the following week at Tampa with a fourth-place finish. Two weeks later, he stood on the podium at Daytona for the only the second time in his Supercross 450s career. But at season’s end, Webb was only ninth in the standings in both Supercross and Motocross.

No one expected much from him when Anaheim rolled around this year.

Webb started the season much the same as he ended 2018. A fifth-place finish in Anaheim I in muddy and equalizing conditions was followed by a modest 10th at Glendale, but the rider from North Carolina believed in himself.

In professional racing, nothing is more difficult than winning the first race. Webb’s first taste of victory came in Heat 1 of the Triple Crown at Anaheim II. Everyone remained skeptical – it was only one heat race after all. The skepticism turned to interest when he won Heat 2. Then Webb finished third in Heat 3 to take the overall victory. It was his first win in the 450 class.

That was all it took to unleash his potential. Webb won the following week in Oakland and then again two weeks later in Minneapolis.

The Supercross riders left Minnesota and headed straight down Interstate 35 to Arlington with four of them separated by two points. All eyes were focused on Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin – and, oh yeah Webb who sat in second.

Someone was likely to stumble in Arlington and the odds on favorite to do so was Webb. That seemed to be confirmed once the feature started. While the three more experienced riders led by Tomac scooted away from the field, Webb was mired outside the top five for the first six lap.

It was Tomac who tripped and fell, however. Webb passed the stricken rider and surged to fifth on Lap 7. He was in fourth by Lap 10 and third on Lap 16.  As Webb and teammate Musquin battled for the second, they slowly reeled in the leader Roczen. Once Webb broke free on the conflict with the runner-up position firmly his, he could see the red plate on Roczen’s Honda like a cape being waved in front of a bull.

Webb charged through the final six laps getting closer and closer until he edged Roczen for the closest finish in Supercross history. It was Webb’s fourth victory of the season, coming only four weeks after he scored his first career win.

Relive the final laps in the video posted above.

As incredible as Webb’s rise to the points lead is, it has been done before.

Last year Jason Anderson seemingly came out of nowhere to lead the standings after Round 2. Anderson held the advantage for the remainder of the year, while Webb has been part of a game of hot potato in which no one seems to want to don the red plate for more than a week.

The pressure continues to mount. Webb now has a two-point advantage over Roczen, who is the only rider to sweep the top five this season.

Webb’s advantage over third is a mere four points, while Musquin has a current five-race streak of podium finishes to his credit.

Tomac’s trouble in Texas serves as a cautionary tale that a single loss of focus can be devastating and Webb still lacks the seat time of his three principal rivals, but last week’s incredible come-from-behind victory is showing that Webb is riding above experience level.

Follow the complete Supercross and Motocross seasons on NBC Sports, Gold.