SupercrossLIVE.com

Cooper Webb, Austin Forkner win Minneapolis Supercross

Leave a comment

Cooper Webb proved he is the real deal by winning his third race in the last four rounds of the 2019 Supercross season. Webb patiently chased Joey Savatgy for 15 laps and then pulled away from the field as the battle shifted to second place.

“Last weekend I made that mistake and crashed and didn’t get a great result,” Webb said on NBCSN after the race. “I was bummed to lose the red plate after just one race, but we’re getting close as you can see.”

Webb had ample reason to be psyched about his finish. He won his first career race just four weeks ago and has emerged as the hottest rider on the circuit. He is now part of one of the closest points battles in history with four riders sitting only two points apart.

After losing the lead on Lap 15, Savatgy was immediately under attack from Ken Roczen. It took Roczen another five laps to get up to the runner-up position. With his second-place finish, Roczen is the only rider to sweep the top five this year. His strong run in Minneapolis allowed him to snatch the red plate from Eli Tomac.

Marvin Musquin snapped his streak of three consecutive second-place finishes with a third at Minneapolis.

Rookie Savatgy posted the fastest time in qualification and was looking to score his best result of the year. He crossed under the checkers fourth, bettering his seventh at San Diego.

Justin Brayton rounded out the top five.

The points leader entering the race, Tomac had a horrible start. Mired outside the top 15 on Lap 1, it took 10 laps to simply crack the top 10. He slowly climbed the grid and finished just outside the top five in sixth. It was this first time his year that he failed to score a top five.

Tomac’s struggles made the points battle razor thin. Roczen hold a one-point advantage over Webb with Tomac and Musquin two points back in third and fourth.

Blake Baggett was running fourth late in the race before he landed on his front wheel with 2:30 remaining. He failed to finish four laps from the end and was credited with a 21st-place finish.

Complete Results
Points Standings

250s

Butterflies abounded in the first of nine round of the 250 East class. One rider who was not effected by the winged insect was Austin Forkner. He jumped out to an early lead and kept a 10 second advantage through most of the race. With such a huge lead to his credit, Forkner rode a safe last lap and beat the field to the checkers by six seconds.

Jordon Smith finished second after an eventful night. He had a rear tire go flat before the gate drop. “I had time for about one deep breath before we took off,” Smith said on NBCSN after the race. “And off we were.”

That may have thrown Smith off his rhythm because he laid his bike down midway through the race when he bogged in loose dirt while in the runner-up spot. Smith fell to fourth, but charged back.

Justin Cooper stood on the final step of the podium in third.

Chase Sexton finished fourth after an adventurous race. He mistimed a jump and went down on the same lap that saw the Smith crash.

Mitchell Oldenburg rounded out the top five.

Blake Wharton was another rider with issues. He ran off course and dropped. His bike was not as quick to hit the dirt and smashed into his head.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Heat 1: Cooper Webb took the lead on Lap 2 and beat Eli Tomac to the line. … Ken Roczen rounded out the top three and finished within a little more than two seconds behind the winner. … Aaron Plessinger was a distant fourth almost nine seconds behind.

450 Heat 2: Justin Brayton won his second heat of 2019 over Justin Barcia and fast qualifier Joey Savatgy. … Justin Bogle led two laps before missing a shift and allowing Brayton to take the lead with Marvin Musquin in tow. Bogle finished fourth. … A pair of mistakes for Musquin as time ran off the clock dropped him to fourth and then Musquin dropped his bike on the plus one lap; he fell all the way to eighth at the end, but advanced without needing to race through the LCQ.

450 Last Chance Qualifier: Cheyenne Harmon made his second feature of the season by beating a charging AJ Catanzaro by 1.5 seconds; Catanzaro advanced to the Main for the first time this year. Casey Brennan and Daniel Herrlein rounded out the transfer positions and will also race in their first 2019 feature.

250 Heat 1: Jordon Smith won the first East race of 2019 by more than three seconds over Alex Martin and Justin Cooper.

250 Heat 2: After setting fast time in qualification, Austin Forkner grabbed the holeshot and ran away from the field. He beat Mitchell Oldenburg by nearly 13 seconds. Blake Wharton rounded out the top three. … Chase Sexton jumped off course and lost a battle with the tough blocks on Lap 1. He moved up to 11th before he ran across the back wheel of Lorenzo Locurcio. Sexton moved up to eighth at the end; Locurcio remained in 10th.

250 Last Chance Qualifier: Joshua Osby got to the front early and remained there to win the LCQ. … That was good news because chaos erupted behind him: Samuel Redman had a big off while running in the final transfer spot, handing the lead to Joey Crown, who immediately flew off the track. On the same lap, Lane Shaw tried and failed to make an aggressive pass. He went down and was rolled over by several other riders. … Lorenzo Lucurcio survived in second with Chase Marquier and Wilson Fleming also advancing.

Points Leaders

450s
Ken Roczen (125)
Cooper Webb (124) (3 wins)
Eli Tomac (123) (1 win)
Marvin Musquin (123)
Dean Wilson (95)

250s West
Adam Cianciarulo (114 points) (3 wins)
Shane McElrath (106) (1)
Colt Nichols (104) (1)
Dylan Ferrandis (102)
RJ Hampshire (75)

250s East
Austin Forkner (26 points) (1 win)
Jordon Smith (23)
Justin Cooper (21)
Alex Martin (19)
Chase Sexton (18)

450 top 5s
Ken Roczen: 6
Eli Tomac: 5
Marvin Musquin: 5
Cooper Webb: 4
Dean Wilson: 2
Blake Baggett: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Barcia: 1
Justin Bogle: 1
Chad Reed: 1
Joey Savatgy: 1
Justin Brayton: 1

250 West top 5s
Adam Cianciarulo: 5
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 4
RJ Hampshire: 3
Dylan Ferrandis: 3
James Decotis: 2
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1

250 West top 5s
Austin Forkner: 1
Jordon Smith: 1
Justin Cooper: 1
Alex Martin: 1
Chase Sexton: 1

Next race: February 16, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

IndyCar’s Scott Dixon staying fit during lengthy time off

INDYCAR Photo
Leave a comment

During a regular racing schedule, five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing would spend much of his time between races at PitFit in Indianapolis.

The highly advanced workout facility on the northwest side of Indianapolis is run by noted sports trainer Jim Leo. His clientele includes IndyCar Series drivers and other athletes in the area.

In addition to the array of workout machines, Leo’s facility also has advanced equipment to test a driver’s reaction time. These range from a board with lights that rapidly flash, and a driver have to hit the board to turn them off. There are other tests drivers do to keep their skills sharp and reaction time focused.

Times have changed, though.

Indiana is under a statewide lockdown with the exception of essential services only. Instead of going to PitFit, Dixon is working out at his home on the north side of Indianapolis.

His reaction time is being tested by his wife, Emma, throw a tennis ball at him, changing the direction with each toss.

“I’ve gone back to old school, like tennis balls and Emma can drop them or throw them,” Dixon told NBCSports.com. “As long as you keep up with basic cardio and lift weights and work on the neck muscles, that’s the harder part to get ready for. “As we get through this transition, we have 8-10 weeks before these things get lifted.

“I had already stopped going into Pit Fit last week. We had not been doing that for a while. Haven’t left the house for 13 days, now. We went to the grocery store once. The rest of the stuff has been delivered.

“We’re locked down, man, trying to do our best for everyone else.”

RELATED: How is Sabres’ star Jack Eichel staying fit?

Dixon’s home has an impressive array of workout equipment. That allows the 39-year-old racing legend to stay fit during this extended time off that won’t end until the last week of May at the earliest.

“I have most of the stuff I need at home,” Dixon explained. “Some of the reaction stuff, the D-2s and Synaptic machines plus some of the upper-body machines are pretty unique machines. Those are the machines that Jim Leo has at PitFit.

“As far as cycling, running, general weights, skiers and rollers, I have that at home.”

It seems like a lifetime ago when the world was normal. That was before the dreaded COVID-19 outbreak has literally sent society underground and locked in while a solution to this fatal virus is found.

Photo by Chris Graythen, Getty Images

Before this unexpected shutdown, Dixon would go into PitFit to work on specialized equipment on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. He would do the rest of his physical workout at home.

“I started skipping that when we got home before the lockdown,” Dixon said. “Before the lockdown, Jim could have stayed open because he never has more than 10 people at once.

“Typically, he would have the drivers spaced out where Tony Kanaan and I would go in at 8 in the morning and Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe would go in at 9:30 and then Zach Veach and Spencer Pigot and Charlie Kimball would go in around 11. There were only about five of us going in at once.”

Two weeks ago, Leo dropped off some equipment at Dixon’s house along with more instructions to focus on his workouts during the layoff.

Sacrifices are being made all throughout the world, including racing.

“You can’t be selfish,” Dixon said. “It sucks for the drivers, but it sucks a lot worse for a lot of other people. Luckily, the school the girls go to has e-learning. It’s school as usual on the computer from 8:30 to 3 and that has been seamless on that front.

“On a personal note, it’s nice to be home with the baby and bonding as well and that is great. But all of us wish everything was back to normal as soon as possible.”

RELATED: Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph adjusting to ‘new normal’ for training

Dixon is the father of three, including young daughters Poppy (10), Tilly (8) and infant son, Kit.

This is a time to keep his family safe.

“You hear mixed messages about who is more at risk,” Dixon said. “Obviously, older people with underlying conditions. We’re a fairly healthy family, but still it sounds like something can trigger a pretty bad situation. It’s better to be safe than sorry so we are limiting our contact as fast as possible. The quicker everybody locks down, the quicker we will get through the situation. If we stay home, we will see a decline and hopefully get back to normal pretty quickly.

“It’s a new thing for everybody.”

For now, Dixon works out at home, while the girls continue their classes on the computer. Emma spends time with her infant son, Kit, while taking care of the family.

These days of working out at home will be important because once racing is scheduled to return, tentatively set for May 30 at Detroit, it will be flat-out, racing nearly every weekend.

There won’t be time-off in-between races.

“No, but everybody is having plenty of rest right now,” Dixon quipped. “It’s not what anybody wants. We all keep hoping everybody remains safe and healthy. It’s a difficult time for a lot of people and we’ve been very lucky that we don’t know anybody that has had an issue so far. Hopefully, that remains the same.

“Everybody is ready to go. We were ready to go at St. Pete. This will be welcomed greatly.

“Nothing is normal these days. I think what IndyCar and IMS did was probably the best of the situations. You never want to move the dates of the 500, but you always want the people to be relaxed enough they are going to come to the race, too.

“The way they have done the schedule is pretty cool. It gives them enough wiggle room now with Detroit being the kickoff. What is also fun is the July 4 doubleheader weekend at Indianapolis and St. Pete finishing the season.”

Once life returns to normal, depending on what the new normal will look like, race drivers and athletes will once again be in an area they know.

The difficult part of this, however, is nobody knows when the COVID-19 pandemic will end.

“The hard part right now is there are so many unknowns,” Dixon said. “That is what people hate. They could wrap their hands around two weeks, but it could be another six weeks. People will go crazy.

“That is what we are going through right now. The unknown. Nobody knows what the next step is.”

That is why Dixon has a message for all race fans to take these orders seriously.

“Stay safe. Stay away from people. Lock down. Get this period done with,” Dixon said. “Once we do that, hopefully we can crack on like normal and people can find fixes and therapies. As soon as everybody bunkers down, we will get through this sooner instead of later.

“Let’s get back to normal as quick as possible and get back to racing when we can.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500