Supercross Preview: Daytona could be the season’s turning point

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There is a lot of room on the infield grass on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway; just ask any NASCAR driver who has slid down its length. That gave Ricky Carmichael ample room to work his magic when he designed this week’s course for Round 10 of the Supercross season.

Beginning on pit road across from the start/finish line, the course sweeps out toward the straightaway before heading toward NASCAR Turn 1, then serpentines its way back and forth across the infield through a variety of hard-packed dirt and sand.

Due in part because of its length and the room that affords to create some gnarly jumps and challenging rhythm sections, this is one of the most grueling courses the series will face all year. As part of Daytona’s famed Bike Week, it is also one of the most prestigious. Daytona has been part of the Supercross schedule since the series first launched.

Cooper Webb posted back-to-back wins twice this season. Daytona gives him the opportunity to do so again after last week’s win in Atlanta and if he does so, it will make a major statement to the field. There is still time for the field to catch up to Webb, but in Round 10 of 17 the clock is starting to tick louder with each passing week.

Two East division riders will not make the show. Jordon Smith is out for a wrist injury he sustained at Arlington that has not yet healed. Mitchell Falk was also injured just prior to Arlington and that gives the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM team the time and resources necessary to allow 250 West rider Shane McElrath the opportunity to race in the 450 class. McElrath currently sits third in the 250 West division. He has a previous start at East Rutherford, NJ in 2015 with an 11th-place finish.

In the 250 class, Austin Forkner looks to get back to dominating that division after falling behind West division riders Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis in last week’s Showdown in Atlanta. A third-place finish in the feature was the first race that he’s failed to win all season.

MORE: Supercross kicks off Daytona Bike Week

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Cooper Webb scored his fifth win of the year over Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis from the West topped Austin Forkner and Chase Sexton from the East in 2019’s first Showdown event.

Last Year:

Justin Brayton got his first career win over Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb in the 450 class.
In 250s, Jordon Smith won over Jeremy Martin and Austin Forkner in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[5] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Atlanta)
[2] Eli Tomac (San Diego and Detroit)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)

250 West:
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale, Oakland, San Diego and Atlanta)
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

250 East:
[3] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington and Detroit)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (9)
Marvin Musquin (7)
Cooper Webb (7)
Eli Tomac (6)
Blake Baggett (5)
Dean Wilson (2)
Joey Savatgy (2)
Chad Reed (2)
Justin Barcia (1)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Justin Brayton (1)
Aaron Plessinger (1)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (6)
Shane McElrath (5)
Colt Nichols (4)
Dylan Ferrandis (4)
RJ Hampshire (3)
James Decotis (2)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (4)
Justin Cooper (4)
Chase Sexton (4)
Jordon Smith (3)
Martin Davalos (2)
Alex Martin (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Cooper Webb (199)
Ken Roczen (186)
Marvin Musquin (182)
Eli Tomac (177)
Blake Baggett (142)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (140)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123)
Colt Nichols (120)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (99)
Justin Cooper (81)
Chase Sexton (79)
Jordon Smith (70)
Alex Martin (60)

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Andretti United team names drivers for inaugural Extreme E season

Extreme E drivers Andretti
Extreme E
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The Extreme E team formed by Andretti Autosport and United Autosports named Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen as its drivers Monday for the series’ inaugural 2021 season.

Munnings is a successful veteran of rally series. Hansen is a past winner and champion in the World Rallycross Championship.

They both will race in the environmentally conscious electric SUV series that will hold events in five areas around the world that are threatened by climate change. Chip Ganassi Racing and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton also are fielding cars in Extreme E, which will feature male and female co-drivers on every team.

Catie Munnings

“I’m so excited to join Andretti United Extreme E,” Munnings said in a release. ““I was really intrigued when I first heard about Extreme E, I just knew I had to be involved. The male / female racing partnership is a fantastic and exciting new concept. The season has incredible locations and the racing will be very exciting. It will be a new challenge for the teams and drivers, and I’m so thrilled to be working with such a strong team.

“The championship is a really innovative concept, it’s combining motorsport and science and will produce an important legacy in each race location. Bringing the platform that motorsport has in line with the awareness that the planet needs right now is awesome and a really important message.”

Timmy Hansen

Said Hansen: “Going into the Extreme E will be a new chapter in my career, one that I am extremely excited about. It is something brand new, not only for me, but the whole of motorsport. The format is something

we’ve never seen before. I’m also delighted to be able to carry the message of something bigger – talking about the environment and doing something good for the world – that’s something that really drives me. It’s going to be a big adventure in life to see these locations and I’m going to do my best in carrying this responsibility and hopefully making people aware of the challenges we have in the world, together with our passion for racing.”