Seattle Supercross costly for several riders

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An incident in last week’s Round 12 of the Supercross season proved costly for Marvin Musquin, but the riders he rode past paid a greater price with the toll on their bodies.

When Chad Reed and Justin Brayton had a midair collision, they both landed hard and needed medical attention. Musquin saw the red cross flag requiring him to roll through the section, but did not slow enough and doubled two jumps. For the infraction, he was penalized seven points and forfeited the purse. He was allowed to keep the win, however, because he did not make a pass for position in the disputed territory.

Instead of being seven points down to the leader Cooper Webb, he has twice the distance to make up with five races remaining on the schedule.

Musquin is still in contention – more so now than he was entering Seattle – and has momentum with back-to-back wins.

That is not the case for Reed and Brayton.

According to a post on his Instagram page, Reed sustained eight broken ribs, a broken scapula and a collapsed lung after being landed on by Kyle Chisholm in the Lap 1 crash.

Reed would like to return before the Supercross season is over, but he may have to wait until 2020 to make his 250th start.

He has earned two top-fives this year with a best of third in Detroit.

Early this week, Brayton announced on Instagram that he has a torn MCL and sprained ACL in his knee – neither of which will require surgery. He is aiming to return for Round 16 at East Rutherford, but for now his seat will go to Ben Lamay.

Brayton earned one top-five finish this season at Minneapolis.

Reed was not the only rider to get landed on.

In the 250 Last Chance Qualifier, Gage Schehr crashed and was landed on by another rider. He managed to get to his feet during a red flag and walked to the cart, but had his right arm splinted and was in obvious pain. Transported to the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital, he sustained injuries to his liver and kidney as well as damage to his ribs, spine and lungs, according to an Instagram report by Swapmotolive.

Schehr was originally listed in stable condition, but needed additional surgery and is still being evaluated.

Justin Barcia also had a pair of crashes during the night. He went down in his heat and again in the Main. He rode the Feature in obvious pain, but finished the night and should be riding in Houston this week.

Before his heat, Shane McElrath announced he would not ride at Seattle due to a back injury sustained at Atlanta. Now that his title hopes are over, McElrath’s return for the remainder of the season is questionable.

By the time the series rolls into Las Vegas for the finale, the grid is going to look very different than it did in Anaheim.

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”