Cooper Webb, Marvin Musquin kindle rivalry in Houston Supercross

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Cooper Webb’s remarkable run for the championship began in January with his first career win in the Triple Crown format of Anaheim II. That night, he won the first two Mains and safely managed his final feature to finish third. Round 13 of the Supercross season was much the same. Web finished 2-1-3 to sore the overall win.

“It was a tough night,” Webb said on NBCSN after winning the overall. “You always forget in the Triple Crowns how many laps you end up doing, so for me it was great to go out and get a win.”

It was the sixth win of the season for the rider who entered 2019 without a single 450 victory to his credit.

The evening was not without controversy as Webb manhandled teammate Marvin Musquin (5-3-1) in the first Main and put the Frenchman in a hole that his Main 3 win could not overcome. Off his rhythm, Musquin struggled with mistakes in the first two Mains before finally getting it right in the final feature.

Musquin was not happy with the way he was treated by his teammate. And even though Webb was able to increase his points lead by three, the rivalry is heating up. With four rounds remaining, if Musquin is able to continue to keep the pressure on, this will turn out to be a pivotal race because he knows where the battle lines have been drawn.

“Triple Crown is always super aggressive racing,” Musquin said reflecting on the contact in Main 1. “It’s only 12 minutes, so you’ve got to go for it. I was really aggressive. I made a clean pass on Cooper and I was pretty happy. Obviously I didn’t like the pass he made. He got really aggressive and was riding the bike super hard on multiple turns and he finally got me and pushed me off the track.

“It was pretty sketchy. … I guess that’s the way it is. I will have to do that if I have the opportunity or if I need to to make a pass.”

Musquin finished second in the overall standings.

Dean Wilson (3-2-5) stood on the podium twice during the night to finish third overall.

It was not a points win, but Ken Roczen (1-21-8) scored got the checkers first for the first time in two years with his Main 1 victory. His previous best finish in the Triple Crown format this year was a second in Main 1 at Anaheim II. As has been the case so often this year, however, a strong run was followed by disappointment.

Roczen crashed hard in Main 2 and smashed his toe. He was unable to return to the second feature with a 21st-place finish, but gutted out the third Main and finished eighth in it. His disappointing Main 2 contributed to his overall finish of 10th.

In fifth, Cole Seeley scored his first top-five of the season.

Color commentary was provided by Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who made the flight over from Fort Worth where NASCAR is prepared to race Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway.

Complete Results
Points Standings

In 250s, Dylan Ferrandis made the most of his opportunity. As his principal rival in the 250 West championship stumbled, Ferrandis rode at the front of the pack throughout the three Mains to score the overall win. Ferrandis finished 2-1-2 in the Mains to beat second-place RJ Hampshire (3-2-4) by four points.

“I just did not give up but there was no risk to take for nothing, (so) I was just doing my race,” Ferrandis said on NBCSN after the conclusion of the third Main.

With the overall win, Ferrandis closes the gap to five points to Adam Cianciarulo (1-10-3), who finished fourth overall.

“Two wins in a row. I’m so happy. It’s a different feeling from last week because it was the first one. Now I’m really looking for the championship because it is the only thing that can give me full satisfaction.”

Cianciarulo took the blame for his modest performance.

“As much as I’d love to tell you … I had this guy crash in front of me – this guy cross jump in front of me, it really comes down to my fault because I didn’t get the start in the second Main. I put myself in a bad position,” Cianciarulo said after the race.

After winning the opening Main, the remainder of Cianciarulo’s night was marked by mistakes, but more importantly courage and ability. After going down twice in the second Main and falling to 19th, he mounted a charge that brought him to 10th at the checkers. In Main 2, he fell again and dropped to 13th early in the race. Cianciarulo made up another 10 positions and stood on the podium. With a 1-10-3, he finished fourth overall to minimize the damage.

“We have two races to make it happen and I couldn’t be more confident in myself,” Cianciarulo concluded.

Colt Nichols (5-4-1) won Main 3 and finished third overall.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Main 1: After grabbing the hole shot, Ken Roczen’s quest for his first win in two years got underway with the Main 1 victory. He stretched his advantage to 8.562 seconds over Cooper Webb and the rest of the field. … Dean Wilson rounded out the podium. … The drama came in the middle stage of the race when Webb body slammed his teammate Marvin Musquin off course after the wall jump as they battle for third. Musquin climbed through the field and was battling Wilson for third with a minute remaining, but was knocked off course and fell to fifth at the checkers. … Eli Tomac’s title hopes thinned with a sixth-place finish. – Complete Results

450 Main 2: Cooper Webb scored his fourth Triple Crown Main win. He won two Mains in Anaheim II and one at Detroit. … Dean Wilson finished 3.121 seconds behind in second. … Marvin Musquin had a bad start and was forced to overcome sixth-place on Lap 1. With time off the clock, Musquin cross-rutted and went down in the sand as he battled for every position possible. He fell one spot to third. … Justin Barcia went down with three minutes remaining. … Ken Roczen stepped off the bike in Turn 1 and smashed his toe. After winning the first Main, he was forced to retire from the second. – Complete Results

450 Main 3: Marvin Musquin wrestled the lead from holeshot winner Joey Savatgy in Turn 2 of Lap 1 and held his advantage till the end. … Main 3 was a battle of championship contenders as Eli Tomac finished second with Cooper Webb rounding out the podium. … With a smashed toe, Ken Roczen was able to finish only eighth. … Savatgy fell to ninth. – Complete Results

250 Main 1: Adam Cianciarulo grabbed the lead on Lap 1 and never looked back. He ran away with a nine-second advantage. … Dylan Ferrandis was eighth at the end of Lap 1. He steadily picked off the riders in front of him and passed for second as the white flag waved. … RJ Hampshire rounded out the top three. … Cameron McAdoo got the holeshot, but failed to navigate the first turn; he faded to ninth at the end. … James Decotis had a solid second-place run going until the four-minute remaining mark. At that point, he lost his rhythm and dropped to sixth. – Complete Results

250 Main 2: Last week’s winner at Seattle, Dylan Ferrandis snatched the lead from Chris Blose on Lap 2 and held on to win. … RJ Hampshire stayed within striking distance for much of the race, but finished 4.740 seconds behind. … Garrett Marchbanks rounded out the podium. … The championship battle came down to making the best of a bad situation. Adam Cianciarulo got pushed off line on the opening lap and fell to ninth. Mired in the field, his problems compounded when he crashed a second time on the blind side of the bridge. He was run into as he tried to remount. A clutch problem sent him to the mechanics area briefly. He rejoined the race 19th. Cianciarulo battled back to 10th at the checkers… Blose fell all the way to 19th at the end. – Complete Results

250 Main 3: Colt Nichols rode to an easy win over Dylan Ferrandis. … Adam Cianciarulo had another bad start and went down on Lap 1 in the whoops when he got tangled up with Michael Mosiman. He dropped to 13th. Cianciarulo put his head down and refused to panic, picking his way back to the bottom step of the podium. – Complete Results

Points Leaders

450SX
Cooper Webb (288) (6 wins)
Marvin Musquin (271) (2 wins)
Eli Tomac (262) (3 wins)
Ken Roczen (252)
Blake Baggett (215) (1 win)

250SX West
Adam Cianciarulo (182 points) (4 wins)
Dylan Ferrandis (177) (2 wins)
Colt Nichols (142) (1 win)
RJ Hampshire (126)
Shane McElrath (123) (1 win)

250SX East
Austin Forkner (151 points) (5 wins)
Chase Sexton (125)
Justin Cooper (123)
Alex Martin (92)
Martin Davalos (89)

Top 5s

450SX
Marvin Musquin: 10
Cooper Webb: 10
Ken Roczen: 9
Eli Tomac: 9
Blake Baggett: 7
Joey Savatgy: 3
Dean Wilson: 3
Chad Reed: 2
Justin Barcia: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Bogle: 1
Justin Brayton: 1
Aaron Plessinger: 1
Cole Seeley: 1

250SX West
Adam Cianciarulo: 8
Dylan Ferrandis: 6
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 5
RJ Hampshire: 4
James Decotis: 4
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1
Michael Mosiman: 1
Chris Blose: 1

250SX East
Austin Forkner: 6
Justin Cooper: 6
Chase Sexton: 6
Jordon Smith: 3
Martin Davalos: 3
Alex Martin: 2
Mitchell Oldenburg: 2

Next race: April 6, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Roger Penske, Chip Ganassi bring their storied rivalry to a new level at Rolex 24

Ganassi Penske Rolex 24
Chris Owens/Penske Entertainment
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – To measure the impact of Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi squaring off for the first time in overall sports car wins (starting at the Rolex 24), look at the auto racing titans’ lineups.

There are 12 combined drivers across four entries representing Chip Ganassi Racing (competing as Cadillac Racing) and Team Penske (as Porsche Penske Motorsport) in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona.

And with the possible exception of six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, none of those behind the wheel is as famous and accomplished as the U.S. motorsports icons who will be sitting atop the pit stands at Daytona International Speedway.

In the NTT IndyCar Series, Penske and Ganassi are synonymous with success, having combined for 23 Indy 500 victories and 30 championships. They also competed in the NASCAR Cup Series for two decades with several signature wins for each.

DETAILS FOR THE 61ST ROLEX 24How to watch, entry lists, schedules for the IMSA season opener

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH IN GTPRolex 24 at Daytona kicks off new golden era for sports cars

Until now, the rivalry never extended to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, where they competed in different classes from 2018-19 and have competed in the top category in differing times over the years.

But the 2023 season opener at Daytona will mark the beginning of a new era in which Ganassi and Penske will compete for sports car overall victories on two continents. A Ganassi Cadillac Racing V-LMDh and Porsche Penske Motorsports Penske 963 will run full time in both the premier prototype divisions of IMSA and the European-based World Endurance Championship – whose crown jewel is the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Having two of the world’s biggest sports car races welcome the Ganassi-Penske battle seems only fitting in a season in which IMSA’s new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class is expected to introduce a stiffer level of competition.

“We obviously like beating each other,” Ganassi told NBC Sports. “I think if you beat Penske, you know you’ve beaten someone. You’ve accomplished something great. It’s going to be the same as always. Just another platform at another track, but the rivalry will be just as heated I’m sure.

“On one hand, he’s always the first guy to call us out for a penalty or something. On the other hand, he’s also the first guy to congratulate me on a win, so I think it’s a healthy rivalry, but we certainly pound each other’s heads into the ground on race day. Monday through Friday it switches to more of a good relationship.”

After starting his career in sports cars, Penske also is looking forward to having a new arena to race Ganassi.

“There is a lot of anticipation and excitement about the Rolex 24 and the upcoming sports car season overall,” Penske said in a statement to NBC Sports statement. “With the new hybrid prototype formula ready to make its debut, and some great competition expected on the track between teams, drivers and manufacturers, there is a lot of momentum building right now. Porsche Penske Motorsport is excited to compete in both the IMSA WeatherTech Championship, as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship, this season and I can’t wait to see the No. 6 and No. 7 Porsche 963s in action at Daytona this weekend. We also look forward to bringing some new rivalries and storylines to the sport.

Roger Penske confers with Chip Ganassi before the 2013 Honda Indy Toronto (Andrew Weber/USA TODAY Sports Images).

“In the new IMSA GTP class, there should be a good competitive balance between Porsche, Cadillac, Acura and BMW. We have seen how the rivalry between Team Penske and Ganassi Racing has developed in the NTT IndyCar Series in recent years, and that could certainly extend to sports cars as our teams and drivers continue to develop the new formula and push the production on track in both IMSA and WEC. We will see how the competition plays out, starting this weekend, as we always enjoy racing against Chip and his teams.”

Though there have been some fiery moments over the years (Dario Franchitti vs. Will Power, anyone?), Ganassi vs. Penske mostly has been a story of respect between two organizations whose main strengths are people.

“It’s just the depth of the organizations going up against each other,” Ganassi said. “It’s not just he and I. It’s at every level of the organization.

“We’re smaller. I’d like to think we’re a little more nimble. This is all I do is race cars. I don’t have 200 car dealerships or a truck rental company or a transportation company. I just have racing is all I have.”

Heading into Saturday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, here are the thoughts of Ganassi and Penske drivers in the Rolex 24 at Daytona:


Earl Bamber, No. 02 Ganassi Cadillac: “When I grew up as a kid, I remember watching Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske battle each other for many years, obviously following Scott Dixon and his career in IndyCar (Bamber is a New Zealand native like Dixon). And when the opportunity came up to come and race for Chip, it’s a no-brainer. It’s one of those teams you want to drive for in the world. It’s one of the biggest and most successful teams in the world. And then we’ve got Porsche, where I used to drive, with Penske. It’s going to be a phenomenal rivalry over the next couple of years and that rivalry continues between two absolute legends of our sport. Two people who have been the most successful. I hope we can get Cadillac and Chip their first Le Mans win. That’s obviously the ultimate goal for us and beat his old rival, Roger.

“Those two powerhouses of the sport, they definitely raise the bar. You’ve seen it in IndyCar for years and years. One finds something and the next pushes it forward and forward. You’ll see the same in sports car racing. We all saw what Chip Ganassi Racing did back in the day with the GT program. So no doubt we can do the same again. It’s the ultimate highest level of motorsport when it comes to sports car racing, and there’ll be no stone unturned to make sure that we’re winning these races. It will be a really great fight, great for the fans and great for the sport, because both of them love winning.”

Dane Cameron, No. 6 Porsche Penske: “I think anytime you have Chip and Roger come to town to start fighting for wins, it raises the profile of the whole thing. Hopefully it brings a few more eyes to everything. Certainly brings a lot of expectation with it as well, and I also think it reflects really strongly on the championship to show how competitive it is. They respect the championship and challenge, but when they come to town, they come to win for sure.”

Scott Dixon, No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac: “The battle between Chip Ganassi Racing and Penske is always a fierce one. I obviously know it well from the IndyCar side. But I think it’s a lot more than that. It’s impressive to see a lot of the manufacturers that have come in for this battle. I imagine if it’s not from the first race but during the season that Penske and Ganassi will fight it out pretty hard.

“I think the rivalry between Chip Ganassi racing and Penske has always been strong and in a good way. There’s been some battles and the 2010s for me and other drivers when it gets fierce. Some disagreements here and there. But it’s always been a great pure battle, which is what I think these championships are made of and what brings the fans to the track. So I’d sum it up as a very healthy rivalry.”

Alex Lynn, No. 02 Ganassi Cadillac: “Even as a little boy (growing up in England), you knew exactly who Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi were. You knew what their teams represented. For me to represent Chip and his team is a huge honor. I’m extremely motivated to try to add to his legacy and be part of the fabric of this team. I think having the battle between Penske and Ganassi is iconic. Also Porsche and Cadillac as brands, respectively, just adds to the occasion. Makes me smile even thinking about it knowing what we get to represent when the flag drops.”

Felipe Nasr, No. 7 Porsche Penske: “I think it’s fantastic especially because we’re merging the IMSA and WEC Series and giving the opportunity for teams like Penske and Ganassi to fight for overall victories. You look at the history of those teams, they’ve been on top. We always hear it from the IndyCar guys or the NASCAR side, you’re talking two big names in motorsports. You expect nothing but them fighting for wins. For sure Ganassi has strengths, and we have strengths as well. I’m pretty glad I have the opportunity to be representing Team Penske and continue to write history with them and Porsche is a great opportunity.”

Richard Westbrook, No. 02 Ganassi Cadillac: “The chance for the two most famous teams in America to go head to head in the Daytona 24 Hours and also the Le Mans 24 Hours. I expect that rivalry to keep going up more notches.”

Renger van der Zande, No. 01 Ganassi Cadillac: “Obviously, it’s such the big houses of racing in the U.S. Penske and Ganassi are taking it at each other. The rivalry is big. The best of the best. The most famous ones in the U.S.

“Ganassi is part of Cadillac. We’re the race team that runs the factory program for Cadillac. Penske is running it for Porsche, obviously a high brand as well. Those teams have their little rivalry, but they’re working for a bigger company, a bigger brand, which is Cadillac and Porsche. So those two premium brands taking on each other and then two of the best teams in America taking on each other. It’s very simple: Cadillac got the best team in the U.S. and Porsche got the best team in the U.S. So let’s see what happens. It’s going to be a cool fight.”