Austin Forkner is out for Supercross season

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On Tuesday, Austin Forkner posted an update on his Instagram page and announced that he will not complete the 2019 Supercross season.

“Basically I just sent it as hard as I could until my knee couldn’t take it,” Forkner said on his Instagram page. “Whenever I jumped and landed into the face of that wall, my knee just buckled. At that point, there’s no kind of knee brace, there’s nothing that’s going to save it because that’s what your ACL is supposed to do and that’s gone.

“Obviously I’m out for Vegas. Obviously I’ll be out for the rest of the year.”

His is the story of the championship that almost was.

Through the first six rounds, none of the 250 East class was able to beat him in the Main. The only race he did not win was the 250 Showdown at Atlanta and in that event, he was the top East rider.

Then came Nashville. In timed practice, he planted his leg badly and tore his ACL after posting the third fastest lap behind his principal rival in the series Chase Sexton and teammate Martin Davalos. In too much pain, he failed to start his heat or the Main.

Entering that weekend, Forkner had a full-race advantage over the field. But when Sexton finished second in Nashville, he closed to within three points.

With the series heading to the West for the next race plus the Easter break, Forkner had three weeks to recover. For a brief moment, it appeared he would return with a vengeance. Forkner finished fourth in his heat.

“Pretty much what you saw in the heat races was as fast as I could go, the best I could ride, with my knee in control,” Forkner said.

He knew that would not be enough to protect his points lead, so he went harder in the Main. Forkner gouged his way past Sexton in the opening lap to claim second. A hard landing one lap later as he battled his teammate Davalos for the lead reinjured the ACL.

“I feel like personally, the way that I did it by going out there and sending it and doing my best – giving it all that I had – was a much better way than going out there and riding in 10th or 12th and just watching myself lose a championship.

“I gave it all I had. My knee couldn’t take it. At the end of the day, my confidence going into next season is good. Just knowing that even with a hurt knee for the first four laps of that race I was beating all of the guys I was racing for the championship. I know that. They know it, so they’re going to remember that next season.”

In addition to the torn ACL, Forkner announced he also has a torn meniscus and MCL as well as chipped cartilage from his femur and a “massive” bone bruise.

 

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Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.