High Point preview: Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac battle for MX supremacy

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Ken Roczen has ample reason to look forward to the this week’s Round 4 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Penn. He came out of the gates strong this year with a Moto 1 victory and overall win at Hangtown and backed that up with another win at Thunder Valley to complete his comeback.

Last week’s victory gave Roczen the red plate for the second time this year with a two-point advantage over Eli Tomac.

Roczen is also the only 450 rider entered this week with two wins at High Point after taking back-to-back wins in 2015 and 2016.

Accustomed to being considered a favorite for winning the championship at this stage of the season, Tomac is going to have to stop throwing away the first Moto if he wants overall wins. Dropping back deep in the pack at both Hangtown and Thunder Valley he failed to recover and earn a podium in either race – giving Roczen an easy task of winning the overall. At Pala, Tomac won both Motos.

Zach Osborne sits 24 points out of second and 26 from the lead.

Meanwhile, 250 Supercross champion Cooper Webb is mired deep in sixth, 38 points behind the leader, after finishing fifth at Hangtown and sixth at Pala and Thunder Valley. This week the focus shift from winning and making a run at the title to simply earning a podium.

With the controversy from Thunder Valley put to rest and no penalty handed down to Adam Cianciarulo for shortening the course, the 250 class leader remains undefeated. The first three rounds have all gone the same way with Justin Cooper winning Moto 1 and Cianciarulo winning Moto 2.

There are no former winners entered in the 250 class this week, which means a new winner is guaranteed.

Siting 11th in the points, Shane McElrath will miss High Point because of a practice crash. Jordan Smith (14th) will also miss this week’s race and is out for an undetermined length of time as he undergoes surgery to fix tendons in his right wrist.

MORE: Cole Seely out for the remainder of the season

Schedule:

Qualifiers: 10:15 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold
Race: Live, 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold (Moto 1), 450 Moto 2 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC and NBC Sports Gold, switching to NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold at 4 p.m. ET.

June 1 – 2019 Thunder Valley Motocross Park

450: Ken Roczen (1-2) won over Eli Tomac (5-1) and Zach Osborne (2-4).
250: Adam Cianciarulo (2-1) won over Justin Cooper (1-2) and Michael Mosiman (4-3).

June 16, 2018 – High Point

450: Eli Tomac (2-1) defeated Marvin Musquin (1-2) and Justin Barcia (3-5).
250: Aaron Plessinger (1-1) beat Austin Forkner (4-2) and Justin Cooper (3-4).

Overall Wins

450:
[2] Ken Roczen (Hangtown, Thunder Valley)
[1] Eli Tomac (Pala)

250:
[3] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown, Pala, Thunder Valley)

Moto Wins

450:
[4] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & II, Thunder Valley II)
[2] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I)

250:
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[3] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley II)

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Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.