Marvin Musquin wins at WW Ranch, Eli Tomac takes points lead

Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross
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In hot and humid conditions, riders have to find the right pace to make it to the end of the day. With his Moto 1 win at WW Ranch Motocross Park in Jacksonville, Fla. and a third in Moto 2, Marvin Musquin claimed the overall victory over the new points leader Eli Tomac. And in doing so, Musquin became the first rider to win an overall beside the two riders who entered the Round 5 tied at the top of the leaderboard.

It was Musquin’s first win of the season and his first since Unadilla last year.

Musquin was chasing Tomac for the Moto win to sweep the event, but in the final third of the race he began to fade.

“I tried my best and ran out of energy a little bit,” Musquin told NBCSN after the race. “The track was demanding. It was tough. So to pick up the pace was difficult.”

Tomac won Moto 2 to finish second overall – but that was not the big surprise of the afternoon. With a terrible start to the start of Moto 1, Tomac completed Lap 1 18th and must have seen his championship start to unravel. He was barely able to recover for a seventh.

“It was the result of a really bad start in the first Moto,” Tomac said after the race. “I didn’t even move when I let out the clutch; I just didn’t go anywhere with the sand.”

While Tomac collected himself after his poor start, Ken Roczen kept the leader in sight after a thrilling handlebar-to-handlebar battle at the halfway point with Musquin that saw both of the Frenchman’s feet come off the pedals. Roczen finished second in Moto 2 and banked 22 points. At the conclusion of that race, Tomac briefly fell eight points out of first.

Moto 2 would prove to be even more disastrous for Roczen than Moto 1 was for Tomac. He fell to 10th at the end of the race and banked only 11 points as Tomac rode to the win. When it was all over, Tomac left Jacksonville with a six-point advantage.

Zach Osborne mounted a late-race charge and tried to deny Tomac the Moto win and three of his points. After finishing fifth in Moto 2, he was forced to settle for third overall.

Coming back from injury, Jason Anderson (3-4) podiumed in his first race and finished fourth overall.

Cooper Webb (4-5) rounded out the top five.

Roczen’s disappointing Moto 2 relegated him to sixth overall.

450 Moto 1 Results
450 Moto 2 Results
450 Overall Results
Points Standings

Justin Cooper is the bridesmaid no more.

After winning Moto 1 in the first three rounds, but falling behind points’ leader Adam Cianciarulo each time, he was even more frustrated last week with a ninth-place finish overall.

This week, he gave up the Moto win to score the overall with a 2-2. It was a hard fought victory after which the rider was forced to complete his interview sitting next to his bike, gasping for breath.

“Got out front. Man it felt good,” Cooper said haltingly on NBCSN after finishing second in the Moto 2. “That was the longest event of my life. I can barely stand up right now. I’m about to pass out. It’s so hot right now. Just want to give it up to my whole team.”

Cooper shaved eight points off Cianciarulo’s advantage and served notice that it will not be as easy as the leader might have imagined.

Wedged between the two points’ contenders, Dylan Ferrandis scored his first Moto win of the season in in the second race. Coupled with a fourth in Moto 1, he handily beat Cianciarulo for the second rung on the overall podium.

Like Tomac in the 450 class, Cianciarulo was handicapped with a bad start in Moto 1. Riding eighth at the end of Lap 1, he was also forced to charge forward.  Finishing 5-3, this was the rider’s worst performance of the year on his home track.

“There wasn’t a whole lot wrong with me today,” a collected Cianciarulo said. “They were just ripping. This speaks to their skill on the bike. I didn’t feel too great all day. I didn’t gel with the track. My body didn’t feel real good.

“It’s just one of those days that’s tough. You’re going to have them over the course of a long season.”

Michael Mosiman (3-5) and Hunter Lawrence (8-4) rounded out the top five.

Chase Sexton won Moto 1, but could barely mount his bike for Moto 2 after suffering heat exhaustion. He made a pair of laps around the track and was then forced into the pits when it became obvious he would not earn any points in the second race.

Derek Drake earned the holeshot in Moto 1 and pulled away from Cooper – then fell on Lap 3 hard enough to bend the bike.

250 Moto 1 Results
250 Moto 2 Results
250 Overall Results
Points Standings

Moto Wins

450MX
[5] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I)

250MX
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)
[1] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II)

Next race: The Wick 338, Southwick Mass, June 29

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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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.