Rich Shepherd, ProMotocross

Spreading the Motocross wealth

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The 2019 450 season has been dominated by Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, but in the past few weeks other riders have been making a considerable amount of noise.

Roczen drew first blood by winning at Hangtown and for the next three races those two riders alternated wins and dominated the Moto victories. Between them, they have now won eight of the first 10 Motos.

But the last two weeks have witnessed fresh faces on the top step of the podium.

Last week’s victory by Marvin Musquin marked the first time someone other than Tomac or Roczen broke into Victory Lane. Musquin won Moto 1 – becoming only the fourth different rider to win a Moto this year. He finished third in Moto 2 to secure his overall victory.

Musquin winning was not exactly a surprise, however. He is one of the seven riders so far this season who swept the top 10. And with a second-place finish at Pala and a worst of sixth at Hangtown and High Point, he has never been very far back from the leaders.

Zach Osborne, Jason Anderson, Cooper Webb and Justin Barcia are the other riders with perfect records of top-10s and they occupy the top seven positions in the standings.

While there have been seven riders who have swept the top 10, that has left the door open for seven others to make their mark.

The assault on Tomac and Roczen actually began at High Point in Round 4. Blake Baggett became the first rider other than Tomac or Roczen to win a Moto. He fell in Moto 2 and dropped to 15th, but that was enough to give him a seventh-place overall finish.

With the exception of the mistake at High Point that cost him an opportunity to score a top-five, Baggett’s consistency is what has allowed him keep the leaders in sight. Baggett has finished between seventh and 10th four times this year and that places him eighth in the standings.

A disastrous Moto 1 at Pala in Round 2 kept Baggett from joining the seven riders who’ve swept the top 10.

Rounding out the top 10 in points are Dean Ferris and Justin Bogle and like Baggett, they secured their spot among the elite with a majority of strong runs.

Justin Bogle finished ninth at High Point. Jeff Kardas, ProMotocross

On the strength of top-10s at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, and WW Ranch last week, Ferris sits ninth in the standings. Consistency has been one of Ferris’ hallmarks this season with all five of his efforts landing between eighth and 11th.

Bogle’s three top-10s came at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, and High Point – but he has been unable to finish better than ninth this season and is a relatively distant 10th in the points – 15 markers behind Ferris. Bogle’s consistency rivaled Ferris until last week. In the first four rounds of the season, he finished between ninth and 12th; last week he fell to 15th with a pair of modest Motos in the sandy soil of Florida.

Fredrik Noren is the only other rider with a pair of top-10s. He finished ninth at Pala and WW Ranch and those two strong runs played a role in securing him a ride with the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team this week in Southwick.

Justin Hill (seventh at Pala), Joey Savatgy (eighth at High Point) and Cole Seely (10th at Pala) round out the riders with top-10 finishes this season.

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.