Ken Roczen, Dylan Ferrandis win at Unadilla

ProMotocross.com
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Ken Roczen scored his third overall victory of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at Unadilla, NY, while deep in the field the championship battle intensified.

Eli Tomac scored the hole shot in Moto 1, but it did not take long for Roczen to get around the points leader. Once in the lead, he scooted out to a comfortable lead and was not challenged for the remainder of the race. Roczen built an advantage of nearly 20 seconds during that moto and finished more than 15 seconds ahead of Marvin Musquin.

Roczen scored his first moto win in six weeks. He did not have to wait as long for his next moto victory and scored a perfect finish of 1-1.

“Honestly I haven’t done anything in the last two weeks,” Roczen told NBC Sports Gold after the race. “Obviously I want the season to be done so I can give my body a rest.”

Roczen has been struggling with fatigue all season and practiced only twice during the previous two weeks.

Tomac enter the weekend with a considerable lead of 50 points. With that, he had a full race weekend advantage over the field. But he squandered it in the first moto.

When caught by Roczen, Tomac did not put up much of a fight. He was not particularly scrappy when challenged by Musquin – nor when he succumbed to Zach Osborne and Justin Barcia a little bit later. On the final lap, Tomac was passed by teammate Joey Savatgy and fell to seventh. That matches his worst moto finish of the season.

Tomac rebounded with a third in Moto 2 that was enough for fourth overall. This is only the second time this season that he has not stood on the overall podium.

“My body was better (in the second moto),” Tomac said. “The first moto, I struggled with my body and I got really tight. I was kind of just along for the ride. I guess it’s a good thing we had those 50 points coming into here.”

Musquin was poised to win Moto 2 and the overall until the middle of the race. He lead early until a stuck throttle sent him momentarily off course and allowed Roczen to sweep past. Musquin settled into second and with a 2-2 scored 44 points to trim 10 off Tomac’s lead.

With a 4-4, Osborne’s consistency was enough to give him third overall.

“I felt really good today,” Osborne said. “This track was exceptionally gnarly. It’s always pretty gnarly, but today was hardest I’ve ever ridden it.”

Behind Tomac, Jason Anderson (5-5) rounded out the top five.

In Moto 1, Cooper Webb took a hard landing as he tried to avoid a slower rider. Injuring his knee, he was not around for the second race because he was on his way to the hospital for an MRI.

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

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Dylan Ferrandis earned his fourth overall victory, but he failed to make up any points on the championship leader.

“Today the track was difficult,” Ferrandis said. “Was firm, a really nice motocross track but it was rough with ruts. One of the most difficult dry tracks I’ve ever ridden. The setup was not perfect in the first moto and we improved a little bit in the second one and I think that was a big help.

“I took the holeshot. That was also a big help.”

In order to have a shot at the championship, Ferrandis needed to be perfect in the final three rounds and watch Adam Cianciarulo have a little trouble.

Ferrandis did his part. Finishing second in Moto 1 and winning the second race for his seventh moto win of the season, he was as close to perfection as can reasonably be expected. It was Ferrandis second straight win at Unadilla. He now needs to make up 28 points in the final two rounds to win the title.

Where Ferrandis came up short is where he had no control.

Cianciarulo served notice immediately that he will not make things easy on Ferrandis. Also winning his seventh moto of the season with the first race victory, he then finished second in Moto 2. In the second race, he matched Ferrandis lap for lap. In fact, the best lap time for both riders was identical to the thousandth of a second.

“There were a lot of ‘moments’ – in every moto, I think you guys know by now, but I just tried my best,” Cianciarulo said after the conclusion of Moto 1. “It was super important. I knew Dylan was going to be behind me and I wanted to get around Justin. He made a mistake. I almost did the same thing in the same spot. The track is pretty treacherous.”

In Moto 1, Justin Cooper took the early lead, but was passed by Cianciarulo and Ferrandis with 19 minutes remaining when he went down in the rollers.

Chase Sexton took the final step on the podium with a 3-3 finish.

Justin Cooper (4-4) and Colt Nichols (5-6) rounded out the top five.

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

Moto Wins

450MX
[8] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II, RedBud I, Washougal I & II)
[5] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, Unadilla I & II)
[3] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I, RedBud II)
[2] Cooper Webb (Spring Creek I & II)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (The Wick II)

250MX
[7] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I, Spring Creek II, Unadilla I)
[7] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II, RedBud I & II, Washougal I & II, Unadilla II)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I, Spring Creek I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

Next race: Budds Creek Motocross Park, Mechanicsville, MD, August 17

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Cadillac, Acura battle for top speed as cars back on track for Rolex 24 at Daytona practice

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The new hybrid prototypes of Cadillac and Acura battled atop the speed chart as practice resumed Thursday for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Chip Ganassi Racing driver Richard Westbrook was fastest Thursday afternoon in the No. 02 Cadillac V-LMDh with a 1-minute, 35.185-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway.

That pace topped Ricky Taylor’s 1:35.366 lap that topped the Thursday morning session that marked the first time the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was back on track since qualifying Sunday afternoon that concluded the four-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 test.

In a final session Thursday night, Matt Campbell was fastest (1:35.802) in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963 but still was off the times set by Westbrook and Taylor.

Punctuated by Tom Blomqvist’s pole position for defending race winner Meyer Shank Racing, the Acura ARX-06s had been fastest for much of the Roar and led four consecutive practice sessions.

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

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But the times have been extremely tight in the new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) category that has brought hybrid engines to IMSA’s premier class. Only 0.9 seconds separated the nine LMDh cars in GTP in qualifying, and though the spread slightly widened to 1.378 seconds in Thursday’s practices with teams on varying strategies and preparation, Westbrook still pooh-poohed the importance of speeds.

“It’s always nice to be at the top, but I don’t think it means too much or read too much into it” Westbrook said. “Big fuel tanks in the GTP class this year, so you have no idea what fuel levels people are running. We had a good run, and the car is really enjoyable to drive now. I definitely wasn’t saying that a month ago.

“It really does feel good now. We are working on performance and definitely unlocking some potential, and it just gives us more confidence going into the race. It’s going to be super tight. Everyone’s got the same power, everyone has the same downforce, everyone has the same drag levels and let’s just go race.”

Because teams have put such a premium on reliability, handling mostly has suffered in the GTPs, but Westbrook said the tide had turned Thursday.

“These cars are so competitive, and you were just running it for the sake of running it in the beginning, and there’s so much going on, you don’t really have time to work on performance,” he said. “A lot of emphasis was on durability in the beginning, and rightly so, but now finally we can work on performance, and that’s the same for other manufacturers as well. But we’re worrying about ourselves and improving every run, and I think everybody’s pretty happy with their Cadillac right now.”

Mike Shank, co-owner of Blomqvist’s No. 60 on the pole, said his team still was facing reliability problems despite its speed.

“We address them literally every hour,” Shank said. “We’re addressing some little thing we’re doing better to try to make it last. And also we’re talking about how we race the race, which will be different from years past.

“Just think about every system in the car, I’m not going to say which ones we’re working on, but there are systems in the car that ORECA and HPD are continually trying to improve. By the way, sometimes we put them on the car and take them off before it even goes out on the track because something didn’t work with electronics. There’s so much programming. So many departments have to talk to each other. That bridge gets broken from a code not being totally correct, and the car won’t run. Or the power steering turns off.”

Former Rolex 24 winner Renger van der Zande of Ganassi said it still is a waiting game until the 24-hour race begins Saturday shortly after 1:30 p.m.

“I think the performance of the car is good,” van der Zande said. “No drama. We’re chipping away on setup step by step and the team is in control. It’s crazy out there what people do on the track at the moment. It’s about staying cool and peak at the right moment, and it’s not the right moment yet for that. We’ll keep digging.”


PRACTICE RESULTS:

Click here for Session I (by class)

Click here for Session II (by class)

Click here for Session III (by class)

Combined speeds