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Michael Mosiman expects magic in his third year

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“I’ve been processing this idea of what motivates me during the time when I’m in the middle of the grunt work of the off season,” Michael Mosiman said on Tuesday at the annual Supercross media sessions.

He didn’t have to think long.

“The thing that is central to who I am is my faith in God,” Mosiman said. “I’m a Christian and that means a lot to me. It’s an interesting piece that a lot of people are not particularly vocal about.”

Mosiman is in his third season riding for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team and he has shown steady progression along the way.

In 2018, he qualified for six Supercross Mains, scoring one top-10 in the process. That came midway through the season in March at St Louis.

In 2019, Mosiman advanced to 10 Mains, including two of the Showdown races at Atlanta in March and at Las Vegas in the finale. The Showdown races draw twice the number of competitive riders and – as a result of the big entry list – are obviously more difficult to advance from the Heats.

Mosiman did not have to wait until mid-season for his second career top-10; he finished 10th in the second race of 2019 at Glendale, was eighth at Anaheim 2, and seventh the next week in Oakland.

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Seattle in March was his high-point. Mosiman came up only one position shy of standing on the podium.

“I had a really rough morning,” Mosiman said. “I crashed three times in the first practice. I was hurting pretty bad, so to go out and have my best finish of fourth was like ‘whoa, what just happened.’ I’m just feeling terrible and then go out to have one of the best I’ve ever had.”

What happened was Mosiman’s tapped into his ability to focus.

The best races for the young rider come organically.

“I actually took this test (during the off season),” Mosiman said. “It’s called a caliber test. … I rated a 98 for levelheadedness.

“Some of my worst finishes come after I emotionally don’t engage as much as when I take in the facts. The bummer part is that although I don’t have as big a down, when it’s great success I find that other people around me are more excited than I am. I want to have that thrill, but I’m so levelheaded that it’s like,” Mosiman switched to a matter-of-fact voice: “that’s Awesome. Glad it went well. Where are we going for dinner?”

Mosiman felt that he had an even better race in Denver in April. He earned the hole shot and led a significant portion of the race before finishing fifth.

For complete coverage of the 2020 Supercross season practices, heats and features, check out the Supercross Gold Pass.

In the season finale at Las Vegas, he earned his seventh top-10 of the year.

“The third year tends to be a magical number for a lot of guys.”

But it requires Mosiman continuing to find his center. Or rather, to remember to tap into the center that is always there.

“I find that when I feel like I’m riding my easiest and my slowest is when I’m going my fastest and best, “Mosiman said. “Something I’m really coming to terms with right now is that as soon as I try to push it – say someone is catching me from behind – and I go, ‘that’s not right; I need to step up the pace’, I can step up the pace but I’ll probably make more mistakes and it ends up being slower.

“So the real way to do it is that rather than to step it up from a stressed-out place – to be cleaner and to do it from a more calm state. … I mentally see that by hitting my lines, it will come together.”

And ultimately, finding that center comes back to faith.

It’s “the motivation to not cut corners when it can be so easy to do so,” Mosiman said. “The motivation to do the right thing and not just the easy thing.”

In Supercross nothing is easy. Twenty-two riders make the Main, but as many riders fail to advance to the Feature as make it.

Indy Lights: Kyle Kirkwood joins Andretti Autosport

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One of the Road to Indy’s most talented young drivers will climb another step up the development system ladder this season.

Kyle Kirkwood, the 2019 Indy Pro 2000 champion, has signed a contract to race for Andretti Autosport in the 2020 Indy Lights season. Kirkwood will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.

A native of Jupiter, Florida, 21-year-old Kirkwood has been incredibly successful in junior formulas over the last few years. He won the F4 US Championship 2017 and won both the F3 Americas and USF2000 titles in 2018.

Driving for RP Motorsport Racing, Kirkwood won 9 of 16 races in his maiden Indy Pro 2000 season last year, allowing him to win his fourth championship in three years and earn the Road to Indy scholarship.

“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” Andretti Autosport CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti said. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”

Kirkwood previously drove for Andretti in a two-day test session at Sebring International Raceway in December. He will make his official debut for the team in the season-opening doubleheader at St. Petersburg on March 14-15.

“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” Kirkwood said. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020.

“We are a fantastic match for each other and our Sebring test in December proved that.”

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