Adam Cianciarulo enters 2020 Supercross with weight off his shoulders

Vanessa O'Brien. KawasakiUSA

Adam Cianciarulo cast a long shadow over the 250 field last year, but he feels much lighter entering the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season. He lost a few pounds when he grabbed the 2019 Motocross championship, but the weight really fell off when he won the Monster Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas in October.

Making his senior class debut on a 450, against competition he’d idolized for years, on a track with three different configurations, the pressure should have built exponentially from race to race. He finished second in Moto 1 behind the rider everyone expected to win the overall, but when Eli Tomac slipped to third in Moto 2, it set up a dramatic finish.

Cianciarulo finished second in Moto 2 behind Malcolm Stewart, who was adding his own drama to the event by winning his first race back after shattering his femur at Glendale early in the 2019 Supercross season. Stewart finished third in Moto 1, which put him in a three-way tie for first with Cianciarulo and Tomac. They all had a combined result of four.

It would come down to a winner-take-all Moto 3.

Cianciarulo had the least experience. He also felt he had the least pressure.

“My goal was to get a podium, so worst-case scenario I go out there and get third overall,” Cianciarulo said at this year’s Supercross Media Sessions. “That took the pressure off of my shoulders.

“I really feel that I perform my best when my back is against the wall. I’m just a little more focused; a little bit more locked in. I was excited with the way it came down and it made it exciting for the fans as well.”

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

It’s important for a rider to think he can win every race. Vegas was more important still after Cianciarulo fell during last year’s Supercross season finale, finished 20th overall, and handed the 250SX title over to Dylan Ferrandis.

He could have been devastated. Cianciarulo knew even then that his mistake was a career defining moment. He put it behind him and concentrated on the outdoor season.

Cianciarulo went to Hangtown two weeks later and won the first of four consecutive outdoor races.

“After getting through Vegas and realizing I was fine – I mean obviously it’s a tough life moment when you’re that close to achieving a lifelong goal – but to bounce back and win the outdoor championship, I have felt completely different as a person since then,” Cianciarulo said. “I feel like there has been so much weight that has been lifted off my shoulders. It almost feels like anything I do from here on out is a bonus. Which is weird to say because I just got to the premiere class, but that is how I feel.”

So he entered the Monster Cup happy to take anything the race offered. A podium would be fine. Anything else would be gravy.

And he won. Not only won, but did so in one of the biggest events of the year by holding off last season’s 450 MX champion Tomac. On a track that broke his heart in 2019.

“I was optimistic (entering the Monster Cup),” Cianciarulo said. “I went in there thinking I was going to be a contender – not knowing if I was going to win; my goal was more to get on the podium – but obviously it turned out great with Eli [Tomac] and I both putting on a good performance for the team. … Even though it’s not the start of the official season, it’s nice to start off a new chapter with a win.”

With the start of the Supercross season less than two weeks away, Cianciarulo won’t have to wait long to see if his optimism will continue to be rewarded. The 2020 season kicks off January 4 at Anaheim Stadium where he finished fifth in both races last year in the 250 West class.

As with the Monster Cup – anything on the podium will be a bonus.

More: Jason Anderson rolls into 2020 with an agenda
More: Adam Enticknap paves the way for the ‘Other 19’
More: Michael Mosiman expects magic in this third year

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World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws

The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)