Morgan Kane, Grave Digger dominate St. Louis Monster Jam

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Morgan Kane in Grave Digger won his second consecutive event championship in the Monster Jam Series Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at the Dome America’s Center. With overall wins in both nights, Kane gained a 10-point advantage over Neil Elliott in the Max-D truck.

“This is what it’s about man,” Kane said after winning at St. Louis. “Full-on teamwork here. We came a way with two overalls this weekend. Both shows. The sweep; won racing. We brought it home North Carolina style.”

This was the second show for the Stadium Series Green tour. Kane finished third overall January 11 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

On Saturday Kane got off to a strong start with a second-place finish in the racing competition and a win in freestyle. Racing around a figure-eight style course against Ryan Anderson in Son-Uva Grave Digger, Kane drifted slight left as Anderson squared off the corner to score his fourth race competition win in five tries.

Neil Elliott in Max-D did his best to maintain the points’ lead by winning the Skills Challenge, but it all came down to the freestyle in one of the closest margins in Monster Jam history.

Kane beat Elliott in the freestyle by 1/1000ths of a point in a decision based on fan voting.

How did he get there?

“Consistency,” Kane told NBC Sports. “Everything about Monster Jam events is focused around being consistent. Fill 30 seconds with safe jumps. At 75 seconds I’ll head for the backflip, then try to fill the rest of my freestyle with a crazy save and huge air.

“That’s my plan every time.”

On Sunday, Grave Digger and Kane were back on top of the board in the race competition. He was supposed to match up again Anderson for the second straight night, but the engine on the Son-Uva Grave Digger expired and put BroDozer on the  track with Cam McQueen behind the wheel.

McQueen came up one position shy of winning the race competition, but he made up for that with his first skills’ win of the season in the second round of competition. With a quick engine change and service, Son-Uva Digger was back on track for the freestyle competition.

Upcoming TV Schedule (All showings on NBCSN)

Houston: February 4 (Tuesday); 6 p.m.
Tampa: February 11 (Tuesday); 10:30 p.m.
Indianapolis: February 18 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Oakland: February 22 (Saturday); 11:30 p.m.
Miami: March 1 (Sunday); 12 a.m.
Jacksonville: March 9 (Monday); 6 p.m.
Detroit: March 21 (Saturday); 11 p.m.
Las Vegas: March 28 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Santa Clara: April 11 (Saturday); 7 p.m.
Philadelphia: April 17 (Friday); 2:30 p.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: May 19 (Tuesday); 4 p.m.
Monster Jam World Freestyle: May 20 (Wednesday); 12 a.m.
Monster Jam World Finals: June 20 (Saturday); 2:30 p.m.

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.