Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac bring the battle to Oakland

Feld Entertainment Inc.
0 Comments

Ken Roczen looks to extend his eight-point lead over Eli Tomac when the Monster Energy Supercross Series heads into RingCentral Coliseum Oakland, Calif. Saturday night for Round 5.

After finishing second or third six times in 2019 without winning, Roczen has now won two of the first four races of 2020 and appears to be in control of the season. Last week’s overall win at Glendale with a sweep of the three races served notice that he is much stronger and more focused this year. With his effort, Roczen became the first rider to sweep a 450 Triple Crown event.

Tomac won a critical Round 3, however, and has a penchant for overcoming deficits, so he cannot be discounted. He finished fourth at Oakland last year.

Meanwhile last year’s champion Cooper Webb is 20 points out of the lead and desperately needs a podium to stop his slide.

Last year Webb’s win at Oakland preceded his championship. In 2018 Jason Anderson also won Oakland before taking the championship, so this race could be pivotal.

Blake Baggett will look to extend his league-leading streak of starts this week. At Glendale, he made his 57th straight main. Baggett stood on the Oakland podium last year with a third.

Tomac is second on the active list with 36.

Austin Forkner has had an uneven start to his season, but he keeps bouncing back with wins in alternating weeks. He made a statement at Glendale with dominant wins in the first two races and has an opportunity to finally gain some momentum in Oakland.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

Cameron McAdoo is expected to return to action at Oakland after sustaining a collapsed lung in a crash at St. Louis.

Glendale proved to be a critical race for injuries, Chris Blose crashed in the third race of the Triple Crown in the whoops. He sustained multiple injuries including a concussion, liver damage, a hip injury and one to his arm. Despite the multiple injuries, Blose would like to return before the season concludes.

Blose is joined on the concussion protocol by Justin Bogle and Benny Bloss.

Bogle crashed in the second race. Bloss crashed in qualification. Both riders expect to return before the Supercross season is over.

Deven Raper sprained an ankle in practice before Glendale. He will not race in Oakland.

Christian Craig sustained a hand injury in a Glendale crash and will miss at least the next two weeks.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 2:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Ken Roczen beat Eli Tomac and Jason Anderson in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Dylan Ferrandis and Michael Mosiman in the 250 class.

Last Oakland race (January, 2019):

Cooper Webb beat Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo beat Dylan Ferrandis and Colt Nichols in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Ken Roczen (92)
Eli Tomac (84)
Justin Barcia (81)
Jason Anderson (78)
Cooper Webb (72)

250 West:
Justin Cooper (86)
Dylan Ferrandis (83)
Brandon Hartranft (77)
Austin Forkner (76)
Alex Martin (66)

Wins

450

(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)
(1) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2)

250 West

(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)
(1) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2)

Top-5s

450

(4) Jason Anderson
(3) Ken Roczen
(3) Eli Tomac
(3) Cooper Webb
(3) Justin Barcia
(2) Zach Osborne
(1) Adam Cianciarulo
(1) Blake Baggett

250 West

(3) Justin Cooper
(3) Austin Forkner
(3) Dylan Ferrandis
(3) Michael Mosiman
(3) Brandon Hartranft
(2) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
4 Comments

Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”