Chad Reed winds down Supercross, looking toward racing sports cars

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Chad Reed arrived at Daytona International Speedway last Sunday morning on two and a half hours of sleep and with the lingering pain of a crash the previous night.

As the multitime champion of motocross and Supercross watched the closing laps of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, he was as chipper as anyone in the pits, despite having taken two flights in eight hours (including a redeye cross country from Phoenix to Charlotte) to reach the World Center of Racing.

“I don’t know that is the place or space to complain,” Reed told NBC Sports with a laugh. “I’m a little beat up. They tell me that’s part of it. You’re not going to get any sympathy here! These boys are deep into a 24-hour race.”

SHOWDOWN: Roczen and Tomac battle in Oakland

Three months from the end of his illustrious career in motorbikes, Reed is hoping to join the Rolex 24 field in the future.

He won the LB Cup championship in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Finals in Jerez, Spain, last year. That came a month after his debut in an IMSA-sanctioned Lamborghini race at Watkins Glen International, just a week after his first test in the car. Reed is hoping to accelerate the learning curve next year as he transitions into a full time sports-car career.

“I have some meetings (at Daytona) trying to really confirm and get everything sorted for 2020,” he said. “Winning the world finals in the Lamborghini Series last year and trying to take the momentum from that to stay in that series. Eventually the long-term goal is to try to come to Daytona. As an Australian, I’d love to do the Bathurst 12 Hour.

“But yeah, definitely sports car racing is where I really want to end up.”

After reinjuring his ribs in a first-turn crash in the final moto last Saturday at Glendale, Arizona, Reed unfortunately will miss his first race of the 2020 season tonight at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, California (qualifying at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold; race coverage at 8:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN).

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Update: Chad called me 5 times this morning to figure out whether to ride or rest this weekend. He is wired to ride- always! Today after much discussion between us -he made a decision to sit out this weekend. The goal for this One Last Ride was to ENJOY the ride with his fans. Off the track it’s been great but thus far it’s been miserable for him on the track. So instead of continuing to run himself to the ground like he normally would the decision was made to sit out and rest so he can get on top of this rib issue. Riding timid from his injury in Paris isn’t fun and it translates to wrong place and timing on the track too, resulting in re-injuring himself last weekend. Join me in supporting the 22 to get healed up so we can watch him truly enjoy the time on the track and do what we know he can! He is there in Oakland -go by the truck for Autographs & pictures! #onelastride @mountainmotorsports_ @cbdmd.usa @foxmoto @armasport @knobbyunderwear @boostaus @crtwotwo @supercrosslive Hopefully they’ll still let him take a lap in opening ceremonies! I know he and the fans would really love that!! ❤️

A post shared by Ellie Reed 2️⃣2️⃣ (@mrstwotwo) on

That means there are possibly only 12 events left in the Supercross career of Reed, who announced before the Jan. 4 opener that his 18th season would be his last.

Reed will turn 38 on March 15 and holds the record for most Supercross starts with more than 250. He admits that “no one has raced more races than I have, and there’s a reason why you’re not that competitive this later on,” but he doesn’t believe his age has impacted his results.

“It’s just all preparation,” he said. ‘My preparation for the season has just been terrible. I’ve been dealing with broken ribs. Right when I was getting back from broken ribs, I broke ribs again. And so yeah, it just has been really challenging.”

Last year, Reed had a best of third but missed the final five races after breaking his shoulder and several ribs in a hard crash in Seattle. The fourth winningest rider in Supercross history has a best finish of 18th through four events in 2020.

“You can look at it and go, ‘Oh, it’s less than par, less than what you’ve ever had,’ but I race in the moment and enjoy each and every weekend,” said Reed, who won championships in 2004 and ’08 in Supercross’ premier class. “The fans still love you the same. That’s probably the biggest eye-opener for me is finally coming to that realization that it’s not all about the numbers on paper.

“It’s about sometimes just showing up and embracing the final go-round.”

Reed certainly is embracing his racing future. He was a guest at the Rolex 24 of Wright Motorsports, which fielded the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R in GTD. In its lineup was Ryan Hardwick, who co-drove with Reed on the Lamborghini circuit.

Reed has two sponsors (Mountain Motorsports and CBDMD) that are interested in following him to sports cars, but he said he probably wouldn’t be in IMSA next season.

“At this point, time in a race is more important than getting into a GTD car,” he said. “I think you should always have to earn it. I think I need to prove I can do what it takes and show the skillset that it takes to be here with these guys. Hopefully that transition goes smooth. It’s never going to be easy. You spend your life on two wheels, and everyone else have grown up on go-karts. But at the end of the day a racing mentality is racing. So hopefully I can transition over.

“More than anything it’s just opportunity. I really want to do it, but the opportunity has to be there to be in a good car and good team. A lot of things that you miss growing up, those guys can fast-track you. If you just do it to do it, then you run into issues. That’s really the goal is putting yourself in the correct places so the opportunity, you can make the most of it.”

In the meantime, Reed plans to take advantage of his motorsports connections of living in the Charlotte area, where he and his family moved last year. He is tight with many in the NASCAR community, including Max Papis and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, and is looking forward to go-karting with them.

“I really love the area, my kids love it, my wife loves it,” he said. “You can’t live in a better area as far as all my motorsport friends. Soon I’ll have a lot of time on my hands, so I’ll be able to actually do the things that they’re all doing.”

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Anaheim 2: Ken Roczen is consistency’s king

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Strength is found not only in outright wins, but also through consistency, which contributed to the rise of Ken Roczen in the SuperMotocross Rankings after Anaheim 2.

Roczen ended the 2022 Supercross season with the knowledge that he urgently needed change, so he declared himself a free agent, signed with Suzuki during the offseason and set upon 2023 with renewed determination. It worked. Roczen is one of three riders in the 450 class with a sweep of the top five and that consistency has given him the lead in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

SuperMotocross Rankings Anaheim 2
Like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield wall, Ken Roczen pointed his way to the Power Rankings lead. – Feld Motor Sports

This formula rewards riders who compete at the front of the pack at the end of the Mains, in their heats, or in last week’s case, the three motos that make up the Triple Crown. Roczen has improved his overall performance each week with a fifth in Anaheim 1, a fourth in San Diego and his first podium of 2023 in Anaheim 2. Can he keep the trend alive with a first- or second-place finish in Houston?

A fall is all it takes sometimes. Last week, Eli Tomac tumbled hard when he pushed wide on the exit of a turn and jumped on top of a Tuff Blox. He remounted after that incident in Race 3 of the Triple Crown, but could only manage a 13th-place result in the moto. It could have been much worse and resulted in an injury, but coupled with a sixth in the overall standings at Anaheim 2, it pushed him down a spot in the SuperMotocross Ranking.

Along with Roczen (and Chase Sexton), Cooper Webb swept the top five in Supercross’ first three rounds. He is knocking on the door of a win and it won’t take long for him to ascend to the top of the box. Webb has two victories in Houston and each of them came during a championship season.

If there is a more determined rider than Jason Anderson, get out of his way. His path to the front of the pack is not always lined with primroses since he often has to pass multiple riders with whom he has had a run-in during his path, but the SuperMotocross Power Rankings are concerned only with raw results – not intention – and Anaheim 2 was Anderson’s best race of the season. He earned his first top-five and first podium with a second-place finish that was aided by a moto win.

MORE: Triple Crown format shakes up A2’s finishing order

Dylan Ferrandis has also been a model of consistency. Last week his Triple Crown effort of 4-6-5 gave him an overall finish of fifth. That came on the heels of a fourth-place result in the season opener and a sixth in San Diego. With no result worse than sixth this season, the numbers add up quite well.

Sexton’s position just outside the top five this week is entirely attributable to his last-place result in the San Diego heat. The SuperMotocross Rankings looks at the past 45 days, so that will affect him for a while, but if he continues to ride like he did in Anaheim 2, he’s going to climb quickly despite that albatross around his neck.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Driver Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Ken Roczen 84.63 3 2
2. Eli Tomac
[2 Main; 2 Heat wins]
83.25 1 -1
3. Cooper Webb 82.25 2 -1
4. Jason Anderson
[1 Heat win]
80.63 5 1
5. Dylan Ferrandis 78.75 4 -1
6. Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat wins]
77.75 9 3
7. Justin Barcia 67.88 6 -1
8. Aaron Plessinger 67.63 8 0
9. Adam Cianciarulo 67.25 7 -2
10. Joey Savatgy 61.00 11 1
10. Marvin Musquin 61.00 12 2
12. Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat win]
58.75 13 1
13. Christian Craig 56.13 14 1
14. Colt Nichols 56.00 10 -4
15. Dean Wilson 47.50 15 0
16. Tristan Lane 41.00 18 2
17. Grant Harlan 40.67 19 2
18. Justin Hill 40.57 16 -2
19. Logan Karnow 36.50 20 1
20. Alex Ray 36.00 21 1

Supercross Points


The 250 West riders get a couple of weeks off before heading to Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 and several of them need the rest. Tough weeks for Cameron McAdoo and RJ Hampshire forced them to lose ground in the SuperMotocross points to Jett Lawrence at a time that could prove to play mental games.

Lawrence also had his share of issues at Anaheim 2, but overcame early falls in the first two motos and finished no worse than sixth. Considering that he dropped to the tail of the field in Race 2, that was a remarkable accomplishment and he entered the final race with a shot at the overall win. He narrowly missed that mark, but still has not finished worse than second in three rounds. His lead in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings is safe.

Cameron McAdoo rode with injury in all three Triple Crown motos, so his sixth-place finish was a moral victory. Cameron McAdoo, Instagram

McAdoo said it best in an Instagram post this week: “Woke up feeling grateful that I’m relatively healthy after my big mistake during qualifying yesterday. We made the decision that it would be safe for me to race so I did everything I possibly could to get through the night ending up [sixth overall]. We will work on getting healed up in these few weeks off to come back strong for Oakland!”

With results of 8-7-5 in the Triple Crown and his combined sixth-place result, McAdoo lost significant ground to Lawrence in both the points’ standings and our Power formula. The Oakland race is going to be critical if he wants to stay in the championship hunt because the series will have a long break before returning in Seattle for Round 11. No one wants to sit with negative feelings for that long.

Mitchell Oldenburg has quietly amassed some impressive numbers. His name has not been called a lot during broadcasts, but he has not finished worse than seventh in any of the first three rounds. Themes develop during a season and weekend – and for the moment, this one revolves around reliability. Oldenburg finished 5-4-6 in Anaheim 2 which means he has consistently amassed SuperMotocross Power Rankings points.

Stilez Robertson won his first race of the season in Moto 2 of the Triple Crown. Coupled with a third-place finish in the final race, he leapfrogged Hampshire and Enzo Lopes, both of whom had disappointing outings. He stands fifth in the points’ standing mostly due to a ninth-place finish in the season opener, but each race has been progressively better and that is a good sign.

Sometimes, all it takes is a taste of success. Prior to Anaheim 2, Levi Kitchen’s best Supercross finish was a seventh earned in this year’s season opener. He scored a ninth at Minneapolis last year, but that was not enough to put him on the radar. This early in the season, one strong run can sway the SuperMotocross Power Ranking significantly, but Robertson has earned his way into the top five. More importantly, he’s going to be the object of interest when the West series returns to Oakland.

Next week the 250 East riders mount up in Houston, Texas before they head to Tampa, Florida. The Power Rankings will combine the two divisions, so the riders below are likely to shift dramatically.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Driver Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat wins]
89.13 1 0
2. Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 3 1
3. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 5 2
4. Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
76.75 6 2
5. Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main win]
73.75 12 7
6. RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat wins]
70.00 2 -4
7. Max Vohland – W 69.29 8 1
8. Derek Kelley – W 63.75 10 2
9. Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 4 -5
10. Pierce Brown – W 61.29 13 3
11. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 7 -4
12. Dylan Walsh – W 56.00 9 -3
13. Cole Thompson – W 51.00 11 -2
14. Robbie Wageman – W 50.75 15 1
15. Anthony Rodriguez – W 49.00 14 -1
16. Ty Masterpool – W 47.50 16 0
17. Kaeden Amerine – W 47.50 16 -1
18. Dominique Thury – W 47.00 18 0
19. Austin Forkner – W 43.00 20 1
20. Derek Drake – W 42.33 21 1

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Ken Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage