Cooper Webb is back with first 2020 win at San Diego

Feld Entertainment Inc

Two weeks ago pundits were ready to write off the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross champion Cooper Webb. Then he passed Ken Roczen for second in the final corner at Oakland last week. He improved by one more spot in San Diego at PETCO Park in San Diego, Calif. to win his first race of the 2020 season Saturday night.

More rewarding still, he did it by passing Adam Cianciarulo – a rival that has plagued him since their amateur days.

“Sometimes I need to get pissed off and that’s what happened,” Webb said on NBCSN after the race. “I was mad as a hornet and came to the gate and just had that confidence.

“I got to the lead early and then Adam made a good, aggressive move to the inside. I just kind of let him go. I knew the track was going to be hard to pass. I knew it was going to be a long Main. I tried to make a pass earlier, but we played a little cat and mouse.”

Cianciarulo led 18 of 20 minutes. He fended off numerous challenges, but Webb had two advantages. He has more experience in the 450 class and he was able to study Cianciarulo for most of the race.

Cianciarulo could hear what was happening behind him, but could not quite visualize where Webb was making up ground. It was only after Webb made the pass that AC realized he was beating him in the whoops by jumping them 3-4-4.

“I’m really proud of myself because I made significant steps forward between the heat race and the main event,” Cianciarulo said afterward. “I felt super good up front. Cooper and I got a little spike of the heartrate in the beginning going back and forth. I knew it was going to be a long Main, but I felt I adapted well.”

That adaptation gave Cianciarulo his second podium of the season. He finished second in the opener at Anaheim.

Blake Baggett felt he left a little on the table, but it wasn’t much. He crossed under the checkers third for his first podium of the season. His previous best came in A1 with a fourth.

Meanwhile, Roczen and Tomac started outside the top five. Entering the race one-two in the points, it was expected that they would challenge for the win, but a bad start for both shifted the battle to deep in the field. For most of the race they sliced through traffic together, but at the end Tomac was able to position a rider between himself and Roczen and cut the points’ lead to one.

Tomac finished fourth; Roczen was sixth.

Justin Barcia slotted into fifth.

Jason Anderson scored his first poor finish of the season in 14th. That ended a perfect record of top-five finishes.

Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five at San Diego and held onto the points lead. Feld Entertainment Inc.

Riding under the cloud of probation for an incident earlier in the year with Christian Craig, Dylan Ferrandis cannot afford to be overly aggressive.

And if one does not believe that makes a difference, rewind the DVR to the middle of the 250 Main at San Diego. On a faster bike, Ferrandis made a determined charge on Austin Forkner for several laps. He peeked inside and dropped back when it appeared the only way to pass would involve contact.

But with one minute remaining on the clock, Ferrandis could not afford to be patient any longer. He took Forkner’s line away, pushed his competitor high in a corner and scooted away . How much faster was Ferrandis? With one minute remaining plus a lap, Ferrandis built a more than six second lead.

“I couldn’t find any place to pass Austin,” Ferrandis said from the top step of the podium. “I tried many times and for sure I didn’t want to be too aggressive because of what happened before. I got a good start and … he put me high in the corner and got by him. First lap, he already tried to take me out. I tried to be patient. … I was ahead of him when I passed him so I think there’s no problem.

“I tried to ride clean and I hope (AMA Supercross) will understand that.”

Ferrandis’ pass defined the edge of aggression, but seemed more intense because Forkner refused to give ground and had to take evasive action off course. Late in the 450 class, Tomac made a nearly identical pass on Roczen, but the more experienced rider checked up a fraction of a second and fell in behind Tomac.

For the second straight week, Forkner finished second to Ferrandis.

“I’ve just got to be a little bit better,” Ferrandis said on NBCSN. “I’m riding good, it’s just (a little difference). It was deja vu from last weekend.”

Justin Cooper maintained his second position in the points with his third-place finish.

Michael Mosiman finished fourth with Brandon Hartranft rounding out the top five.


Heat 1: Sporting a new red mohawk, Ken Roczen scored an aggressive hole shot that caused Cooper Webb, Zach Osborne and Eli Tomac to bang bars. … Osborne survived to finish second. Webb was not as fortunate and went down later on the opening lap after getting pegged by a clot of dirt. … Tomac was mired in traffic with his bad start, but in his usual fashion, he climbed to third at the checkers. … Webb overcame his fall to finish sixth. … Chad Reed grabbed the final transfer spot in ninth. | Heat 1 Results

Heat 2: Adam Cianciarulo got the holeshot. In the short heat, he held on to the end. … Justin Brayton and Blake Baggett chased the rookie, but could not close the gap. … On the final lap, Jason Anderson flashed past Baggett, but earlier on that trip around the track the two made contact, strippping half the spokes off Anderson’s bike. He limped it home fourth. … Ryan Breece took the last transfer spot over Benny Bloss, who was just returning from concussion protocol; Bloss had a transfer position halfway through the race before he crashed. | Heat 2 Results

LCQ: After crashing in his Heat and failing to automatically advance to the Main, Benny Bloss made his comeback from concussion protocol complete with an LCQ win. … Kyle Chisholm finished 2.5 seconds back. … Jason Clermont almost lost his bike in the whoops, but stayed on top of the seat and finished third. … Alex Ray took the last transfer position. | LCQ Results


Heat 1: It took a lap for Austin Forkner to find the lead, but he never lost it, passing Cameron McAdoo early in the heat. … Forkner built a 6.6 second lead by the checkers as he whipped his bike over the finish line. “Once I got out front, I was just breaking away,” Forkner told NBCSN. “That’s what I want to do for the race.” … Derek Drake grabbed the last spot on the podium. … Fourth in the points, Brandon Hartranft had a bit of drama. McAdoo pushed him off line in the first corner and nearly lost the transfer position; he finished seventh. … Killian Auberson finished ninth in the last transfer position. … Ludovic Macler was the first rider on the outside looking in. | Heat 1 Results

Heat 2: It was teammate against teammate in the first turn. Justin Cooper thought he had the hole shot only to have it stolen by Dylan Ferrandis – who held the lead to the checkers. … Michael Mosiman got around Cooper on the final lap to finish 3.5 seconds back. … Cooper held on to finish third. … Bryson Gardner just received his pro license and celebrated with an automatic berth into the Main via a ninth-place finish; he would go on to finish 19th in the Main. … Gardner was elevated to that position when Robbie Wageman fell from ninth on the final lap.  | Heat 2 Results

LCQ: Martin Castelo took the lead midway through the race and held on for the win. … But it was the battle for the final transfer that stole the show. … Cheyenne Harmon, Ludovic Macler and Lorenzo Camporese swapped positions over the final lap and advanced to the Main. … Robbie Wageman made a strong run in the final set of turns, but came up inches shy. | LCQ Results

Click here for 450 Main Results | Season Points
Click here for 250 Main Results | Season Points

Next race: February 15, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
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Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor “It is great for to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”