Supercross resuming season May 31 in Salt Lake City for final 7 races

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Supercross announced Thursday afternoon that its 2020 season will be restarted May 31 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, and will run through June 21.

The final seven races will be held without fans in attendance and broadcast on NBC Sports Group (primarily on NBCSN).

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross season has been on hold since the Round 10 race March 7 at Daytona International Speedway.

The dates for the final seven races of the 2020 season in Salt Lake City are:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).

Eli Tomac won at Daytona over Ken Roczen to take the lead in the championship standings by three points.

Roczen, who has three victories this season, told “Lunch Talk Live” host Mike Tirico in a Wednesday interview that he has spent time resting and recovering during the unexpected layoff after the midpoint of the grueling season of 17 events in four months.

“Obviously when the whole coronavirus thing started, we were all in the unknown and kind of still are in the unknown of when we’ll continue racing,” he told Tirico. “But it looked like (the return) was going to be quite far out.

“I took some time off and actually helped my body because no matter what, when we start back up racing, and they’re still trying to get all the races in, there’s going to be a lot of racing all in a row. And not to mention going into 2021 series, there’s going to be a lot of back to back racing with very little time off, so I decided to take some time off.

Supercross and AMA Lucas Oil Motocross executives have been working together to align their schedules so that riders can compete in both series without overlap. The start of the outdoor national season has been pushed to late June.

Here’s the release from the AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series:

Ellenton, Fla., (May 14, 2020) – Feld Entertainment, Inc. announced today that the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will resume racing at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah on May 31 and will run through June 21. The final seven, made-for-tv races will be broadcast on NBC networks without fans in attendance. The Utah Sports Commission, a longtime partner of Supercross, has coordinated our return to Utah.

Like all forms of sports, the Monster Energy Supercross Championship was abruptly halted in early March after completing ten rounds of the 17-round Championship. The last race was held on March 7 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. where Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac earned his fifth win of the season over top rival Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, both of whom are competing for their first premiere class title with only three points of separation.

The sports industry in the United States, like virtually all industries, is being severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Monster Energy Supercross fuels an entire industry and is the primary source of income for thousands, including competitors. With no events, the industry is in severe economic peril. It’s important to the economic infrastructure to get back-to-work. Unlike other professional sports with guaranteed contracts, Supercross athletes, team personnel and many others involved in event and television production are independent contractors.

“We’re excited to continue our work with Feld Entertainment, Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah, the Utah Department of Health Services and the continued support of Utah’s Governor Gary R. Herbert who made it possible for Supercross’ return to Utah,” said Jeff Robbins, President and CEO, Utah Sports Commission. “We also look forward to showcasing Utah worldwide via Supercross’ global footprint.”

The responsible return to racing will provide guidelines and protocols to competitors and essential staff that complies with all federal, state and local health guidance and mandates. Mitigation efforts include mandated prescreening, testing, temperature checks, face masks, increased sanitation efforts and social distancing to limit contact among individuals executing the events. The stadium will assist with the implementation and execution of our plan. Supercross, in partnership with the Alpinestars Medical Unit, has a trained medical team of 7 professionals to assist on site.

The racing format has been adjusted to reduce the number of athletes to stay within the minimum requirements and a standard race format will be used for all seven rounds, except for the finale which will be an Eastern/Western Regional 250SX Class Showdown.

  • Supercross Race Format for Final Seven Rounds:
    • 450SX Class – 40 Riders based on current point standings and 2020 top 100 number or combined season qualifying results
    • 250SX Class – 40 Riders based on current point standings and 2020 top 100 number or combined season qualifying results
    • Two qualifying sessions will be held for gate pick
    • 250SX Class – Two Heat Races and a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)
    • 450SX Class – Two Heat Races and a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)
    • 250SX Class Main Event
    • 450SX Class Main Event

In the final seven races, three champions will be crowned – one in the 450SX Class and two in the 250SX Eastern and Western Regional Classes. It is the hope of the series that the final seven races will start to bring some normalcy to race fans by creating memorable experiences through the live television broadcast that continue to bring people together via a shared experience while also uplifting the human spirit, as all forms of sport do.

Supercross athletes have little to no contact as riders race solo against other competitors and wear several protective elements – full-face helmets that cover the mouth, goggles, gloves, jerseys and pants that leave little to no skin exposed, plus fully secured knee-high boots.

Supercross partners Oakley, Toyota and VP Racing Fuels have been lending their expertise to the medical community and first responders by developing and mass-producing protective shields, eyewear and hand sanitizer. This type of expertise that exists within the industry, coupled with Utah’s leadership and Feld Entertainment’s live event experience will all factor in to helping the industry get back to racing while aiding in the recovery and healing process nationwide.

NBC and NBCSN Television Schedule:

Round 11 (East) – Sunday, May 31                 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET on NBCSN then 4:00 – 6:00 ET on NBC

Round 12 (East) – Wednesday, June 3          10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET on NBCSN

Round 13 (East) – Sunday, June 7                  5:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET on NBCSN

Round 14 (West) – Wednesday, June 10      7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET on NBCSN

Round 15 (West) – Sunday, June 14              7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET on NBCSN

Round 16 (East) – Wednesday, June 17        7:00 pm – 10:00 pm ET on NBCSN

Round 17 (East/West) – Sunday, June 21      3:00 pm – 4:30 pm ET on NBCSN then 4:30 – 6:00 ET on NBC

*TV schedule subject to change.

NBC Sports will present the final seven, made-for-TV races across NBC, NBCSN & NBCSports.com. Races will also be available to domestic livestream subscribers via the NBC Sports Gold “Supercross Pass” and internationally via the Supercross Video Pass.

For more information on either one of these livestream options please visit NBCSports.com/Gold or SupercrossLIVE.tv .

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.