Ken Roczen wins Supercross Round 6, sweeps Indy residency


Ken Roczen made a perfect sweep of Indianapolis Saturday night when he won Round 6 of the Supercross season.

Before Tuesday’s win in the second race of the Indianapolis residency, it had been four years since Roczen won back-to-back Supercross races. It was less than a week before he set a new career milestone with his first threepeat in the stadium series.

Roczen has earned at least three consecutive wins in the outdoor season on two occasions, but had not yet been able to back that up with a similar record indoors.

It was not an easy ride for Roczen, however.

“I wasn’t really gelling with the track very well,” Roczen said after his win. “I don’t feel like I was riding it as well as I should. That made it even tougher, but all the more reason to be super stoked with this win.”

Roczen had to fend off challenges in both his heat race and the Main. He beat Eli Tomac by one second in the heat. His margin of victory was even slimmer over Cooper Webb in the feature. He bettered the second-place rider in the points by a .888 second margin over Webb.

POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Round 6 in Supercross

Webb did not get off to a very strong start. Mired mid pack, he was forced to ride his way through some serious battles for position – all while making up time on the leader. Once Webb got Roczen in sight, however, the leader maintained his advantage.

“It was a great day,” Webb said. “A step in the right direction, a lot of good qualifying times. I just came up short on the Main event. It was a hard charge. So close, but yet so far. Ken rode great and adjusted to the race as it went.

“I felt like I charged hard at the end. I got around Bam Bam (Barcia) and really put my head down and got close, but it was just not enough. I missed the rhythm with two to go and felt like that kind of killed it for me.”

After winning his heat, Barcia was out to prove he belongs at the front of the pack. At one point midway through the race, he charged hard into a corner and surprised Roczen by pulling alongside the leader. Barcia held off a determined charge from the defending champion Eli Tomac until he ran afoul of lapped traffic.

Running third at the time, Vince Friese pinched Barcia off course. With nowhere to go, Tomac got collected in the incident as well.

That handed the final podium position to Marvin Musquin for his second top-three of the season.

“My goal tonight was to stay on two wheels and be more patient,” Musquin said. “The last two or three rounds have been frustrating for me. I’ve been very aggressive. Trying to make it happen in the first lap, but ended up going down dead last and had to come back. So tonight I was trying to be patient. Maybe a little too patient.”

Malcolm Stewart finished fourth – earning his best finish of the season and tying a career-best.

“The podium is right there,” Stewart said. “Marvin got me with probably three minutes to go. Overall, I felt really good.”

Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the top five.

Returning from injury, Jason Anderson finished sixth.

Tomac remounted his Kawasaki after the incident with Barcia and crossed under the checkers seventh. But the damage was already done. Coupled with Roczen’s win, third-place Tomac now trails in the points by 24 markers. First place in a Supercross race awards 26 points.

Dylan Ferrandis, Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne rounded out the top 10.

In 250s, Christian Craig ended teammate Colt Nichols’ winning streak. Or perhaps, Nichols ended it himself.

Nichols ran away from the field in his heat race and had them covered in the first couple of corners in the Main until he cross-rutted and crashed. Forced to remount dead last, he passed nearly the entire field and ultimately settled into third.

This was Craig’s first win since the season-opener at Houston and it allowed him to cut the points deficit nearly in half. With two rounds remaining, Craig trails Nichols by six points.

“The whole day was just off for me,” Craig said after the race. “In the heat race, I felt I was just learning the track. It all counts in the Main event. I got off to a good start and then unfortunately my teammate went down. It looked like a bad one, but luckily he’s okay.”

Jo Shimoda finished second and was much more pleased with this result than his first podium. He was third in the first Indianapolis race, but was lifted to that position when Craig and Jett Lawrence tangled on the last lap.

“This one, I can say ‘I got a podium,’ ” Shimoda said. “It was a good start. Just kind of push, push, push. Just kept my own pace. I know Christian was pulling away, but I just kept pushing and pushing.”

After passing all but two riders, Nichols finished third.

He charged to 10th quickly and was fifth behind Lawrence at the halfway mark. Lawrence rode him hard and protected his lead aggressively – at one point stopping on course to force Nichols to run into his back wheel and stall momentum.

“That was a battle,” Nichols said. “I was coming through the pack. The first lap, I went over this triple and Christian was already in that other rhythm before the finish. And I’m like, we’ve got our work cut out for us.

“I just dug all the way to the finish. Me and Jett had a sick battle. We were not really where we wanted to be, but that made it fun.”

Mitchell Oldenburg finished fourth after Lawrence got tangled up with a lapped rider.

Lawrence fell to fifth.

“I was riding really sloppy out there,” Lawrence said. “I think my new technique on the start is do a terrible practice start and then leave all my skill for the actual race. (But tonight) I think I used all my skill on the practice start and then my race start – literally as I gave my jacket to my mechanic, my skills went with it.”

Michael Mosiman broke his hand in practice and did not participate in Round 6. He fell from third in the standings to fifth after missing this race.

ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time

ROUND 2, HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds, wins after Round 1 disappointment

ROUND 3, HOUSTON: Cooper Webb wins, Ken Roczen denied revenge

ROUND 4, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it four winners in four races

ROUND 5, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen goes back to back for first time since 2017 injury

Roger Penske vows new downtown Detroit GP will be bigger than the Super Bowl for city


DETROIT – He helped spearhead bringing the town a Super Bowl 17 years ago, but Roger Penske believes the reimagined Chevrolet Detroit GP is his greatest gift to the Motor City.

“It’s bigger than the Super Bowl from an impact within the city,” Penske told NBC Sports. “Maybe not with the sponsors and TV, but for the city of Detroit, it’s bigger than the Super Bowl.

“We’ve got to give back individually and collectively, and I think we as a company in Michigan and in Detroit, it’s something we know how to do. It shows we’re committed. Someone needs to take that flag and run it down through town. And that’s what we’re trying to do as a company. We’re trying to give back to the city.”

After 30 years of being run on Belle Isle, the race course has been moved to a new nine-turn, 1.7-mile downtown layout that will be the centerpiece of an event weekend that is designed to promote a festival and community atmosphere.

There will be concerts in the adjacent Hart Plaza. Local businesses from Detroit’s seven districts have been invited to hawk their wares to new clientele. Boys and Girls Clubs from the city have designed murals that will line the track’s walls with images of diversity, inclusion and what Detroit means through the eyes of youth.

And in the biggest show of altruism, more than half the circuit will be open for free admission. The track is building 4-foot viewing platforms that can hold 150 people for watching the long Jefferson Avenue straightaway and other sections of the track.

Detroit GP chairman Bud Denker, a longtime key lieutenant across Penske’s various companies, has overseen more than $20 million invested in infrastructure.

The race is essentially Penske’s love letter to the city where he made much of his fame as one of Detroit’s most famous automotive icons, both as a captain of industry with a global dealership network and as a racing magnate (who just won his record 19th Indy 500 with Josef Newgarden breaking through for his first victory on the Brickyard oval).

During six decades in racing, Penske, 86, also has run many racetracks (most notably Indianapolis Motor Speedway but also speedways in Michigan, California and Pennsylvania), and much of that expertise has been applied in Detroit.

“And then the ability for us to reach out to our sponsor base, and then the business community, which Bud is tied in with the key executives in the city of Detroit, bringing them all together,” Penske said. “It makes a big difference.

“The Super Bowl is really about the people that fly in for the Super Bowl. It’s a big corporate event, and the tickets are expensive. And the TV is obviously the best in the world. What we’ve done is taken that same playbook but made it important to everyone in Detroit. Anyone that wants to can come to the race for free, can stand on a platform or they can buy a ticket and sit in the grandstands or be in a suite. It’s really multiple choice, but it is giving it to the city of Detroit. I think it’s important when you think of these big cities across the country today that are having a lot of these issues.”

Denker said the Detroit Grand Prix is hoping for “an amazingly attended event” but is unsure of crowd estimates with much of the track offering free viewing. The race easily could handle a crowd of at least 50,000 daily (which is what the Movement Music Festival draws in Hart Plaza) and probably tens of thousands more in a sprawling track footprint along the city’s riverwalk.

Penske is hoping for a larger crowd than Belle Isle, which was limited to about 30,000 fans daily because of off-site parking and restricted fan access at a track that was located in a public park.

The downtown course will have some unique features, including a “split” pit lane on an all-new concrete (part of $15 million spent on resurfaced roads, new barriers and catchfencing … as well as 252 manhole covers that were welded down).

A $5 million, 80,000-square-foot hospitality chalet will be located adjacent to the paddock and pit area. The two-story structure, which was imported from the 16th hole of the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, will offer 70 chalets (up from 23 suites at Belle Isle last year). It was built by InProduction, the same company that installed the popular HyVee-branded grandstands and suites at Iowa Speedway last year.

Penske said the state, city, county and General Motors each owned parts of the track, and their cooperation was needed to move streetlights and in changing apexes of corners. Denker has spent the past 18 months meeting with city council members who represent Detroit’s seven districts, along with Mayor Mike Duggan. Penske said the local support could include an appearance by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer.

Denker and Detroit GP  president Michael Montri were inspired to move the Detroit course downtown after attending the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We saw what an impact it made on that city in August of 2021 and we came back from there and said boy could it ever work to bring it downtown in Detroit again,” Denker said. “We’ve really involved the whole community of Detroit, and the idea of bringing our city together is what the mayor and city council and our governor are so excited about. The dream we have is now coming to fruition.

“When you see the infrastructure downtown and the bridges over the roads we’ve built and the graphics, and everything is centered around the Renaissance Center as your backdrop, it’s just amazing.”