Ken Roczen angry with Cooper Webb after Daytona: ‘I think he’s scared of me’


An extremely tight Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship battle between Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb became even more caustic and combustible Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

After a fourth-place finish on his No. 94 Honda in Round 9 left him clinging to a two-point lead in the championship standings, Roczen was angry at Webb after the riders nearly made contact in the first turn on the opening lap of the 450 main event.

“I got a really good start, and Webb just pushed me really wide into the Tuff Blox, which caused me to lose a bunch of spots,” Roczen told Daniel Blair on NBCSN. “I think he’s scared of me. That’s why he plays these kind of games, but little does he know I like to play as well.

“So from here on out, I’m going to put in that little bit of extra focus on a daily basis – even at home – to speed up much better on the weekend. He’s just fueling the fire and I’m ready for it.”

Webb, who nipped Aaron Plessinger in the last few hundred yards for second place, blew off Roczen’s claim in a postrace news conference.

“I had a great start,” Webb said. “Me, (Roczen) and Eli were all right there. Eli was on my inside. Kenny was on my outside, so I kind of just went through the middle there and wanted to make sure I could get ahead of Ken. Just made the move right there and fell in behind Eli.”

Ken Roczen spent much of Saturday at Daytona trying to make up positions and time (Feld Entertainment Inc./Align Media).

“(Roczen) was running his mouth (after the race). But I didn’t really hear what he said on the podium. He wasn’t too pumped, but I’m not sure why. I saw an opening and went for it. He’s really focusing on himself this year, and clearly, he showed how much he’s focusing on himself.”

While Webb stayed in the top four for the next 20 minutes Roczen seesawed through the top 10. At one point near midrace, he had passed Malcolm Stewart for fourth and was closing the gap on Webb. But he missed a jump and fell behind Stewart.

“I had to make a bunch of passes in the beginning, and I messed up in that rhythm big time and had to roll a bunch and Malcolm went back by me, so I had to get by him and latched onto Webb but just wasn’t enough,” Roczen said. “But other than that I had fun racing out here. It’s all good. We’re out here with my family and having a lot of fun so can’t wait for Dallas.”

Cooper Webb scored his fourth consecutive podium Saturday (Feld Entertainment, Inc./Align Media).

Last year, Eli Tomac took the points lead for good with his Daytona victory, leading by three points heading into a two-month break for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After his second victory this season Saturday at Daytona International Speedway  (where he tied Ricky Carmichael’s victory record), Tomac now is 24 points behind with eight races remaining – two tripleheaders in Arlington, Texas, and Hampton, Georgia (at Atlanta Motor Speedway) before a two-night stand in Salt Lake City, Utah, to close the season.

Roczen, who has nine consecutive top fives to start 2021, sounds confident he can maintain the points lead and join Tomac as a new 450 champion for the second consecutive season.

“(Webb) got this one round, and the points have closed up a little bit, and we’ve got plenty of racing to go,” Roczen said. “So yeah. I like to play, so let’s go. I’m going to focus hard and bring it on the weekends.”

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports