Cooper Webb wins Supercross Round 12, sweeps Arlington, Justin Cooper takes 250 red plate


The Monster Energy Supercross Round 12 is in the books with Cooper Webb setting himself up as a clear favorite for the championship after sweeping three rounds of the Arlington, Texas residency.

Webb won all three races in AT&T Stadium, but the third of three races there was far from an foregone conclusion.

With three consecutive races off the podium, Ken Roczen has been losing the momentum that gave him the early red plate. On Tuesday, he finally reversed that trend with a third-place finish in Arlington 2. On Saturday, he improved even more after grabbing the holeshot, leading for 15 minutes and crossing under the checkers in second.

Five rounds remain in the 2021 Supercross season and Roczen believes he is regaining his competitiveness, but one would be hard pressed to convince Webb of that.

After winning both Orlando races, Webb has finished first or second in the last seven consecutive events.

It was not a smooth evening for Webb, however. He was passed in his heat by Roczen and later put on the ground by Roczen’s teammate Chase Sexton.

“That was a crazy race for sure,” Webb told NBCSN’s Will Christien after the 450 Main was in the books. “I got off to a second-place start behind Kenny and he was laying it down those first few – had some good speed. I was just trying to hang on and Eli (Tomac) was all over me. I knew both of those guys were really on it today.

“I just focused on being consistent. I rode terrible in that heat race and didn’t really like being put on the ground. But that was good. It got me fired up for the main event. I had to ride with Kenny that whole race. To make a late charge was awesome.”

POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Round 12 in Supercross

Roczen refused to be discouraged by his second-place result, however. He led his first laps in several weeks and was encouraged by the holeshot.

In the second Arlington race on Tuesday, he snapped a three-race streak in which he failed to stand on the podium. He finished third in that event behind his principal rivals Webb and Tomac. Saturday night, he was second after leading more than 15 minutes of the main.

“It was tough out there,” Roczen said. “I was leading and those guys were behind me. I felt like I was hitting my marks pretty good, but it wasn’t enough. Cooper was riding awesome again.

“But I’m slowly coming back and everything is open. We’ve got to keep doing the same thing. I’m happy with my starts again. That worked out great. We were leading some laps, so I’m slowly working my way back up and giving it everything I’ve got out there. That’s really all I can do.”

Time is running out for Tomac to defend his 2020 championship.

After winning his second race of the season at Daytona, Tomac had a terrible opening to the Arlington residency. He finished eighth last Saturday, but rebounded to finish second on Tuesday. He had the leaders in sight and was actually closing ground before drifting wide crossing the finish line three-fourths of the way through the race and clipped a Tuff Blox on landing.

Ken Roczen earned the holeshot and led early in Round 12 in Arlington. Feld Entertainment, Inc.

“We were all three together there at the beginning,” Tomac said. “Then one little wide line on the finish line. I thought I had it saved to be honest, but I just kept going. I needed an air break there.”

Tomac lost third to Justin Barcia for a little while and once he regained the position it was too late to catch the leaders.

Tomac is now 41 points behind Webb with five rounds remaining.

Barcia held on to finish fourth and remains fourth in the standings.

Jason Anderson rounded out the top five.

Malcom Stewart in sixth, Dylan Ferrandis in seventh, Joey Savatgy in eighth, Aaron Plessinger in ninth, and Dean Wilson rounded out the top 10.

Four weeks after returning to action Sexton crashed again in the Main and was unable to finish.

The 250 class began with a tight battle in which the top three were separated by only two points. With his first 250 win last week, Hunter Lawrence affixed the red plate to his Honda and hoped he could keep it. He needed to win in order for that to happen, however.

The top three points contenders jumped out to an early lead. Justin Cooper grabbed the holeshot over Cameron Mcadoo and Lawrence. Cooper slowly stretched his advantage as the other two contenders settled into a comfortable pace.

Cooper became the first rider to win multiple events in the 250 West series. Better still, he snapped a three-race streak in which he finished off the podium. And more importantly, his victory gave him the red plate once more after he lost it after the first round in Daytona.

“It’s been a tough road,” Cooper told Daniel Blair on NBCSN after the race. “I’ve been on the ground a lot in the Main event.

“This was the same game plan as  every other race so it was really about executing. I got two great starts. Two holeshots and just had to put a little bit of hope back into everyone who was doubting me.

“I really just had to refuel the fire inside of myself. I had to get it done tonight. I couldn’t continue to spiral downhill like that.”

Mcadoo also bounced back. After crashing on Tuesday in the Main and getting penalized three spots for cutting the course, he had his worst race and finished off of the podium for the first time this season. Mcadoo did not have anything for the leader, but his second-place finish was enough to bring him within two points of Cooper with five rounds remaining.

“We’ve got to win,” Mcadoo said after the race. “It’s good to get these good results. Stacking these things together is what’s going to count at the end. But every point counts. We’re only two points apart. I can’t let (Cooper) beat me like that.”

Seth Hammaker survived an early-race incident with Coty Schock when Schock jumped onto the back of Hammaker’s bike.

“It was a hectic first few laps,” said third-place Hammaker. “I got a little squirrely on the step-on, step-off over there. I didn’t know what happened behind me, but I knew my plate got bent in. After that, I just rode my own race – was in fourth and really just trying to flow.”

Hammaker was trailing the top three until Lawrence had an off course excursion.

Coming off a career-best finish of second last week, Jalek Swoll finished fourth and held onto that position in the points. He trails Cooper by 15.

Lawrence grabbed his first win of the season on Tuesday and appeared to have the field in sight when he ran off course in a bowl turn and got tangled in the netting.

After doing his best Spiderman impression by hanging onto the net long enough to let his bike hit the ground, Lawrence was able to quickly remount his Honda after losing only two positions. That cost eight points overall and Lawrence left the evening with a six-point deficit to Cooper.

Garrett Marchbanks was forced to ride through the Last Chance Qualifier to make the Main. He won that event and finished sixth in the big show.

Chris Blose in seventh, Kyle Peters in eighth, Nate Thrasher in ninth and Jarrett Frye rounded out the top 10.

It was the first top-10 for Frye in Supercross competition.

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

ROUND 6, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen is perfect in Indy for third straight win

ROUND 7, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb trims Ken Roczen lead

ROUND 8, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb sweeps Orlando to put pressure on Ken Roczen

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael at Daytona; Ken Roczen, Copper Webb war 

ROUND 10, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb takes the points lead with five straight top-two finishes

ROUND 11, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb wins first two races of Arlington residency

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”