Justin Barcia wins Motocross Round 6 at Spring Creek, gives GasGas first victory


Justin Barcia momentarily broke Dylan Ferrandis’ 450 dominance in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Round 6 at Spring Creek MX Park while the hometown favorite, Jeremy Martin kept a streak of unique overall winners alive in the 250 class.

It was the first overall win for Barcia in the Motocross 450 class as well as the first win for the new manufacturer to the class, GasGas.

“It’s a lot to take in,” Barcia told NBC Sports’ Ashley Reynard. “It was a great day . … The track was gnarly today, crazy first moto, tried chasing Kenny (Roczen) in the second moto. Couldn’t get him at the end, so he rode a good race. I’m stoked to the overall. Feels, amazing.”

It wasn’t a pretty win. Barcia charged every corner and overrode occasionally, but his aggressive style kept Ferrandis at bay in the first race and was enough to keep the second moto winner, Ken Roczen, in sight.

“That was a crazy race,” Barcia said after Moto 1. “I could never let up. I was going wide open the whole time. Had a few close calls.”

Barcia won the overall with a 1-2. His first moto win was also a first for GasGas.

Barcia earned the holeshots for both motos and was ahead of Lap 1 chaos that eliminated Roczen from the first race. Roczen went down in the middle of the pack, was run into and rolled over by several riders and was carted from the track. He failed to earn any points as Ferrandis rode to his 11th consecutive moto podium in second.

“It was definitely a hard one in the first moto,” Roczen said after the race. “I got banged up pretty good. I really had to make sure that my ribs aren’t broken. I’ll be really sore tomorrow, but as soon as I checked myself there was no question in my mind that I was going to come back out here and give my best.”

Roczen’s best was good enough for the Moto 2 win, which landed him eighth on the overall.

Tomac was also slowed by the the Moto 1, Lap 1 incident. Trailing the crash, he got on the brakes hard and fell outside top 30. He rode masterfully through traffic to finish third in that race and recorded the second-place finish overall with a 3-4.

Ferrandis rounded out the overall podium with a 2-5 after an adventurous Moto 2. He crashed early and fell to 24th, After remounting and climbing to 13th, he fell again. Once back on his bike for the third time, he eked out the top-five finish.

“Frustration, disappointment, but just to myself,” Ferrandis said after the race. “A mistake I did in the first lap. It’s not too smart. I crashed along down the hill. The restart and I crashed again. Alone. Not a good moto. I dug deep to come back and I think we saved some good points.”

Ferrandis extended his points’ lead over Roczen to 32.

Chase Sexton (7-3) finished fourth overall with Christian Craig (7-3) rounding out the top five.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas (1-2)
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (3-4)
  3. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha (2-5)
  4. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (7-3)
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha (4-6)
  6. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (5-9)
  7. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM (8-8)
  8. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (DNF-1)
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM (11-7)
  10. Dean Wilson, Scotland, Husqvarna, (10-10)

450 points standings

  1. Dylan Ferrandis, France, Yamaha – 262
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 230
  3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 207
  4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 205
  5. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 193
  6. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 191
  7. Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 156
  8. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 148
  9. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 147
  10. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 141

The 250 class had its sixth unique overall winner in six rounds.

It was a popular winner as the hometown rider, Jeremy Martin battled through multiple injuries to take the win after literally riding the entire race next to his family’s home. Spring Creek MX Park is owned by the Martin family.

“It’s always special to get a win in front of the hometown crowd,” Martin said after winning Moto 1. “About 20 minutes in I was definitely hurting I haven’t been doing motos because of my wrist and and I broke my hand. But I’m telling you, you guys here cheering me on kept me going.”

Martin kept going with a win in Moto 2 as well for a perfect sweep of the weekend.

Michael Mosiman was second with a 3-2.

The 250 points battle heated up as Justin Cooper swept the podium in both motos. Jett Lawrence had a best finish of fourth in Race 1.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Cooper said afterward in a release. “We’re at the halfway point and we’re going after this championship. That’s the mindset. I honestly rode pretty mediocre today. I left a lot on the table, I feel. I wasn’t that comfortable (on the bike), so I got to take the blame on this one and do better. I felt like we could have been battling for the overall win today, but we’ll take it.

“We’ve got the red plate now. We’ll keep grinding, and simply need to be better. I can’t afford to leave anything on the table and that’s what it’s going to take to win this championship.”

Motocross Round 6
With his third-place finish in Moto 1, Justin Cooper (32) had enough points to take over the championship lead. Align Media

With a third-place finish overall and a 2-3, Cooper took the red plate away from Lawrence by a slim five-point advantage.

Lawrence finished fourth overall with a 4-6. His modest finish in Moto 1 was caused by a bad start.

In the first race, Lawrence’s poor launch out of the gates had him 14th at the end of Lap 1. He managed to catch the field, but got tangled in a fierce battle for fourth through seventh with Max Vohland, his brother Hunter, and Colt Nichols. It too long to resolve the conflict for Jett to catch the third-place rider Mosiman.

“This was definitely a nightmare of a day,” said Lawrence. “My starts have really been putting me down and back in the pack. It’s just not helping me. Cooper’s been getting those starts and that’s what we need to be doing. I was brought up to never give up. We’re only halfway.”

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (1-1)
  2. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas (3-2)
  3. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (2-3)
  4. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (4-6)
  5. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (5-5)
  6. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha (7-7)
  7. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (8-9)
  8. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (17-4)
  9. Carson Mumford, Simi Valley, Calif., Honda (14-8)
  10. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (12-10)

250 points standings

  1. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 242
  2. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 237
  3. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 210
  4. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 175
  5. RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 163
  6. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 162
  7. Colt Nichols, Muskogee, Okla., Yamaha – 159
  8. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna – 148
  9. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha – 124
  10. Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GasGas – 122


Round 1: Dylan Ferrandis, Jett Lawrence victorious at Fox Raceway

Round 2: Ken Roczen’s perfect day as Justin Cooper takes 250s at Thunder Valley

Round 3: Dylan Ferrandis wins Motocross Round 3 at High Point, takes points lead

Round 4: Dylan Ferrandis wins again, stretches points’ lead over Ken Roczen

Round 5: Dylan Ferrandis remains hot in 450s; another new 250 winner with Hunter Lawrence

Strong rebounds for Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi amid some disappointments in the Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS – Alex Palou had not turned a wheel wrong the entire Month of May at the Indy 500 until Rinus VeeKay turned a wheel into the Chip Ganassi Racing pole-sitter leaving pit road on Lap 94.

“There is nothing I could have done there,” Palou told NBC Sports. “It’s OK, when it is my fault or the team’s fault because everybody makes mistakes. But when there is nothing, you could have done differently there, it feels bad and feels bad for the team.”

Marcus Ericsson was a master at utilizing the “Tail of the Dragon” move that breaks the draft of the car behind him in the closing laps to win last year’s Indianapolis 500. On Sunday, however, the last of three red flags in the final 16 laps of the race had the popular driver from Sweden breathing fire after Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden beat him at his own game on the final lap to win the Indianapolis 500.

Despite the two disappointments, team owner Chip Ganassi was seen on pit road fist-bumping a member on his four-car team in this year’s Indianapolis 500 after his drivers finished second, fourth, sixth and seventh in the tightly contested race.

Those are pretty good results, but at the Indianapolis 500, there is just one winner and 32 losers.

“There is only one winner, but it was a hell of a show,” three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Chip Ganassi Racing consultant Dario Franchitti told NBC Sports. “Alex was very fast, and he got absolutely caught out in somebody else’s wreck. There was nothing he could have done, but he and the 10 car, great recovery.

“Great recovery by all four cars because at half distance, we were not looking very good.”

After 92 laps, the first caution flew for Sting Ray Robb of Dale Coyne Racing hitting the Turn 1 wall.

During pit stops on Lap 94, Palou had left his stall when the second-place car driven by VeeKay ran into him, putting Palou’s Honda into the wall. The car sustained a damaged front wing, but the Chip Ganassi crew was able to get him back in the race on the lead lap but in 28th position.

Palou ultimately would fight his way to a fourth-place finish in a race the popular Spaniard could have won. His displeasure with VeeKay, whom he sarcastically called “a legend” on his team radio after the incident, was evident.

“The benefit of being on pole is you can drive straight and avoid crashes, and he was able to crash us on the side on pit lane, which is pretty tough to do, but he managed it,” Palou told NBC Sports. “Hopefully next year we are not beside him. Hopefully, next year we have a little better luck.”

Palou started on the pole and led 36 laps, just three fewer than race leader Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Racing.

“We started really well, was managing the fuel as we wanted, our car was pretty good,” Palou said. “Our car wasn’t great, we dropped to P4 or P5, but we still had some good stuff.

“On the pit stop, the 21 (VeeKay) managed to clip us. Nothing we could have done there. It was not my team’s fault or my fault.

“We had to drop to the end. I’m happy we made it back to P4. We needed 50 more laps to make it happen, but it could have been a lot worse after that contact.

“I learned a lot, running up front at the beginning and in mid-pack and then the back. I learned a lot.

“It feels amazing when you win it and not so good when things go wrong. We were a bit lucky with so many restarts at the end to make it back to P4 so I’m happy with that.”

Palou said the front wing had to be changed and the toe-in was a bit off, but he still had a fast car.

In fact, his Honda was the best car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway all month. His pole-winning four lap average speed of 234.217 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a record for this fabled race.

Palou looked good throughout the race, before he had to scratch and claw and race his way back to the top-five after he restarted 28th.

In the Indianapolis 500, however, the best car doesn’t always win.

“It’s two years in a row that we were leading the race at the beginning and had to drop to last,” Palou said. “Maybe next year, we will start in the middle of the field and go on to win the race.

“I know he didn’t do it on purpose. It’s better to let that pass someday.”

Palou said the wild racing at the end was because the downforce package used in Sunday’s race means the drivers have to be aggressive. The front two cars can battle for the victory, but cars back in fourth or fifth place can’t help determine the outcome of the race.

That is when the “Tail of the Dragon” comes into the play.

Franchitti helped celebrate Ericsson’s win in 2022 with his “Tail of the Dragon” zigzag move – something he never had to do in any of his three Indianapolis 500 victories because they all finished under caution.

In 2023, however, IndyCar Race Control wants to make every attempt to finish the race under green, without going past the scheduled distance like NASCAR’s overtime rule.

Instead of extra laps, they stop the race with a red flag, to create a potential green-flag finish condition.

“You do what you have to do to win within the rules, and it’s within the rules, so you do it,” Franchitti said. “The race is 200 laps and there is a balance.

“Marcus did a great job on that restart and so did Josef. It was just the timing of who was where and that was it.

“If you knew it was going to go red, you would have hung back on the lap before.

“Brilliant job by the whole Ganassi organization because it wasn’t looking very good at half-distance.

“Full marks to Josef Newgarden and Team Penske.”

Franchitti is highly impressed by how well Ericsson works with CGR engineer Brad Goldberg and how close this combination came to winning the Indianapolis 500 two-years-in-a-row.

It would have been the first back-to-back Indy 500 winner since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.

“Oh, he’s a badass,” Franchitti said Ericsson. “He proved it last year. He is so calm all day. What more do you need? As a driver, he’s fast and so calm.”

Ericsson is typically in good spirits and jovial.

He was stern and direct on pit road after the race.

“I did everything right, I did an awesome restart, caught Josef off-guard and pulled away,” Ericsson said on pit lane. “It’s hard to pull away a full lap and he got me back.

“I’m mostly disappointed with the way he ended. I don’t think it was fair and safe to do that restart straight out of the pits on cold tires for everyone.

“To me, it was not a good way to end that race.

“Congrats to Josef. He didn’t do anything wrong. He is a worthy champion, but it shouldn’t have ended like that.”

Palou also didn’t understand the last restart, which was a one-start showdown.

“I know that we want to finish under green,” Palou said. “Maybe the last restart I did, I didn’t understand. It didn’t benefit the CGR team.

“I’m not very supportive of the last one, but anyway.”

Dixon called the red flags “a bit sketchy.”

“The Red Flags have become a theme to the end of the race, but sometimes they can catch you out,” Dixon said. “I know Marcus is frustrated with it.

“All we ask for is consistency. I think they will do better next time.

“It’s a tough race. People will do anything they can to win it and with how these reds fall, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The problem is when they throw a Red or don’t throw a Red dictates how the race will end.

“It’s a bloody hard race to win. Congrats to Josef Newgarden and to Team Penske.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500