Tennessee’s Josef Newgarden is inaugural Music City GP PointsBet favorite

PointsBet Music City GP
Brian Spurlock / Getty Images

The winner of the most recent NTT IndyCar race, Josef Newgarden is the early PointsBet Music City GP favorite to win his second consecutive. If he is successful, the Henderson, Tennessee native Newgarden will give his hometown crowd something extra to celebrate in the inaugural running of this race on the Streets of Nashville.

The Music City GP will run Saturday (5:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

Newgarden opened on Thursday with +380 odds. His win on the  Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course was his first of the season, but he came close twice previously on road courses with a runner-up finish at St. Petersburg and also in the second race of the doubleheader at Belle Isle. Newgarden’s bid for a victory there came up short when he was passed in the closing laps by Pato O’Ward, who had fresher tires. In the next race at Road America, a mechanical failure on the final restart dropped Newgarden to 21st.

Newgarden dominated both of those races, however, and was the favorite in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio with opening odds of +425 ahead of his victory.

One way to view American Odds is to move the decimal point two positions to the left. That will let a bettor know what they will make on a $1 bet, so the return on investment for this week for Newgarden is $3.80. For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Scott Dixon is ranked second with odds of +525. With a fourth-place finish at Mid-Ohio, Dixon remains perfect in regard to top-10 finishes on road courses. Four of these were top-fives including a best of third in the season-opener at Barber Motorsports Park. Dixon has one win on the season. That came in the first of two races at Texas Motor Speedway.

Three racers share the distinction of being ranked third with a line of +850. None of these drivers finished in the top five at Mid-Ohio.

O’Ward finished best among the drivers listed at +850 with and eighth-place finish at Mid-Ohio. That came on the heels of a ninth at Road America, but he has found Victory Lane on the twisty tracks this year in the second Belle Isle race.

Colton Herta had a two-race, top-five streak entering Mid-Ohio, but slipped to 13th. In seven road course races this year, he has three top-fives and no other top-10s. One of these was a victory at St. Petersburg in Round 2 where he had to fend off Newgarden in the closing laps.

Will Power finished 25th at Mid-Ohio, continuing a see-saw season that has garnered two top-fives, another pair of top-10s, an 11th and a 20th on the road courses.

Ranked just outside of the top five this week are Rinus VeeKay and Alex Palou with +1300 odds.

VeeKay is hoping to revisit the front of the pack after missing Road America with a broken collarbone sustained in a cycling accident and with disappointment in his last two starts. He finished 16th at Mid-Ohio and 18th at Belle Isle, which stalled the momentum he earned with a victory on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and a second in the first Belle Isle race.

Alex Palou has two previous victories this season, at Barber and Road America. He enters the weekend with three straight podium finishes on road courses, including a third in the most recent event at Mid-Ohio.

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Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
Align Media

ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.