Ryan Dungey returns to racing in the Lucas Oil Motocross season opener with Red Bull KTM

Ryan Dungey returns motocross
Simon Cudby / Lucas Oil Pro Motocross
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When the 2022 Lucas Oil Motocross season returns to action on May 28 at Fox Raceway in Pala, California, one of motorcycle racing’s legends, Ryan Dungey, will come out of retirement and mount his famed No. 5 to challenge the field.

Dungey has unfinished business after getting forced out of the 2016 Motocross campaign with a season-ending injury barely three rounds into the year. He returned to action in Supercross the following season and won his third consecutive SX title, but given how his final Motocross season began, he must feel he had a strong shot at winning the MX championship as well.

In 2016, Dungey finished second at Hangtown in Rancho Cordova, California, won at Glen Helen in San Bernadino, California and finished second again in Round 3 at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado before he was sidelined.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to race the first couple rounds of the outdoors for Red Bull KTM,” Dungey said in a release. “I’ve had a lot of success with KTM in my most recent years of racing and it’s exciting to go back and race for the same team with a lot of great personnel.

“I have a lot of trust with the team, which breeds confidence sitting on the line knowing I have good people behind me and we’ve got a great dirt bike underneath us. This is a stacked class and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the line with them but I’m excited to be back on the gate.”

Dungey will join Cooper Webb and Aaron Plessinger at Red Bull KTM Factory Racing along with Italian MXGP rider Antonio Cairoli. Dungey won two of his three MX titles with Red Bull in 2012 and 2015.

“We knew that the 50th anniversary season of the world’s most prestigious motocross championship was destined to be one for the ages, but nothing could have prepared us for the competitive return of two of motocross’ most prolific champions in Ryan Dungey and Antonio Cairoli,” said Davey Coombs, President, MX Sports Pro Racing. “When Ryan retired in 2017 it certainly felt like he still had a lot left in the tank, so it was bittersweet to watch him step away in his prime.

“While a return to action was always something we’d hoped would happen, today’s announcement is unprecedented, and we cannot wait to watch two ageless legends of the sport go bar-to-bar with their younger counterparts this summer. Seeing the No. 5 and No. 222 together on the track will truly be one of the series’ landmark moments.”

The team has not announced the length of Dungey’s 2022 campaign, committing only to the first two rounds for both riders.

He certainly doesn’t have anything left to prove, but when Dungey returns to Pro Motocross, it will be with an eye to adding to his legacy. When he retired in 2017, he left with a third-best 46 career wins and second-best 91 podium finishes. In addition to his titles with Red Bull, Dungey also won the 2010 championship one year after winning in the 250 class.

Dungey, 32, will be joined by another veteran. Last week, Red Bull announced Cairoli, 36, would make his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship debut in the first two rounds of the season after winning nine FIM World Motocross Championships.

MORE: RD Coffee fuels Ryan Dungey’s passion

AJ Foyt Racing promotes Benjamin Pedersen from Indy Lights to IndyCar for 2023 season

Benjamin Pedersen AJ Foyt
AJ Foyt Racing
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Benjamin Pedersen is the first driver to land a promotion from Indy Lights into IndyCar for next season as AJ Foyt Racing confirmed Wednesday he’ll be part of its 2023 lineup.

Pedersen, a 23-year-old dual citizen of Denmark and the United States, spent last season running the full Indy Lights schedule for HMD Motorsports. Linus Lundqvist, his teammate, won the Lights title, and Pedersen finished fifth in the final standings. Pedersen earned his only win earlier this month when he led every lap from the pole at Portland.

Pedersen also ran four races for HMD in 2021 with back-to-back runner-up finishes in his debut. Pedersen landed on AJ Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt’s radar through a “trusted colleague” and Pedersen spent most of last season shadowing the IndyCar team.

His promotion to IndyCar comes ahead of all four drivers who finished ahead of him in the Indy Lights standings, including champion Lundqvist.

“We are really looking forward to having Benjamin as part of the team,” Larry Foyt said. “His enthusiasm is infectious, and he is 100 percent committed to IndyCar, AJ Foyt Racing, and doing the best he can to win races.

“It’s been great to have him embedded with the team this past season, and everyone is excited to hit the ground running when testing begins. It is also great to have a multi-year program in place, which will help him and the team grow together.”

Foyt did not announce a car number for Pedersen. Kyle Kirkwood spent his rookie season driving AJ Foyt’s flagship No. 14 but Kirkwood is moving to Andretti Autosport. The team has not yet announced if Dalton Kellett will return for a fourth season, and a third car for Tatiana Calderon was pulled from competition after seven races because of sponsorship non-payment. Shutting down Calderon’s team removed the only semi-regular female driver from the IndyCar field.

Pedersen, however, was signed to an agreement Foyt said “spans multiple seasons as the team plans to develop the young rookie and is aligned to a longer-term plan for AJ Foyt Racing.”

Pedersen was born in Copenhagen but raised in Seattle and currently lives in Indianapolis. He said his time shadowing the IndyCar team has given him a jump on his rookie preparations.

“I’ve spent a lot of time this season with AJ Foyt Racing learning the ins and outs of making the jump to IndyCar and it’s been really nice to do that in conjunction with my Indy Lights season,” Pedersen said. “IndyCar has been my target goal since I started open wheel racing in 2016. The racing, atmosphere, fans, events, tracks, etc. are all awesome.”