Garrett Marchbanks signs two-year extension with Muc-Off / Club MX Yamaha


Despite an injury that makes him questionable for the start of the 2023 Supercross season, Garrett Marchbanks and the Muc-Off / Club MX Yamaha team announced a two-year extension.

“ClubMX was founded on the principle of giving riders a chance in the sport,” said team owner Brandon Haas in a press release. “Garrett has a long history training at ClubMX from when he was a boy on minis. I know what he is capable of, and it is up to us to get the results out of him. There was never a question about extending his contract for two reasons: 1. I know he can win and 2. We don’t cast off our riders just because they didn’t have a great season.

“We are in this for the long haul and we are going to do it together. I knew extending his contract would be one less distraction. Think about it from our position as a privateer team, who’s better than Garrett Marchbanks? This will make more sense to everyone when we start racing again.”

In 2022, Marchbanks competed in the 250 West Series, finishing eighth in the standings. During the off-season, he injured his wrist in a practice session and will compete in the East in 2023 to give him additional time to recover before that division kicks off in Houston in early February. The 250 East runs their first race this weekend on January 8 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.

Marchbanks scored four top-fives in the 2022 250 West division, but has not stood on the podium since finishing second at Orlando in February, 2021.

His best season came in 2020 with a win at Daytona, but Marchbanks would have to wait two months to get his next podium finish in his next race in Salt Lake City as the season was momentarily paused for the COVID-19 pandemic. “I just need to put my head down and ride every race like it was my last one,” Marchbanks told NBC Sports soon after winning Daytona.

Marchbanks finished fourth in the standings that year, only three behind Jo Shimoda in third.

“I have a lot to prove still,” Marchbanks said while announcing the extension. “ClubMX has given me every opportunity on and off the track and it is time for me to show what I can do. Sure, there are ups and downs but that is the nature of this sport – it’s brutal.

“I want to be here and the team supports me through thick and thin so extending my contract made the most sense. As a racer, not having to worry about contact stuff eliminates that distraction. Now I can just focus on training and racing so I can get back on the box. I am super motivated this season; I know what I need to do and I’m going to get it done.”

In addition to running the 250 West division in 2022, Marchbanks made his 450SX debut at Daytona during an off weekend for the 250s. He made the Main finished 15th. Marchbanks also gained experience on the bigger bike during the outdoor season with 12 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross races. His best finish there was ninth at High Point in June.

Roger Penske vows new downtown Detroit GP will be bigger than the Super Bowl for city


DETROIT – He helped spearhead bringing the town a Super Bowl 17 years ago, but Roger Penske believes the reimagined Chevrolet Detroit GP is his greatest gift to the Motor City.

“It’s bigger than the Super Bowl from an impact within the city,” Penske told NBC Sports. “Maybe not with the sponsors and TV, but for the city of Detroit, it’s bigger than the Super Bowl.

“We’ve got to give back individually and collectively, and I think we as a company in Michigan and in Detroit, it’s something we know how to do. It shows we’re committed. Someone needs to take that flag and run it down through town. And that’s what we’re trying to do as a company. We’re trying to give back to the city.”

After 30 years of being run on Belle Isle, the race course has been moved to a new nine-turn, 1.7-mile downtown layout that will be the centerpiece of an event weekend that is designed to promote a festival and community atmosphere.

There will be concerts in the adjacent Hart Plaza. Local businesses from Detroit’s seven districts have been invited to hawk their wares to new clientele. Boys and Girls Clubs from the city have designed murals that will line the track’s walls with images of diversity, inclusion and what Detroit means through the eyes of youth.

And in the biggest show of altruism, more than half the circuit will be open for free admission. The track is building 4-foot viewing platforms that can hold 150 people for watching the long Jefferson Avenue straightaway and other sections of the track.

Detroit GP chairman Bud Denker, a longtime key lieutenant across Penske’s various companies, has overseen more than $20 million invested in infrastructure.

The race is essentially Penske’s love letter to the city where he made much of his fame as one of Detroit’s most famous automotive icons, both as a captain of industry with a global dealership network and as a racing magnate (who just won his record 19th Indy 500 with Josef Newgarden breaking through for his first victory on the Brickyard oval).

During six decades in racing, Penske, 86, also has run many racetracks (most notably Indianapolis Motor Speedway but also speedways in Michigan, California and Pennsylvania), and much of that expertise has been applied in Detroit.

“And then the ability for us to reach out to our sponsor base, and then the business community, which Bud is tied in with the key executives in the city of Detroit, bringing them all together,” Penske said. “It makes a big difference.

“The Super Bowl is really about the people that fly in for the Super Bowl. It’s a big corporate event, and the tickets are expensive. And the TV is obviously the best in the world. What we’ve done is taken that same playbook but made it important to everyone in Detroit. Anyone that wants to can come to the race for free, can stand on a platform or they can buy a ticket and sit in the grandstands or be in a suite. It’s really multiple choice, but it is giving it to the city of Detroit. I think it’s important when you think of these big cities across the country today that are having a lot of these issues.”

Denker said the Detroit Grand Prix is hoping for “an amazingly attended event” but is unsure of crowd estimates with much of the track offering free viewing. The race easily could handle a crowd of at least 50,000 daily (which is what the Movement Music Festival draws in Hart Plaza) and probably tens of thousands more in a sprawling track footprint along the city’s riverwalk.

Penske is hoping for a larger crowd than Belle Isle, which was limited to about 30,000 fans daily because of off-site parking and restricted fan access at a track that was located in a public park.

The downtown course will have some unique features, including a “split” pit lane on an all-new concrete (part of $15 million spent on resurfaced roads, new barriers and catchfencing … as well as 252 manhole covers that were welded down).

A $5 million, 80,000-square-foot hospitality chalet will be located adjacent to the paddock and pit area. The two-story structure, which was imported from the 16th hole of the Waste Management Open in Phoenix, will offer 70 chalets (up from 23 suites at Belle Isle last year). It was built by InProduction, the same company that installed the popular HyVee-branded grandstands and suites at Iowa Speedway last year.

Penske said the state, city, county and General Motors each owned parts of the track, and their cooperation was needed to move streetlights and in changing apexes of corners. Denker has spent the past 18 months meeting with city council members who represent Detroit’s seven districts, along with Mayor Mike Duggan. Penske said the local support could include an appearance by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Witmer.

Denker and Detroit GP  president Michael Montri were inspired to move the Detroit course downtown after attending the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We saw what an impact it made on that city in August of 2021 and we came back from there and said boy could it ever work to bring it downtown in Detroit again,” Denker said. “We’ve really involved the whole community of Detroit, and the idea of bringing our city together is what the mayor and city council and our governor are so excited about. The dream we have is now coming to fruition.

“When you see the infrastructure downtown and the bridges over the roads we’ve built and the graphics, and everything is centered around the Renaissance Center as your backdrop, it’s just amazing.”