The Indy track offered up good, tacky dirt in some sections but was also slippery in others. Things got really interesting when the ruts developed, though, especially in the whoops. That’s what gobbled up Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton and cost him an absolute sure win in the 250 class. Apparently Blake missed a whoop with his front wheel and that was all she wrote. We tried to track him down after the race but, not surprisingly, he was already outta there. Got to put this one behind him as soon as possible!
Oh, but Dean Wilson has to feel even worse. He crashed on the first lap of his heat race when he landed on a tuff block, and hit the deck hard. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider then was off to the hospital. No word on what the damage is, yet, but Wilson’s feelings are hurt he most—his title chances are most likely over.
But Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin is right in this, just nine points down on Wil Hahn. He and Hahn were laughing on the podium, amazed that they could be stuck in last and next to last and still make the podium. But Hahn feels like he let the race get away, he didn’t ride as aggressively as he would have liked in the first few laps. Musquin, meanwhile, was aggressive from the very first moments. He was up to 12th by the second lap! And he’s now down just nine points on Hahn.
It seemed, at first, like maybe it wouldn’t be Ryan Villopoto’s night. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was struggling a bit in practice lap times, although several riders commented that it was hard to get in a clean qualifying lap. But he came back to win his heat and then made things happen in the main event. He and Ryan Dungey were really pushing it, and Dungey even said, “I could tell, watching his riding style, that he was going all out, and then you could see the fatigue kicking in a little bit. And I was feeling it, too.”
Wharton (13) had the win locked down until he tossed it away. In contrast, Kyle Peters (50) was in a happy off with AJ Catanzaro, who finished a career-best fourth. Privateer dudes had a field day on this crazy night!
Just not happening for Chad Reed right now.
Definitely some battling going on in Indy.
Dungey was trying to set something up in the long rhythm lane, trying an outside line on the entrance, where Villopoto (and most riders) were hugging the inside. While Dungey’s line looked faster, Villopoto would pull away around the rest of the track so Dungey couldn’t get close enough to pass him. Villopoto also said by hugging the inside, he figured Dungey wouldn’t be able to pass him. In a season of crazy parity and depth, might it just all boil down to the two Ryans, again?
We’ll see. Davi Millsaps might not have the points lead anymore, but the Rockstar Energy Racing rider does have heart. He said his injured knee felt bad in practice but adrenaline made the pain go away in the heat and the main—and in the main, he fought hard with Villopoto and James Stewart early. Then it all caught up to him. “I got arm pump, I’ll admit it,” he said. Millsaps hasn’t been riding much lately because of the injury, but he feels good now and thinks he can get back to his regular program and build back up to where he was.
It looked like a showdown was looming in the main when James Stewart got the lead, and Villopoto, Millsaps and Dungey were all in position to challenge. Then Stewart tipped over in the rutted off-camber corner, and stalled his bike. That put him back in fifth, but he dug deep and closed back in on Millsaps late. When Millsaps crashed on the last lap, Stewart rolled past for a hard-earned third.
Not a good day or night for TwoTwo Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed. The Aussie just never seemed to be in the fight in practice, his heat or the main.
Trey Canard seemed like he was set for a good night after fast practice times and a good run in his heat race, but it came undone, literally, when he came off the motorcycle while coming in close with his teammate Justin Barcia in mid air over the finish line jump. Barcia said they didn’t actually touch. Canard took a hard hit and said his shoulder hurt, but x-rays were negative, and we saw him back at the Muscle Milk Honda truck at the end of the night, bruised but not broken. Good thing—that one was scary.
Bobby Kiniry also had a rough one, crashing in the first turn of the main event (and, he made it into the main by besting his LCQ rival Weston Peick). Kiniry has a torn ACL and is struggling when he takes hard hits. The N-Fab TiLUBE Yamaha rider called it a night soon after.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer went down in turn one and took a pretty good hit. He was slow to get up and get back on the bike, and his bike was all twisted up. He was credited with 20th. Too bad, because Weimer was third fastest in practice and looked set for a bounce-back weekend.
This was by far Andrew Short’s best ride since jumping on the BTOSports.com KTM team. He had good starts and ran a strong pace en route to seventh. Dude isn’t even talking about the broken pinky, he’s tough like that.
On the other hand, his teammate Matt Goerke also had a good start in the main but he crashed and tweaked his wrist. He still finished eighth! No quit over there in the BTO rig!