Racer X Notebook: Indy

Racer X Notebook: Indy

March 19, 2013 1:30pm
By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt

- The Indy track looked promising in terms of options and passing early in the day, as one long rhythm section offered up several combos. But that doesn’t last long. Teams use video and expensive “ghost software” programs (which overlay multiple laps into one video) and can figure out which jump combo is fastest by the time practice is complete. Indeed, everyone started funneling inside in that rhythm lane once the races began. Ryan Dungey tried to make the outside work in the main, but although the line was fast, it offered him no chance to make a pass. The whoop section also broke down into one main line once the main events began.

- Early indications are that JGR will not have a fill-in for fill-in rider Kyle Chisholm. Josh Grant is expected back for the opening round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Looks like Justin Brayton will be carrying the torch for the remainder of supercross.

- We’re hearing that Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart is set to begin some outdoor testing. His knee has gotten a lot better over the weeks, and a full Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season is in the plans.

Nicoletti had a season-high fourteenth in Indy.
Simon Cudby photo

- N-Fab/Ti-Lube Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti scored a season-high fourteenth in Indy. After some early-season struggles, Nicoletti has now made three consecutive mains.

- Privateer Justin Sipes and Kyle Partridge were back in the main after missing out in Daytona. Sipes was involved in a first-turn pileup, but he recovered for a season-high sixteenth.

- Dodge/Sycuan/RCH Suzuki’s Josh Hill rode his best race of the year in Indy, finishing twelfth.

- Meanwhile, teammate Broc Tickle was involved in the first-turn pileup but fought back to finish eleventh.

- Eli Tomac’s four-race 450 stint on the east brought some hype. Tomac, who won a main event on a 450 at the Monster Energy Cup last year, couldn’t put a put a podium together in the 450SX class this time. His Daytona ride (fourth) was solid, but bad starts and a brief fall in the Indy main event held the GEICO Honda rider to a quiet ninth. Now it’s back to the 250 to prep for a West Region title fight with Ken Roczen.

- Mike Alessi had rear brake troubles in the main event, holding him to a seventeenth-place finish.

- With the third-fastest lap time in 450SX qualifying, it looked like a bounce-back night for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer. But he bounced—almost literally—in the first turn of the main event and took a long time getting back up. Another crash soon after ended his night.

Josh Hill had his best race of the season in Indy.
Simon Cudby photo

- Congrats to privateer Weston Peick on his first top-ten of the season after having to battle through the LCQ. Peick has now made eight of eleven main events in 2013.

- You have to love the Peick/Bobby Kiniry match-ups that keep materializing in the LCQs. They battled hard for the last spot in Atlanta, then battled into a near dead heat across the finish in Daytona. Indy’s LCQ rematch also included HRT Motothump Honda’s Jimmy Albertson, so you had three popular privateers fighting for two transfer spots in the main. Kiniry took the early lead, while Peick made a pass on Albertson for second. Albertson kept the heat on Peick, so Peick kept pushing and nearly caught Kiniry in the end. These LCQs are turning into the most exciting races of the night.

- Tough night for Kiniry’s N-Fab/Ti-Lube Yamaha teammate Chris Blose. He had a great start in his heat and was running in fourth early, but, in the midst of a five (yes, five) rider battle, Peick bumped him to the ground. A bad start in the LCQ cost him a chance at making the main.

- Notables who failed to qualify for 450SX main: Albertson, Blose, Ben LaMay, Les Smith, Cody Gilmore, and Travis Sewell.

- Rookie Watch #1: Following three consecutive top-five finishes—including his first career podium in Daytona—MyPlash/Metal Mulisha Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin finished a career worst twentieth in Indianapolis. Martin had a big crash with Munn Racing KTM’s Lance Vincent, putting a premature end to his night.

- Rookie Watch #2: Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Justin Hill matched a career-high fifth in Indy. Hill has steadily risen up the 250SX ladder, with a podium the next step.

- Rookie Watch #3: It was another tough night for GEICO Honda’s Zach Bell, as he hit the ground again in Indy. Bell was a victim of the sand section that swallowed a number of riders during the day and night.

Tough night in Indy for Jeremy Martin.
Simon Cudby photo

- Rookie Watch #4: Privateer rookie Mitchell Oldenburg, who slid under the radar coming into the season, continues to make a name for himself. Oldenburg survived the treacherous LCQ and rode to a career-high seventh.

- AJ Catanzaro shook the landscape with a fourth in Indy. The finish marked a career high for the Connecticut kid, whose previous best was an eleventh. Stay tuned to RacerXonline.com this week regarding more on Catanzaro’s big night.

- Although Slaton/Tuf Racing Honda’s Vince Friese secured a season-high sixth, he certainly didn’t make a new friend in MotoConcepts’ Gavin Faith. Friese, who is known for riding a wide bike, came together with Faith as the two were engaged in a heated battle. Faith would recover to finish eighth, but he didn’t look happy about how the situation unfolded.

- The Musquin and Hahn charges from nineteenth and twentieth to the podium drew the biggest headlines, but Eleven10 Mods Yamaha rider PJ Larsen also had a great run. He crashed on the first lap and actually dropped behind Musquin and Hahn, then came through from twentieth to tenth for his second top-ten finish of the east 250 season.

- Privateer Daniel Herrlein made his third consecutive main event in Indy—the first time in his career he’s made three straight—tying a season-high seventeenth.

- Cole Thompson continues to be plagued by crashes. The privateer was in podium position before sliding out near the finish line. Thompson has taken some hard hits this year but has shown the speed to be a contender. He just needs to put it all together.

Mitchell Oldenburg continues to surprise.
Simon Cudby photo

- Steven Clarke (Team National Switchgear/Shea Racing/PassportWorld.com powered by SMS Racing KTM) made his first main in Indy since round two in Atlanta. Clarke would finish a season-high eleventh, his best finish since a ninth in 2010.

- Privateer Levi Kilbarger was also back in the main, the first time since St. Louis. The Ohio native finished the night fifteenth.

- Notables who failed to qualify for 250SX main: Dean Wilson, Adam Gulley, Ryan Zimmer, and Brady Kiesel.