10 Things to Watch: Indianapolis

10 Things To Watch Indianapolis

February 28, 2014 8:00am

 By Chase Stallo and Aaron Hansel

Terrifying Three-Peat

In sports, the use of the term three-peat is usually associated with something positive, but in Jeremy Martin’s case, it’s just the opposite. Considered a 250SX East title threat before the season started, the Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha rider has yet to qualify for a main event in 2014. At this point, title thoughts are gone and Martin is no doubt just looking to avoid getting zapped by lighting for a third straight time when the gate drops in Indy. –Aaron Hansel

Heat Race Main Event Hero

After sixty-three 250SX starts, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos finally broke through for a win in Atlanta last Saturday. He did it in convincing fashion too, taking the lead immediately and leading all fifteen laps. With the first win out of the way, will the rider who earned the nickname Heat Race Hero start clicking off a series of main event wins? - Hansel

Hahn It

The Georgia Dome is a special place for GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn, who took his first 250SX win ever there last year. It showed last Saturday night, too. Hahn was on it all day, setting the fifth-fastest qualifying time, transferring straight out of his heat and nabbing a strong fourth place in 450SX. If he has another night like that in Indianapolis he’ll be looking at another top five, or perhaps even a podium. -Hansel

RV goes for five straight this weekend.
RV goes for five straight this weekend. Photo: Simon Cudby

Simple Solution

Who knew all Ken Roczen had to do to repeat his winning performance from A1 was get a haircut? The Red Bull KTM rider showed up in Atlanta sporting a fresh cut and battled hard with Ryan Villopoto to take the win and reestablish himself as a contender who can vie for this championship not by consistent podiums alone, but by winning races outright. Look for Roczen and his manicured mane to be fighting for another win in Indy this weekend. -Hansel

Getting Set Up

With the dirt trending more in the harder, drier categories these last few years, teams are being forced to constantly revise their setups in the quest to find the perfect balance between stiff suspension that can handle big jumps and whoops without being so stiff that it loses traction on slick racing surfaces. As a result, riders have to rely even more on the expertise of the teams behind them as they struggle to achieve the best possible setup. Let’s see whose supporting cast nails it in Indy, and who forgets their lines. -Hansel

Wharton’s Redemption

Depending on how you look at the glass, Indianapolis has either been half full or half empty for Blake Wharton. Half full people will point to his 2012 win and his near win in 2013 before a final lap crash. Half empty people will just point out his last lap blunder a season ago. Indy has seen Wharton at his height and lowest. What cards will Indy deal Wharton this weekend? – Chase Stallo

Can Wharton get his first win of the year in Indy?
Can Wharton get his first win of the year in Indy? Photo: Simon Cudby

RV Goes For Five Straight

You have to go all the way back to 2009—Ryan Villopoto’s rookie 450 season—to find the last time RV has lost in Indianapolis. The three-time defending champ has found comfort in the Hoosier state, winning the last four main events. With a nine-point gap on last week’s winner Ken Roczen and nine races to go, will RV push his lead wider with his fifth straight win in Indy? – Stallo

Still In Contention?

One week after slicing RV’s led by seven points in Dallas, James Stewart’s early mistake in Atlanta tossed twelve points back in Villopoto’s direction. Now, Stewart is twenty-six points back with nine rounds remaining. Have the curtains drawn on Stewart’s title chances? Depends on whom you ask. But for Stewart to win the title, he would have to pick up an average of 2.8 points a round over the next nine. A tall order, but as we’ve seen, anything can happen in Monster Energy Supercross. Can Stewart get back in the title chase this weekend? – Stallo

Podium Streak

Since his four-race podium drought, stretching from A2 through San Diego, Ryan Dungey has rebounded with back-to-back podium performances the last two rounds—the only rider with two podiums during that stretch. Like Stewart, Dungey has a lot of ground to make up on Villopoto—thirty points to be exact. Can Dungey inch closer with his first win of the season? – Stallo

Wilson and Seely Welcome

Indianapolis will mark the 450SX debut for Dean Wilson. Filling-in for the injured Chad Reed on the Discount Tire/TwoTwo Motorsports Kawasaki, Wilson will be the first rider not named Reed to ride for the team since it started in 2011. Wilson has a little more than a week under his belt on the bike and told Racer X contributor Eric Johnson following the deal that “[he] just want to ride at my best potential and wherever that ends up is where it’s going to end up.” Wilson will have company in fellow 250SX West rider in Cole Seely, who will carry the flag for Honda Muscle Milk with Trey Canard and now Justin Barcia out. How will they fare on the big bikes at Indy? -- Stallo 

Bonus! The Claddaugh! St. Elmos! That piano bar! Steak and Shake when you’re done! Much to see and do at Indy…