Staging Area: Indianapolis

Staging Area Indianapolis

March 16, 2017 12:20pm

Indy, here we come! One of the most underrated cities on the schedule, Indy has found itself all over the map when it comes to timing. My first year of supercross in 1997, Indy led off the East Coast series and was a rutty mess due to a wet winter and Dirt Wurx still perfecting their track prep methods. This year Indy is placed in mid-March and while there will be ruts here and there, it won’t be like the old days in the RCA Dome. Last year’s race saw a great battle between race winner Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen. Eli Tomac was running in third before a fall pushed him off the podium. Tomac has had mixed performances here with crashes marring his results in 2015 and 2016, but he did score a podium in 2014. The track conditions typically favor his skill set, but he simply can’t afford another mistake this season or the title will be out of his reach.

The track this year doesn’t look too difficult but as we often talk about here in Staging Area, the dirt and jump angles can change all of that. The start goes across the stadium’s width, which means a fairly short run before a 90-degree turn to the left. That left goes directly into a rhythm section and that combo has taken heat in past years. If someone decides to get frisky and triple, things can go awry very quickly. Those decisions on the opening lap are always critical for keeping everyone upright. On the normal lap, I see this section being a 2-3-2 out of the berm. It’s possible that a triple out of the turn will create a 3-3-1 but with whoops just before and what looks to be a short berm, I would lean towards doubling out of the turn.

Feld Motor Sports

Cutting across the inside of the next turn looks to be ideal, setting up a 2-3-1 along the back end of the track. Following the next 90-degree left, there are three jumps before a standard supercross triple. Tripling out of the turn, carrying all of that speed and being able to scrub the main triple would be ideal, but it might not be an option depending how that’s built. If the third jump is small, riders will double out of the turn and then wheelie/blitz through it before hitting the triple. If it’s bigger, they will have to find a way to land on the downside it and accelerate for the triple.

That main triple lands into a 180 left and fires back towards another supercross triple. Look for riders to try to scrub these two back-to-back triples in order to gain some valuable time. Another bowl berm leads into a rhythm section headed back towards the mechanics area. I think riders will wheel tap onto the tabletop and then skip to the next tabletop and then off. It is always faster to land on tabletops and skip off than it is to drop into the holes in between. Momentum can be carried forward instead of that upwards pop that the jump faces create. Speed is created by going outwards, not upwards. After the mechanics area, there is a basic on-off out of a 90-degree left. I see riders checking up early and cutting across the inside and then jumping diagonally towards the following 120-degree bowl berm. 

The finish line jump clears the entire start straight which is always a cool variation, but scary the first time. A slight bend leads into a short whoop section which will probably become a jump-in-jump-out for riders like Marvin Musquin. One more bowl berm leads into a longer whoops section before finishing the lap. The whoops in Indy always break down and become very inconsistent. Ryan Dungey will blitz them no matter what, as that’s his tendency but riders like Tomac and Musquin could find themselves piecing together some sort of jump/blitz hybrid that also works. That situation will continually evolve as the track deteriorates.

Overall, the track is fairly basic. If the dirt is soft, though, all of that could change. Last year, the dirt caused several mistakes in the main events. With the straight-forward design, the dirt will be the X-factor.


Questions I Want Answered:

Which way will the momentum pendulum swing for Dungey/Tomac leaving Indy?

Can Marv bounce back?

Who steps up in the 250 East?

Can Adam Cianciarulo or Joey Savatgy catch Zach Osborne in the points this weekend?
Can Adam Cianciarulo or Joey Savatgy catch Zach Osborne in the points this weekend? Rich Shepherd

Who’s Hot:

Eli Tomac gained seven points on the red plate of Ryan Dungey last weekend and has to be energized rolling into Indy.

Adam Cianciarulo won his first race since 2014 in a wire to wire performance at Daytona. He was the feel good story of the weekend.

Joey Savatgy bounced back with a second place finish to his teammate but more importantly, picked up six points on Zach Osborne.

Dylan Ferrandis held strong and ended up with his first podium finish at Daytona.

Ferrandis was all smiles after his first career 250SX podium in Daytona.
Ferrandis was all smiles after his first career 250SX podium in Daytona. Jeff Kardas

Who’s Not:

Mookie hasn’t been able to make big progress in the main events. He has been prone to that critical mistake that keeps him outside of the top 10. His speed is solid but it’s been a learning experience so far.

Justin Bogle had a rough night in Daytona, missing the main event. His riding definitely wasn’t the problem, but there is simply no time to fix mistakes on a track with no passing and short qualifiers

Colt Nichols suffered another leg injury that will sideline him for the near future. He was really starting to find his stride, but I am sure he will come back stronger than ever.

Poor Jimmy Albertson went down hard and is still in the hospital as we speak. He has several broken bones but in typical Jimmy fashion, is upbeat about his plight.

Bold Predictions

Ryan Dungey issues a formal apology to his goggles for the abuse unleashed in Daytona.

Justin Bogle records a diss album about Daytona and hits #1 on the Billboard charts.

Ryan Dungey wins Indy and stretches the points lead back to 20.

David Vuillemin puts a shock collar on Christian Craig and every lap he isn’t winning … ZAP.

In a complete turnaround from Daytona, a pass is made in one of the races.


My Picks

250

Zach Osborne

Adam Cianciarulo

Joey Savatgy 

450

Ryan Dungey

Eli Tomac

Jason Anderson