It’s been an up and down start to 250SX East for Phoenix Honda’s Cullin Park and Progressive Ecstar Suzuki’s Marshal Weltin. Park was solid at the opener in Houston before suffering an AC joint separation in Tampa. Weltin missed both main events to start his season in Houston and Tampa, but was able to make his first main of the year in Arlington. Both had some good rides in a few of the Triple Crown races, but the overall results were off from where they both wanted to be.
Here's what each of them had to say after the race.
Cullin Park | 14th in 250SX
Racer X: Fourteenth tonight here in Dallas. Just kind of take me through your day and what you thought of it out there in the Triple Crown.
Cullin Park: First-ever triple crown for me. These were the two mains that I missed last year in my rookie year. Got into the Triple Crown and after Tampa, I got a grade three AC separation at Tampa. So didn’t even think that I was honestly going to be able to be here. Wasn’t able to ride in between. I did ride Thursday before I flew out just to make sure I could ride. Definitely weak today. I was on struggle street all day. I had two consistent mains going. I went 10-10, and then a 20. Killed my overall, obviously. Just someone had gone down, and their bike flipped into me. There was nothing I could do. I should have just put myself in a better position. Overall, just to be able to even be here in Dallas and race, be in the Triple Crown, learn more. That’s my first ever time racing one, so definitely mixed emotions on the night, but happy I got through it.
What’d you think of the track? The whoops got kind of notchy, but for the most part it looked good in other spots.
I got lucky with the whoops because yesterday they were gigantic, and luckily, they shaved them down a little bit. Just having a weak shoulder. Then obviously they started to get super chewed up, and then the dragon's too. Both those for me, just being weak. They were tough. Then third main, everything was just mangled so you were just trying to stay alive out there.
With the AC separation and you dealing with it going into Daytona, I have to imagine it’s going to be a little tough, right?
Yeah, but I have another full week now, so I’ll just go home, get recovered, and then I think I’ll just get better and better as the weekends go on now.
What kind of therapy are you working on?
I actually found a doctor up in Charlotte where I’m at. Doctor Bennet. He literally worked on me every single day since Tampa. So, shout-out to Doctor Bennet back in Charlotte. I’ll be seeing him on Monday. He’s been helping me, scraping me. It’s painful. It sucks to go through, but if that’s what it takes for me to be on the gate, that’s what I’ll do.
AC separation aside, the speed has been pretty good. What have you thought about it so far?
Yeah. I’ve made a big step this year. I’m just bummed that Tampa I finally got a good start in the heat and obviously it didn’t go the way I wanted. But I can’t dwell on that. I’m trying to move past that. Even today, 10-10, last year I would have never done that. Tenth is nothing to be proud of, but from where I was last year, I have to be happy with the progress I made. So, I just want to keep progressing as the season goes on. Now with the shoulder, I think I’m going to get better as the weeks go on. I’m going to get stronger again. But much better spot this year. When I show up to the races, I feel like I belong here, where last year I was just out there doing laps. This year I’m racing. There’s a difference, for sure.
Marshal Weltin | 16th in 250SX
Sixteenth overall. Just kind of take me through your day and what you thought of the Triple Crown out here.
Marshal Weltin: Triple crowns are tough, no doubt. Stressful with qualifying and everything. I’ve struggled the past two weeks putting it in the main, so it was nice to kind of get that monkey off my back. I raced last year and made all the mains, so it’s not like I don’t feel like I belong there, but coming off this injury it’s been tough with lack of prep. So, I’m happy to get today under my belt and get racing. Rode super tight and not really happy with my overall riding, but I’m happy I’m coming home safe, and I can work this week and be better.
Expectations-wise, obviously coming into the season with the injury so you’re not 100 percent. Are you really angry that you didn’t make those mains? Are you like, 'I’m just building, I’m trying to get better each week?'
I try not to put the expectations on it. I’m hired by the team, so it’s my job. I know that. I’m not happy or accepting that I didn’t make those mains at all. That’s just how it is. There’s nothing that’s positive to take away about not making it, so I’m happy to kind of get the ball rolling here.
How are we feeling on the bike? Everything setup-wise good? Are you happy?
Yeah, it is. The more I ride it, the more comfortable I get.
So, what are we building on now? What are we looking for? Are we eyeing a result? Are we just eying progress?
I’ve never really put numbers on anything. Obviously the lower the number, the better. I think what I need to do is just kind of relax a little bit more on the track and kind of be a little more open-minded. I get tunnel vision and start just doing the same mistakes over and over. So, I think that’s my next step is to just kind of see the track as a whole and be a little bit more playful.
I know outdoors went really well with you on this program, and Daytona isn’t an outdoor track, but it is a little more outdoorsy. So, are you excited for that challenge next week or what?
I really am. I like racing at Daytona. I’m excited to put in the work this week and come in strong.
How many Daytona races have you done before?
I think two. I’m not sure. I did one in 2016 and maybe last year. It’s hard to tell. I’ve definitely raced it a couple times, though.
Is there anything you’re going to do different prep-wise this week, have like a Daytona section built that you’re going to work on?
There’s some people up in Fresno. I think Wayne might have a Daytona track we can work in, just kind of weather permitting. California is getting hammered with rain right now. So, that’s going to play a factor, but it’s more sandy at his track. I’m hoping - he doesn’t know this yet - at some point riding the Daytona track this week.