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This Week in SuperMotocross: Playoff 2 – Joliet, IL

September 14, 2023

450 Class Playoff 1 Recap: Concord, NC

Sexton Takes Maiden Playoff Victory: Chase Sexton swept the 450 Class Playoff at zMax Dragway to become the first ever winner in the new post-season format. Sexton now has 20 AMA victories which is good for 33rd all-time. Sexton was able to gain five-points on Jett Lawrence and leads the field by 12-points going into double-pointed Chicagoland Speedway.

Runner-Up Roczen: Ken Roczen scored a consistent 3-3 to nail down a runner-up overall finish at zMax Dragway. He moves into fifth in 450 Class SMX points and trails Sexton by 14-points going into Chicagoland Speedway. It was his 148th career AMA Podium in 268 career AMA starts.Roczen has podiumed in six of his previous seven AMA starts.

Ferrandis Rounds Out First 450SMX Podium: Dylan Ferrandis scored his 68th career AMA podium at zMax Dragway with 2-4 moto scores. He is only 13-points back from the red-plate with double and triple point races remaining. Ferrandis was making his 135th career AMA start.

Aaron Plessinger in the Mix: Plessinger scored a fifth overall to stay in second in the SMX point standings. He is 12-points off of the red-plate. He now has 78 top-five finishes in 190 career AMA starts.

450 Class: Joliet/Illinois Historical Facts

History Lesson: The only 450 Class race held in Joliet was on April 29, 2000 at Route 66 Raceway, which is adjacent to Chicagoland Speedway. It was the penultimate round of the 2000 450SX Class season and Jeremy McGrath would clinch his seventh and final Championship with a victory aboard his Yamaha. David Vuillemin (Yamaha) and Kevin Windham (Honda) rounded out the podium. Just like the first 2023 SMX Playoff round in Concord, NC, the 2000 Joliet Supercross was built on a dragstrip.

Illinois History: The second Playoff round at Chicagoland Speedway will be the fourth time two-wheel off-road racing has occurred in Illinois, with the previous three being in three different locations in three different seasons. The 1977 Sandy Oaks Raceway National in Keithsburg, IL was solely a 125cc National and was the first race held in Illinois. The 1983 St. Louis International Raceway (now Gateway Motorsports Park) National in Madison, IL would host a full 125/250/500cc slate on its Dragstrip, just like the Joliet Supercross that would occur 17 years later. Bob Hannah (Yamaha) swept the day in the 250cc Class (Now 450 Class) while Broc Glover (Yamaha, 2-1) took the overall in the defunct 500cc Class. Chicagoland Speedway is set to host the third 450 Class race in Illinois’ history and second in the history of Joliet.

Speedway History: Daytona International Speedway is most famous for hosting Motocross events dating back to the early 70s and a Supercross round every season since 1974. Talladega Superspeedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Oklahoma State Fair Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Road Atlanta, and Pocono International Raceway are other predominately car racing facilities that have held AMA events in the past. Chicagoland Speedway is set to be the 10th when including Joliet’s Route 66 Raceway and zMax Dragstrip.

Championship %: When combining all six rounds of AMA racing between three classes in Illinois history, the winner went onto win their respective title only 2/6 (33%) times. That was the 500cc Class at St. Louis Intl. Speedway in 1983 with Broc Glover and the 2000 450SX Class race with Jeremy McGrath.

Jo Shimoda celebrates his 250 win

250 Class Playoff 1 Recap: Concord, NC

Back-Jo-Back: After scoring Kawasaki’s first win of the 2023 season in the final regular season SMX round Jo Shimoda scored 4-1 moto finishes to nail down his fifth career AMA victory and the first ever SMX Playoff race win. The win moves him into the top-100 all-time in AMA victories. Shimoda also scored enough points to grab a share of the red-plate going into Chicagoland Speedway.

Tom Vialle In Contention: Tom Vialle is seriously in contention being only four-points off the red-plate and with double/triple point races remaining. He scored 3-2 moto finishes to earn the runner-up finish at zMax Dragway. Vialle only had two podium finishes in his 21 American starts (10 250SX, 11 250MX) and they were both during the Motocross season.

Haiden Deegan Nabs Half of the Red-Plate: After a bad day by Hunter Lawrence Haiden Deegan and Shimoda were able to score enough points to steal a split of the red-plate from H-Law. Deegan won the first moto and finished the day 1-5. Deegan has nine podiums in his first 23 AMA starts.

Ryder D With Career Day: Ryder DiFrancesco scored 7-3 moto finishes to nail his first career top-five finish in his AMA career. He had previously made 16 250 Class starts, 11 this season, with no top-fives and four top-10’s. DiFrancesco has never made a Supercross start. He does have four Supercross Futures Class wins however.

250 Class: Joliet Market Historical Facts

History Lesson: The first and only 250 Class race that was held in Joliet was on April 29, 2000 at Route 66 Raceway and was the 250SX Class Eastern Regional finale. Ernesto Fonseca (Yamaha) took the victory but Stephane Roncada’s runner-up finish was good enough to clinch the 250SX Class Eastern Regional title. Roncada and Brock Sellards came into the finale tied with 150 points and young phenom Travis Pastrana only six points behind them. Pastrana would finish third and Sellards fourth but in the points Sellards took the runner-up spot with TP199 rounding out the top-three.

Illinois History: The first ever 250 Class race held in Illinois was on June 12, 1977 at Sandy Oaks Raceway in Keithsburg, IL. Bob Hannah (Yamaha) took the overall with Danny LaPorte (Suzuki) in second and Broc Glover (Yamaha) finishing third. It was the only National held at Sandy Oaks but the park is still in operation today. The previously mentioned 1983 St. Louis International Raceway was the second 250 Class race held in Illinois and Jeff Ward (Kawasaki) took the overall with Johnny O’Mara (Honda) and Ron Lechien (Yamaha) finishing on the podium. Fonseca would take the 2000 Joliet Supercross victory meaning Chicagoland Speedway’s 2023 SMX Playoff race will be the fourth race held in Illinois.

Ken Roczen

Manufacturer Wins in Illinois (All Classes) (Last Win)

Yamaha: 4 (2000)

Kawasaki: 1 (1983)

Honda: 1 (1983)

Top Winners in Illinois (All Classes)

Bob Hannah: 2 (1977 & 1983)

Jeff Ward: 1 (1983)

Broc Glover: 1 (1983)

Jeremy McGrath: 1 (2000)

Ernesto Fonseca: 1 (2000)

First Time Winners in Illinois


SMX Past Winners in Illinois

Sandy Oaks Raceway (1977)

250 (125cc) Class: Bob Hannah (1-1), Yamaha

St. Louis International Raceway (1983)

450 Class: Bob Hannah (1-1), Honda

250 Class: Jeff Ward (1-1), Kawasaki

500 Class: Broc Glover (2-1), Yamaha

Route 66 Raceway (2000)

450SX Class: Jeremy McGrath

250SX Class: Ernesto Fonseca