Wilson enters Texas ready to defend, and brimming with confidence


It says something about the caliber of driver Justin Wilson is, and the caliber of team Dale Coyne has put together in the last few years, that Sunday’s second race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual at Detroit was disheartening.

“We’re looking for more. We were disappointed with Race 2, only getting one car on the podium. It was a big disappointment. That was a nice way to look at things,” Wilson said Wednesday in an INDYCAR teleconference.

A double podium finish in race one, with Mike Conway following up on Sunday, has seen Coyne’s team at stratospheric heights it hasn’t been anywhere previously in its 30-year history in the sport.

So Wilson enters this year’s race at Texas not as an underdog, but as the defending champion. His oval game has improved, as has Coyne’s, thanks to the work of engineers Bill Pappas and John Dick.

The win last year did wonders for Wilson’s confidence and validated both team and driver on ovals, thanks to IndyCar’s technical adjustments that made the cars tougher to drive.

“It meant a lot, not only with the recognition but in the confidence,” Wilson said. “That’s the biggest thing, is having the confidence on an oval.  I felt like I knew what I was doing, but I still wasn’t classed as an oval driver.  I was kind of disregarded.  From that point on, I felt I had the confidence to go out there.  I knew what I was doing, knew what I was trying to achieve with the car in the race.”

Come this year, the aero is again slightly different, with the speedway aero configuration as used at Indianapolis and Fontana on for Texas, not the hybrid package as was used last year. Wilson explained what that can do.

“It’s going to be interesting.  They took the downforce away, made it harder to drive,” he said.  “But that was good because we weren’t flat out.  This year, I’ve been told they’ve taken even more downforce away, so I think we’ve lost another 300 pounds, if I’m correct.  I think that’s going to make it challenging again. It’s having that balance that saves the tires, and you can run longer in the stints.  That’s what we’re looking to do. We weren’t the quickest car outright, so people would pull away at the start of the stints, but we tried to manage it and be quicker over the full stint.”

Wilson will have his third different teammate in the No. 18 car in as many weekends, with Pippa Mann following Conway and Ana Beatriz.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Power Rankings after Detroit
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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points