With tight turns and limited passing areas, beating and banging is expected on a road course. But Paulie Harraka and Alex Kennedy took things to a whole other level in their respective Sprint Cup debuts Sunday.
Now, if they could only have hit the rewind button instead of each other.
Harraka, who comes from New Jersey, the same state as Sunday’s race winner, Martin Truex Jr., couldn’t have had a more embarrassing start to his Cup career.
Harraka didn’t even wait to make the mistake on the race track. He plowed into the rear of Kennedy’s stopped car – while both cars were still on pit road, waiting to roll out onto the track for the two parade laps prior to the start of the race!
To be fair, it might have been rookie jitters. Or maybe Harraka confused the gas pedal with the brake.
That, or maybe Harraka was texting and didn’t look up until it was too late.
After all, there’s not much of a better explanation, given how Harraka put the pedal to the metal at the worst possible time, causing major damage to both drivers’ vehicles.
Because cars were bunched up rolling off pit road, David Reutimann was forced to stop as the parade of cars in front of him slowed down abruptly.
Kennedy stopped, too.
But like someone who rear-ends a driver stopped in front of him at a red light, Harraka just kept on going until BAM!
Kennedy’s car definitely was worse for the wear. After repairs were made, he managed to complete just 30 laps of the 110-lap event before calling it a day with a 40th-place finish.
Harraka’s crew, meanwhile, was able to repair much of the damage on his own car and he wound up finishing 39th in the race, 21 laps off the lead lap.
Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points
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.
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
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto