We teased this last week in looking at the testing calendar for the IndyCar Series, but there was a big surprise down at Dale Coyne Racing. Indeed Arie Luyendyk Jr., son of the two-time Indianapolis 500 champion, is back in an IndyCar for the first time since 2006 as he tests today at Sebring.
Luyendyk’s driving career includes a record number of starts, 66, from 2002-2010 in Indy Lights although that included just one career win, the Chicagoland Speedway season finale in 2008. He has also served as a TV commentator for Versus and NBCSN’s Indy Lights races, driven IndyCar’s two-seater for guests and most recently, returned to racing earlier this year in Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks series.
Still, this is one of the longest stints outside the current IndyCar in years. Whether this is a sign of a serious move into Coyne’s team for 2014 or merely a one-off to garner some press remains to be seen.
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