Charlotte Update: Harvick leads, Dale Jr. battling shifter problem

0 Comments

Fast as usual, Kevin Harvick leads at the halfway point of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

At Lap 167 of 334, Harvick was leading two non-Chase drivers in Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Another early leader, Jeff Gordon, was situated in fourth and Brad Keselowski had made his way up to fifth.

Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, and Brian Vickers comprised the remainder of the Top 10.

Meanwhile, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is mired in mid-pack due to a shifter problem that developed shortly after Lap 130. After leading some laps early on, Junior is running 22nd on a night where he must perform well in order to recover from his crash last weekend at Kansas in the Contender Round opener.

Pole sitter Kyle Busch led the first 13 laps of the race before Gordon went to the outside and took the point at Lap 14. Gordon would pace the field up to the Lap 25 competition caution (occurring due to an earlier shower at the track this afternoon).

A two-tire stop under that yellow enabled birthday boy Earnhardt to jump Kyle (four tires) for the lead going into the restart at Lap 31. But Kyle quickly dispatched Earnhardt for the lead moments after the green flag, and Earnhardt subsequently faded back to fifth by Lap 40.

Gordon re-asserted himself and again grabbed the lead at Lap 38, and one lap later, Harvick moved by Busch himself for second position. Meanwhile, Keselowski and Larson started to make their presence felt by moving into the Top 10 after having sub-par qualifying sessions on Thursday.

Green flag stops began at Lap 70 with Joey Logano, who had a poor opening stint and was 23rd at the time but can afford a bad night thanks to his win last week at Kansas.

Gordon and Harvick followed by pitting together from first and second at Lap 75, triggering a rush to the pits among the rest of the leaders.

Keselowski’s stop at Lap 79 ended the cycle with Gordon, Harvick, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, and Earnhardt as the Top 5; Keselowski wound up ninth but was up to seventh at Lap 90.

On Lap 95, the second caution of the night flew for Clint Bowyer slowing on the track with what appeared to be an engine failure on his Toyota. Another wave of yellow-flag stops ensued and once again, Earnhardt jumped to the lead with a two-tire call.

But also taking two was McMurray, and following the restart at Lap 100, Big Mac drove by on the outside in the tri-oval to take the point. His stint in P1 was short-lived, however, as Harvick passed McMurray in the tri-oval himself to become the new leader at Lap 105.

Also pushing hard off the restart was Keselowski, who made his first appearance of the night in the Top 5 as Earnhardt dropped out of the same bracket with the two fresh tires. Johnson was also doing well at this point, having moved up from 21st on the grid to eighth at Lap 118.

While those charges were taking place, Harvick had stretched out his lead over Gordon to more than six seconds before Paul Menard’s engine blew up down the backstretch at Lap 136 to bring out the caution.

Before that yellow came out, Earnhardt reported to the pits that his gear shifter had broken in his hand and he was forced to go to the pits. He pitted again while the leaders had normal yellow-flag service (which ended with Harvick keeping his lead), but was then hit with a speeding penalty.

Eventually, crew chief Steve Letarte opted to have Junior stay out instead of going back in for another stop so he could stay on the lead lap.

He took the restart at Lap 143 in 23rd, last among those on the lead lap.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

0 Comments

Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s