Dixon takes first step to erasing Long Beach kryptonite with P3 in qualifying


LONG BEACH, Calif. – Yes, it’s only one qualifying session. But third on Saturday for Scott Dixon at his personal house of horrors – Long Beach – is a step in the right direction for him to actually get a result at what has been, statistically, his worst career track.

In eight prior starts, Dixon has only one top-10 finish, a fourth in 2010. A year ago he was 12th after a late race splash for fuel when leading.

“It seems really good. The Target car rolled off really well, better than we normally do,” Dixon, who’s back in his usual red No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet this week, told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast post-qualifying.

“I’m really proud of everyone on the Target team for getting it going. We were very good on the (Firestone) blacks. I hoped for more on the reds.”

Dixon noted his unlucky run of results at Long Beach, and reflected on how he hopes to finally shake the monkey off his back on Sunday.

“I want to win here,” he said. “Here and St. Pete have been the thorn in the side for a few years. Hopefully we get some good mileage out of the Chevy, and look for a podium I hope.”

Dixon enters the weekend only 15th in points, after finishes of 15th and 11th in the first two races. On the bright side, he’s only 10 points behind Simona de Silvestro in sixth place in points, who is not racing here in Long Beach this weekend.

SuperMotocross set to introduce Leader Lights beginning with the World Championship finals


In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.

Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.

Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.

The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.

“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”

Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.

SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.

When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.

SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.