MRTI: Cape takes three of four wins to highlight Pro Mazda, USF2000 weekend at Barber

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It was a big – and needed – weekend for the Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing team across the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda championships at Barber Motorsports Park.

Neil Alberico took Sunday’s Pro Mazda win, for his third win in five races this season. Meanwhile Cape swept the USF2000 pair of races with Aaron Telitz (Friday) finally breaking through for his first win of the year, and Nico Jamin (Saturday) bouncing back in a big week from Saturday’s frustration. Weiron Tan of Andretti Autosport scored the Saturday Pro Mazda win.

INDY LIGHTS

See separate race recaps (Saturday, Sunday) for Spencer Pigot’s domination of Barber Motorsports Park for Juncos Racing in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.

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Tan and Buret get a little too close on Race 2 start. Photo: Pro Mazda

PRO MAZDA 

Tan – who’d starred at Barber during the frigid Winterfest back in February – continued his track dominance in the opening round of the weekend with a relatively unchallenged win over Juncos Racing’s Timothe Buret and Team Pelfrey’s Santiago Urrutia. About the toughest part of the race was the start, which was waved off three times before it finally went green. The win is the Malaysian’s first in the Pro Mazda regular season.

Sunday’s race was a crazier event, as Tan continuing his aggressive streak as he pushed Buret wide off the line on the start, which earned him a penalty. Later contact with Kyle Connery, another near incident with Buret, and another moment of contact with Buret’s teammate Jose Gutierrez followed during the 17-lap race.

Up front, Alberico seized the advantage after the start line fracas and despite not having the outright fastest car on the day, he moved ahead over Urrutia and another Juncos entry driven by Garett Grist.

Alberico’s win kicked off a three-peat day for the Rising Star Racing program, which supports young American drivers – Spencer Pigot (Indy Lights) and Josef Newgarden (IndyCar) completed the trifecta.

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Jamin splashes to victory in Race 2. Photo: USF2000

USF2000

Cape swept a USF2000 weekend for the first time since Toronto last year, when Jake Eidson and Florian Latorre split the victories.

Telitz, who has been nothing if not unlucky for most of the season, finally caught a break after starting fourth in Friday’s first race. Afterburner Autosport’s Victor Franzoni collided with Telitz’s teammate Jamin at Turn 2, which left the Frenchman stuck in a gravel trap.

Telitz completed two more passes on Eidson and Franzoni in succession, and the Wisconsin native held on from there for his first win of the year over those two.

Saturday’s race, slightly rain-delayed and held on a sunny but still wet track, saw Jamin recover in a dominant performance. Arguably the star of the race though behind him was Anthony Martin, the Australian driving for John Cummiskey Racing, who made several clean passes and made it up to a season-best second. Eidson was third for the second time in as many days.

WHAT’S NEXT

The most hectic race weekend of the season will occur May 6-9 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. While USF2000 and Indy Lights will have the standard two races, Pro Mazda will have three, with a makeup round added following the weather-affected cancellation of the race at NOLA Motorsports Park two weeks ago.

MAZDA ROAD TO INDY 2015 WINNERS TO DATE

  • Indy Lights: Ed Jones, Carlin (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg, Round 3, Long Beach); Spencer Pigot, Juncos Racing (Rounds 4-5, Barber)
  • Pro Mazda: Neil Alberico, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg, Round 5, Barber), Santiago Urrutia, Team Pelfrey (Round 3, NOLA), Weiron Tan, Andretti Autosport (Round 4, Barber)
  • USF2000: Jake Eidson, Pabst Racing (Rounds 1-2, St. Petersburg), Nico Jamin, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Round 3, NOLA, Round 6, Barber), Victor Franzoni, Afterburner Autosport (Round 4, NOLA), Aaron Telitz, Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing (Round 5, Barber)

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage