Castroneves tops tow, non-tow charts Tuesday at IMS on a tough day for Honda


Helio Castroneves led both the overall and non-tow speed charts during Tuesday’s practice session for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

The driver of the No. 3 Verizon/Shell Team Penske Chevrolet posted a 227.514 mph to lead the overall speed charts, and along with teammate Simon Pagenaud (227.382), the two were the first into the 227 mph bracket this month.

Right near the end of the six-hour session, Castroneves popped off the fastest lap without a tow to this point, at  225.315 mph. Sage Karam had been the fastest without a tow prior to that, at 224.035 mph.

Scott Dixon was third overall, followed by Justin Wilson and Townsend Bell.

Wilson’s day ended early and capped off a tough day for Honda-powered cars at the Speedway.

Near the end of the session, the popular Englishman pulled off entering Turn 1 with plumes of smoke out the back of his No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda.

It was the third mechanical related issue of the day for Honda. James Jakes also had smoke out the rear of his No. 7 Mediatech Advertising Honda (see below) and, most dramatically, a fuel leak caused an inferno for Andretti’s fifth driver this month, Simona de Silvestro in the No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda.

Per Indianapolis Star reporter Curt Cavin, Wilson’s was nearing a change while Jakes’ was relatively new.

A total of 34 driver/car combinations took time, with the only driver not to go out the 1996 Indianapolis 500 champion Buddy Lazier, who is expected to be on a short engine program (reduced mileage) in his No. 91 Lazier Racing Partners Chevrolet.

Of the 34, Marco Andretti ran in both his No. 27 Snapple Honda and Carlos Munoz’s No. 26 Cinsay/ Honda (the latter for four laps), while Dale Coyne Racing’s No. 19 Honda got its first running of the month with James Davison.

Davison is not confirmed yet for the remainder of the month, but is the likeliest candidate to continue behind the wheel even despite a conflict next weekend in Canada where he will be unable to qualify the No. 19 Honda. He’ll be racing in the Pirelli World Challenge races in the No. 33 AE Nissan GT Academy Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

Alex Tagliani, in the No. 48 A.J. Foyt Enterprises Honda, went out for an installation lap while teammate Jack Hawksworth in the No. 41 ABC Supply Co. Honda turned his first flying laps of the week after not running on Monday.

Speeds are below. Best overall speeds are the first column (227 and change) with best non-tow speeds to the right (225 on down).


Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

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.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

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

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

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SMX develops “Leader Lights”
Power Rankings after Detroit
Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan
Results and points after Detroit
Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points