What to watch for: IndyCar’s Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway


FORT WORTH – Here’s a look at what to look out for in the ninth round of IndyCar’s 2015 campaign, the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway (8:50 p.m. ET, check local listings), the second oval race for the series following the Indianapolis 500 last month.

Texas-style falloff

They all have different terms for it. Ryan Briscoe: “skating around on eggs.” Stefano Coletti: “a roller coaster.” For Tony Kanaan, it’s simply “slippery.”

They’re the ways you can describe racing at 215 mph around the 1.5-mile TMS after your tires begin falling off after just two laps.

“I think it’a going to be pretty difficult,” Graham Rahal said. “I can feel it at the end of my second qualifying sim lap (in practice). I could feel my tires going of already.”

Rahal doesn’t believe anyone will be able to make it a full tire-stint under those conditions.

“We asked for this,” Rahal said. “We wanted this on the road courses and the ovals. It’s more in the driver’s hands and the teams’ to get it right, as compared to being in a pack and getting lucky.”

Rahal said this will lead to “a ton” of passing at track once known for pack racing (the kind of racing track president Eddie Gossage wants to get closer to after a dud in 2014). But don’t to expect the “life or death” moments of years past.

“I think some of the Chevy drivers said they felt like there would be pack racing here again,” Rahal said. “There’s just no chance. It is going to be tough (Saturday).”

Introduction to “No Limits” 101

Stefano Coletti had one thought when he turned his No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet into TMS’ 24-degree Turn 3 for the first time.

“Wow, this is banked.”

That’s the reaction of someone who has raced on only one other oval in his career, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Coletti will be making his first start at TMS Saturday night, starting dead last in the 23-car field.

“Indianapolis and Texas are completely different,” Coletti said after his qualifying attempt Friday. “Here it is pretty hard … it squishes you down like you are going up and down on a ride.”

Sage Karam, who has more extensive oval experience, is also being baptized by the 1.5-mile track, but much further forward in the field in 10th.

“When you go into Turn 3, you start turning in and it’s flat,” Karam said. “Then all of sudden you hit max bank and the thing just wants to rotate on it’s own and it gives you that weird sensation. It kind of caught me by surprise.

“I came in actually, two or three laps into the stint. I’m like, ‘Guys, is that normal to feel like that?’ They’re like, ‘yeah, absolutely.’ You just got to commit to this place.”

A Texas-sized microcosm

Through eight races in 2015, the Verizon IndyCar Series has seen six different teams win with seven drivers. TMS has had its own version of this parity over the last seven years.

In the last nine races in Fort Worth, eight different winners have visited Victory Lane. The only driver to have an encore performance has been Helio Castroneves (2009, ’13).

The top 10 on the starting grid includes six drivers who have yet to fire the six-shooters and wear the cowboy hat that say you won at Texas Motor Speedway.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


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