Andretti Autosport continuing to move upward in IndyCar


The 1-2 finish by Carlos Munoz and Marco Andretti in the first of the two Belle Isle weekend races two weeks ago was the high point for Andretti Autosport thus far in 2015.

But Saturday night’s 5-6 finish by Andretti and Munoz in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway may be a bit more representative of where the team will continue to build in the second half of the Verizon IndyCar Series season.

The third-generation Andretti has been on a roll for his grandfather and father’s team of late. Marco has earned three top-fives in the last three races: second at Belle Isle #1, fifth in Belle Isle #2 and fifth Saturday at Texas.

Those were the first top fives of the season for Marco Andretti, who also has four other top 10s in 2015. As a result, he’s climbed to sixth in the point standings (93 points behind series leader Juan Pablo Montoya) and is sporting an average finish of 8.3 per race.

“We were sort of just hanging on to it tonight,” Andretti said after Saturday’s race. “Seemingly lacking a bit of grip and pace to the front runners, so we had to get the top five the way we did it. It was an awesome job by my Snapple guys. We just need to keep hanging in there, that’s all we can do.”

Munoz, currently 12th in the standings (140 points behind Montoya) has Andretti Autosport’s only win of the season (Belle Isle #1). By finishing sixth at Texas, he now has four top 10 (including his win) finishes in the first nine races and has improved his per-race finishing average to 11.6.

“I think I gave 100 percent, everything I could,” said Munoz, who consistently hung in the top seven of Saturday’s race. “We finished sixth – a great position, and I think I did quite good with our stops and pushing hard. It was good for experience, another top 10, and now we’re looking forward to Toronto (Honda Indy Toronto on June 14).”

But as good as Andretti and Munoz have fared of late, teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay has been somewhat of an enigma.

After finishing sixth in the IndyCar standings last season, the 2012 IndyCar Series champ has struggled for much of 2015.

He left Texas 13th in the standings (165 points behind Montoya) and has just one top-five (fifth at Birmingham) and two other top 10 finishes (St. Petersburg and Belle Isle #2).

Not surprisingly, his average per-race finish is 12.1, including finishing a disappointing 18th at Texas due to ongoing handling issues throughout the race.

“Unfortunately, I think there’s something wrong with this car – it’s the same one we had at (Indianapolis) – and we’re going to ‘kitchen sink it’ as they call it, for the next oval race,” Hunter-Reay said Saturday. “We’re just going to come back with a different tub, a different everything because it’s not this difficult.

“There’s no excuse for this. … I’m just glad I brought it back in one piece – it was loose the whole night no matter what we did to it. Meanwhile, my teammates (Andretti and Muñoz) were adding front wing the whole night trying to get the front to grip up.”

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

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points