As suggested, could Alonso and/or Vettel in Indy 500 be a realistic proposition?


Could it happen? Would it happen?

In the aftermath of Nico Hulkenberg winning last week’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the magnitude that carries on the worldwide motorsports scale, it hearkens back nicely to the days when the modern gladiators could race in all different forms of motorsport, rather than being specialized in one discipline.

Our NBC Sports Group F1 pit reporter and insider Will Buxton suggested the possibility of drivers wanting or keen to do next year’s Indianapolis 500, which is the 100th running of the race.

Both Fernando Alonso of McLaren Honda and Sebastian Vettel of Scuderia Ferrari addressed the topic in Thursday’s Austrian Grand Prix edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series, Paddock Pass.

“As I said there are three races in the world are very attractive: Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Monte Carlo Grand Prix in Monaco. The other races are more normal. Those three are something unique,” Alonso told Buxton.

“I love the experience of being [in Le Mans] last year, seeing the passion. After winning in Formula 1, winning that race would be very special. The way they are pushing all the laps in a consistent pace is very attractive from a driver point of view. You’re doing the same car for many hours. In F1, you drive a different car every lap. There are many things that are variable.”

Regarding Indianapolis, Alonso replied to a bit of laughter, “Maybe, you know? I’m very young. If I shave, I’m very young.”

Vettel, who has a decent fan base in North America and has made several promotional appearances in the country – notably a 2012 appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman – hailed both the U.S. and Canada.

“Well unfortunately we only go there twice or once, once to U.S, and twice to North America,” Vettel told Buxton. “Racing there is always great, with a lot of fans coming. It’s one of the greatest races in the history of racing. If you look back a long way. Yeah there’s a couple of big events happening around the globe. Indy 500 is one of them.”

Here’s what he had to say when asked about Indianapolis.

“I know, I’ve seen that as well, the 100th anniversary. There’s no clash, but it’s not that easy to jump in. Unless you’re Nico Hulkenberg! Then you can do it. Just jumping in and doing a good job, oval racing is very different to racing in Formula 1.”

So that sets the scene, and it’s at this point we come to the thorny and inevitable next step of the calendar, which dictates all in terms of feasibility.

If there is no clash as suggested, that moves the Monaco Grand Prix either a week earlier to May 22 or a week after to June 5, and most likely it would be earlier as the third weekend in May. The 100th Indianapolis 500 has been announced for May 29.

Qualifying weekend for the Indianapolis 500 will be May 21-22. Almost certainly, the opening day of practice would be Sunday, May 8, before the track is converted over to road course specifications for the third Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis that runs May 12-14.

Assuming neither the May 8 or May 22 weekend has an F1 date on it, and provided Vettel (for sure) and Alonso (almost certainly) are still in F1 in 2016, they’d be available for those two preliminary weekends. The Spanish Grand Prix could run on either the May 6-8 or May 13-15 weekend.

As Vettel says though, you can’t just jump in and go for oval racing, and realistically that would mean at some point in the latter stage of 2015 a team would need to work out the details to provide either driver a preliminary test at the Speedway.

The Kurt Busch planning for 2014 began in May of 2013, when Andretti Autosport rolled a car out for him to do his rookie orientation, then announced in April 2014 that Busch would be competing in a fifth car in the Indianapolis 500. Busch, of course, won that year’s rookie-of-the-year honors.

Again, we return to the calendar. F1 heads for its summer break following the Hungarian Grand Prix on July 26 and is off until the Belgian Grand Prix August 23.

IndyCar has two weekends off after its Mid-Ohio race August 2. So in that two-week period before Spa, IndyCar teams could be available to run a car for an ROP test.

The catch there from an IMS scheduling standpoint is that August 7-9 is the MotoGP weekend on the road course. That takes the first of two off weeks out of play; however, the track could be open from there.

IndyCar ends its schedule on August 30 in Sonoma. There’s roughly a month to a month and a half from that point that could see usable track time before temperatures get too cold to utilize IMS.

F1’s schedule is hectic in September with three weekends racing, in Monza, Singapore and Suzuka.

F1 of course heads Stateside in October with the fourth United States Grand Prix in Austin on October 25. Could a window of possibility exist in-between the Russian Grand Prix on October 11 and the USGP two weeks later?

So that’s the schedule situation.

But the schedule only becomes something to sort if McLaren, Honda or Ferrari is OK with one of its World Champion drivers, A. having interest, B. acknowledging the interest, and C. allowing that interest to grow into something more – as Force India has done with Hulkenberg in allowing him to race at Le Mans.

Hey, at least Honda and JR Hildebrand have already talked about this on social media, and that’s half the battle itself.

Is it a likely scenario? Not really. Is it possible, provided all parties agree to it happening for the good of the sport, and the good of the 100th 500? Certainly.

Would it be absolutely mega if it happened? Completely.

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


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

Rider Power
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

Rider Power
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