With three races to go, IndyCar 2015 could still set a new record for most winners in a single season

1 Comment

Ryan Hunter-Reay’s first victory in a year at last night’s Iowa Corn 300 has kept alive the possibility of the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season setting a new record for the most different winners.

Back in June, we took a look at the pursuit of the record that currently stands at 11 from 2000, 2001 and 2014.

Hopes of a new record appeared to be fading after Josef Newgarden became a repeat winner at the Honda Indy Toronto, leaving the figure at seven with six races remaining.

In the three races that have followed, though, another two new winners have emerged in 2015. Graham Rahal ended his win drought at Fontana, and with Hunter-Reay winning last night’s race at Iowa Speedway, the figure stands at nine with three races to go.

So although the record remains within reach, it is still a long shot. Hitting the magic number of 12 would require a winless final trio of races for Rahal, Hunter-Reay, Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power, Scott Dixon, Sebastien Bourdais, Josef Newgarden and Carlos Munoz.

The ninth winner is James Hinchcliffe, who was ruled out for the rest of the reason due to injuries sustained in a crash at Indianapolis ahead of the Indy 500 back in May.

It is worth noting that some big names are missing from 2015’s list of winners, meaning that the record is perhaps not as unthinkable as first thought.

The leading winless driver in the standings is Helio Castroneves. Ranking third and with just 54 points to make up to Montoya at the top, the Brazilian is very much in the thick of the title race despite never gracing the top step of the podium.

Castroneves has come close, though. He has claimed three pole positions and led the most laps at three races, and very nearly completed a last-to-first charge in Milwaukee last weekend. If anyone is going to become the tenth different winner of 2015, it will be Helio.

Don’t discount the other Brazilian on the grid, though. Tony Kanaan is another driver who arguably should have won a race in 2015, coming closest at Fontana when he finished just three-tenths of a second behind Rahal at the checkered flag.

Had it not been for an engine issue on Saturday night in Iowa, the Kanaan may well have been in the fight for the win at the end. He is another driver to look out for in the final trio of races, particularly at Pocono given Ganassi’s strength on ovals so far this year.

So on the assumption that Castroneves and Kanaan win a race apiece in the final three rounds, 2015 will match the record. But who could be Mr. or Ms. 12?

Marco Andretti certainly has a good case given his consistency across the course of the season. The American has finished outside of the top ten in just three of the 13 races, lifting him to seventh in the standings with two podium finishes to his name.

Simon Pagenaud’s first year with Penske has been more about stability than success as he becomes accustomed to the team. The Frenchman has just two top tens in the last six races, though, and would need to buck the trend of his recent form if he wants to claim his first win of the year.

In reality though, another winner could come from anywhere. Sage Karam proved on Saturday that he has the fight and tenacity to battle at the front (even if Ed Carpenter was less than impressed). Charlie Kimball got in the mix at the Indy 500 back in May, finishing third overall. Takuma Sato is also a former winner.

The race to hit 12 is not yet over, and if we were to add another three names to the list of winners in 2015, it would have serious implications on the title race.

Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.

Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX