MRTI: Seven races on tap for Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000 in critical weekend


LEXINGTON, Ohio – The single busiest weekend of the year for the Mazda Road to Indy is on tap this weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Here’s quick digests of what to expect in the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda seven-pack of races.

Indy Lights and Pro Mazda have two races apiece and USF2000 three at Mid-Ohio. This is the penultimate round of the season for the Mazda Road to Indy before the season finale weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September.


Photo: Indy Lights

The Milwaukee and Iowa oval races interrupted the formbook in the Indy Lights season, where two first-time winners emerged in the form of Felix Serralles and Max Chilton, respectively. Meanwhile, the only driver who scored podiums in both races was RC Enerson, rebounding quite nicely after his horrific Toronto accident in June.

Oddly that’s all taken the onus off the championship battle between Jack Harvey, Spencer Pigot and Ed Jones. Harvey has survived more than strived in the last two weekends, but fourth and fifth to Pigot’s seventh and eighth and Jones’ eighth and second have seen the Englishman extend his points lead to 18 points.

It seems there’s no better place for Harvey (pictured above) to come than the track where he utterly whooped the field last year, Mid-Ohio. Schmidt Peterson’s Harvey scored his first two career wins at Mid-Ohio last year.

Yet Pigot has been the man to beat on road and street courses this season. The young American, the Rising Star Racing-backed driver for Juncos Racing, has two road course weekend sweeps at Barber and Toronto, although he endured a nightmare weekend in the two races at the Indianapolis GP.

It’s Jones, of Carlin, who needs the biggest weekend. Jones has two podiums and five top-fives in the last six road and street course events, but no wins since banking the first three in a row to open the 2015 season.

The championship battle (Harvey 278, Pigot 260, Jones 258) is the primary storyline this weekend but there are others. Enerson has been desperately close to his first career win and sits a solid fourth in points. Meanwhile just five points separate fifth-placed Serralles from ninth-placed Scott Anderson. Indy GP race two winner Sean Rayhall also makes a welcome return with 8Star Motorsports after missing the races since the Freedom 100.


Tan leading in Pro Mazda. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

If the Pro Mazda championship was all about ovals, it would be Weiron Tan’s world and the rest of the field would just be living in it.

It isn’t, of course, and Andretti Autosport’s Tan needs another big weekend to close a 27-point gap to Team Pelfrey’s Santiago Urrutia, who has been the most consistent if not the outright fastest driver in 2015.

Urrutia hasn’t podiumed since the Grand Prix of Indianapolis weekend but with finishes of seventh, fourth and fifth in the last three races, he’s also limited mistakes.

This brings us then to a driver who is in desperate need of a good weekend, another of the Rising Star Racing drivers in Neil Alberico of Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing. Finishes of 14th, 17th and seventh in the last three races have knocked the likeable Californian back to third in points, 33 back of Urrutia.

Arguably the driver to watch this weekend is Canadian Garett Grist, who has won each of the last two years for Andretti Autosport in USF2000 and Pro Mazda. Grist seeks his second win of 2015 with Juncos Racing this weekend.

The other major storyline is the return of JDC Motorsports’ Michael Johnson, following his injuries sustained at St. Petersburg.


Jamin up front. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

With four wins and two runner-up finishes in the last six races, Frenchman Nico Jamin has placed a firm grasp on the USF2000 championship lead.

It isn’t out of the realm for title rivals Jake Eidson (17 back) and Aaron Telitz (57 back), but these two will need big results in the three USF2000 races at Mid-Ohio this weekend in order to have realistic championship hopes at Mazda Raceway.

Besides the proverbial top three, watch for Australian rookie Anthony Martin and Canadian rookie Parker Thompson, each in search of their first win as they complete the top five in points. There are also four new drivers on the entry list, to create a bumper grid of 18 cars.

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