Indianapolis tire test gathers data for 100th Indy 500, while track springs for free lunch for fans


Wednesday was more than just your typical tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Yes, officially, it was a tire test for Firestone, which gathered data for the rubber compound that will be used in tires in next year’s 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29, 2016.

Unofficially, it was a laid back, fan-friendly affair – but with a very unique twist: the Speedway even catered a free lunch (Jimmy John’s) for those fans that attended.

What a deal!

Let’s go through some of the testing details before we move to some of the top social media elements of the day.

As for the day’s business:

“Every time you have an opportunity to be here, especially with helping Firestone develop even better tires, it’s important,” three-time Indy 500 winner Castroneves said after exiting the No. 3 Team Penske Chevrolet. “The beauty of working with Firestone is they try all the details, and that’s why we’re here.

“It’s about grip – left side and right side – and what line you can take, and they really want your feedback after every run.”

In addition to tires, changes to aerodynamic bodywork components this season and potential changes for next season further magnified the reason for Wednesday’s test.

“It’s very important to Firestone,” said Dale Harrigle, chief engineer for Bridgestone Americas Motorsports and manager of race tire development. “We were here in 1911 (for the first Indy 500) and we’re going to be here for the 100th running, so it’s a great milestone for Firestone.”

Among drivers that took part in the test – and the concurrent team test that also took place – were Castroneves, Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Ryan Hunter-Reay and others.

“We don’t get much testing during the season, so it’s great to be here to get ready for next year already,” Pagenaud said. “We’re doing a lot of aero testing.

“With the new aero kit, we didn’t really get a chance to extract the best out of it yet. There’s so much potential; we’re trying to understand all the bits and pieces. There are a lot of combinations that we’re trying.”

Now let’s check some of the best bits and hits from the social media world:

It was especially good to see James Hinchcliffe at the track, taking things in as an observer (although at the same time likely chomping at the bit to get back into a car), along with his buddy Conor Daly.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles really got into the spirit, especially proving that there truly still is a thing like a free lunch.

Boles also touted the speeds some cars reached in this video:

Simon Pagenaud was among drivers that took part in the day-long test.

Other drivers that took part included Tony Kanaan, Ed Carpenter, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti.

Marco Andretti ran 525 miles – 25 miles longer than the Indy 500 – in Wednesday’s test.

What did he do for an encore? He hopped a plane to head to Sonoma Raceway for yet another test on Thursday in preparation for the season finale on Aug. 30.

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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