Josef Newgarden is playing the IndyCar silly season game really well

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Upon speaking to Josef Newgarden at Mid-Ohio a couple weeks ago, I made the comment after we were done with our official conversation that he’s risen to become the domino in the Verizon IndyCar Series silly season for 2015 – a role previously held by Simon Pagenaud (2014) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012) in recent years.

It’s a lofty title and one the 24-year-old American rising star is fully worthy of, having finally become a race winner this season and with several options theoretically in play for him in 2016. Newgarden is on a one-year deal with CFH Racing for 2015 with a one-year option to continue next season.

The one thing he told me pretty definitively is that the racing in IndyCar is “the best racing on the planet right now,” and while he’s been mentioned as a possibility for Haas F1 Team next year, that’s more of a long shot for him at this stage.

With a two-week lull in the IndyCar schedule, the news has primarily been about schedule changes (Road America in, Phoenix maybe in, Fontana out) and lawsuits (Andretti vs. Andretti, because that doesn’t make anyone’s head hurt). But there hasn’t been any movement on the driver front.

Luckily, Newgarden has amped up his already strong social media game lately with a couple tweets you might not necessarily expect to see from a driver currently racing with CFH Racing.

First up was this one last week, that the four-year IndyCar veteran has a new street car, from Bobby Rahal BMW.

Graham Rahal offered this follow-up volley in return:

He’s also retweeted Newgarden a handful of times here in the last week.

But that’s not the only entity outside CFH appearing on Newgarden’s timeline.  Newgarden went home to Nashville last weekend and took in a Tim McGraw concert.

“Thanks for the love @BigMachine,” says part of his tweet.

Big Machine, of course, is Big Machine Records – a sponsor at Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, which has adorned Sage Karam’s car for the 2015 season. Taylor Swift is also a Big Machine artist, and her likeness was on Tony Kanaan’s chariot at Detroit – on the same weekend T-Swift played Ford Field there.

Lest that be the only form of Big Machine back-and-forth, Newgarden also had a test in what appeared to be an old NASCAR Truck in Nashville thanks to Scott Borchetta, who is President/CEO of the Big Machine Label Group.

Twitter has caught on, including notable IndyCar link hound Matt Archuleta (@indy44).

It’s pretty fascinating to watch, because Newgarden is playing the game really well in making public positive declarations about other outlets.

That, or it’s a freaky series of coincidences all coming back-to-back.

My idea? Since the IndyCar season is coming to a close here in two weeks, why not have the Newgarden Courtship play out as some form of reality show, maybe over a four or six-week period, since those seem to attract more viewers than they realistically should?

Have teams continue putting out their best offerings to sign him, and have Newgarden extend a Sharpie to teams he wants to carry on with to the next episode. Have the stakes get higher with every successive week.

Then, when it finally comes time to sign, Newgarden extends the final Sharpie and signs on the dotted line.

It would help pass the time… at least for the first month of what is shaping up to be another looooong offseason.

UPDATE: Who says Newgarden’s current team isn’t getting the love? In this faux commercial for Fuzzy’s Vodka, the non-drinking Nashville native can play a pretty good pitchman.

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
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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