As Justin Wilson is remembered, Oriol Servia hopes he did the car, family proud (VIDEO)

2 Comments

SONOMA, Calif. – “Nobody said it was easy. / It’s such a shame for us to part.”

“Nobody said it was easy / No one ever said it would be this hard.”

The second part of that first lyric from Coldplay’s “The Scientist” might be an apt term for the communal loss shared by the IndyCar community following Justin Wilson’s passing.

The first part probably describes the effort done by the Andretti Autosport crew to even prepare the No. 25 Honda for this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series season finale at Sonoma Raceway, and for the Wilson family in partnership with the team and Honda to make a decision to have Oriol Servia on board.

Sunday at Sonoma, race day, when Wilson was remembered pre-race before all 25 cars had their engines fired, was the final line in the lyric mentioned above.

Servia shared several interviews throughout the weekend with NBCSN’s Jon Beekhuis (see qualifying interview here) and the interviews, and emotions, continued on Sunday morning.

See several Wilson-related videos below, including an interview with Wilson’s younger brother Stefan and a moment of silence pre-race (Robin Miller’s touching tribute is linked separately, here).

Once the tough portion of the day was over, focus turned to the race itself and how Servia would progress forward from 19th place on the grid.

Servia – who struggled through the early part of the weekend in his first IndyCar road race since the May 2014 Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, then driving with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing – got better and better as the weekend went on.

In the race itself, he got up as high as third and was well-positioned on a similar strategy as Andretti Autosport teammate Marco Andretti and past Andretti driver Sebastian Saavedra, who did well on the day for Chip Ganassi Racing.

A late caution scuppered their strategy and resigned them to midpack, but all told Servia was pleased to come away with 12th – split directly between Andretti in 11th and Saavedra in 13th.

“It was actually great. I had a great time from the beginning,” Servia told Beekhuis post-race. “Friday I was struggling to even stay in the seat. Yesterday I made big improvements.

“Today every lap I got better, remember how to drive these machines. I was fighting with (Ryan) Briscoe (who ultimately finished fifth, one spot ahead of Montoya). I thought we had a better car than him. The last yellow didn’t work for me and everyone on my strategy and we got sent to the back. I thought we would have been top five. I hope Justin was proud of what we did.

“The most important thing, I had fun. He wanted me to have fun.”

Asked whether he felt he made a difference in helping the family, the team and the community moved forward, Servia said this weekend was a necessary first step.

“For sure, the adrenaline of the race kept me strong. There’s nothing that is gonna help us not fill the void of Justin not being here.

“But as I said at the bginning, we remember him, and inspire us to be a little better humans, like he was.”

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead

0 Comments

With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

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

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.


In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list