Report: Derrick Walker reflects on IndyCar tenure and future

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The GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma marked the end of a brief era in the history of IndyCar. After the last car crossed the finish line, the celebration was over and the doors were shut, Derrick Walker was no longer the president of competition and operations.

Walker, 70, announced his resignation on July 30, which would take effect at the end of the season. Just over a week later, he helped complete the deal that would bring IndyCar back to Road America for the first time in eight years.

Respected racing journalist Gordon Kirby has written a profile on Walker, speaking with the former team owner about his short tenure in position “long considered a poisoned chalice.”

Following two years running Ed Carpenter’s team, Walker said he had two goals entering his time as president of competition and operations.

“I came in with those two ideas. I wanted IndyCar to get out of spec racing and I wanted to change the culture of IndyCar in a new way,” Walker said.

The Scotsman said his first year was “the worst,” with Walker basically using it for “on-the-job training” as his perception of the sport and the “dark side” of the front office changed from his time in the paddock.

“Like many people in the paddock you condition yourself to always look at the front office and say, it’s broken, it doesn’t work,” Walker said. “I always had the impression that the organization needed fairly radical changes. I thought we needed to get some people out of here and get some fresh blood in.”

But after two months Walker realized that the people in the front office were hard workers who often didn’t have the resources they needed.

“I saw them more as a brave bunch that were doing a very good job but they need some overall leadership and, most of all, they needed some support,” Walker said. “They needed to be told they weren’t that bad, that they were good at their jobs. But some changes were needed. Change was necessary.”

Other highlights:

  • On decision to resign: “Sometimes I didn’t agree with it. Sometimes I struggled with the lack of progress. Sometimes I didn’t feel there was enough support. But I kept my head down as a loyal employee and supported the company and did what I thought was best. My contract was up in June of this year and when it came time to consider the renewal of my contract I thought it was time to make a decision as to whether I would stay or seek other employment. I really felt strongly enough about my opinions but the one thing I didn’t want to be was one of those whinging employees in the ranks who are disgruntled with the system.”
  • Lack of performance feedback: “In two and a half years I’ve never actually had anyone sit me down and tell me what I’m doing right or wrong. I’ve never had the team owners sit me down and tell me here’s where we think you’re screwing it up. So I was very disappointed when these people who I have known for many years and many of them I’ve worked really hard to help, thought so ill of me. Quite frankly, I was shocked. But the reality is the reality and you accept it and move on. Cutting a long story short, that’s the way it came about.”
  • A car for the future: “I was planning to show my proposal (a 20-page Powerpoint) at Mid-Ohio for getting to a new car in 2018 or beyond. It depended on if the owners agreed when it would happen. It could be 2018 or it could be 2019 or 2020 but there is going to be a new car. I believed we needed to set a plan and start cracking along towards it to give us enough time to do the job right. But I never made the presentation to them to look at the future. I wanted to have more time for IndyCar and the team owners to plan for the new car and to get the message out to the fans and media. The fans, the manufacturers and the competitors all want to know where we’re going. IndyCar is about the cars and the stars but having a clean sheet of paper for the cars allows you to modify and rub on them, re-think and change.”
  • What’s next: “I’m going to go back to running my (USC GT Le Mans) team and business. I’ve got some good people and they’ve kept the team in good shape over the past two and a half years. I don’t know exactly what we’re going to do. I’ve got to get on the treadmill and find the money and look at other programs like Global RallyCross. I’m not restricted to anything. If I can find the money I’d like to continue in the USC and maybe other forms of racing.”

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s