INDYCAR has made a key change in its competition department, with Bill Pappas set to replace Will Phillips within the organization.
Pappas, who worked well with the late Justin Wilson and was most recently with KVSH Racing, will start as Vice President of Competition, Race Engineering.
The full release is below:
INDYCAR announced that veteran racing engineer Bill Pappas has been named Vice President of Competition, Race Engineering. Pappas brings more than 30 years of motorsports experience to the position and has cultivated strong relationships throughout the racing community.
“We are very pleased to have someone with Bill’s vision and experience join our team at INDYCAR,” said Jay Frye, INDYCAR President of Competition and Operations. “His deep engineering expertise and long history of accomplishments in Indy car racing have earned him the respect of team owners and drivers alike. We look forward to the immediate impact and advancements Bill will bring in strengthening our safety initiatives while also enhancing our racing.”
Pappas will be responsible for all engineering and technical operations, including chassis and engine development, safety enhancements and aerodynamic initiatives. In addition, he will manage relationships with chassis and engine suppliers.
Pappas has worked with some of the most respected teams in the INDYCAR paddock, including Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, Dale Coyne Racing and, most recently, served as technical director for KV Racing Technology. Pappas, who earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., helped guide Juan Pablo Montoya to his first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race win in 2000 with Ganassi.
“Being able to join the INDYCAR team is a great opportunity,” said Pappas. “I hope my racing experience and perspective can be utilized to enhance an already great level of competition.”
Pappas is replacing Will Phillips, INDYCAR Vice President of Technology, who will be leaving INDYCAR in March.
“Will has contributed a great deal to the series during his tenure,” Frye said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.