IndyCar 2016 team preview: Team Penske

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NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. Team Penske enjoyed a typically excellent 2015 season, including Roger Penske’s 16th Indianapolis 500 win, but came up just shy of the title. It’s a marquee year for Penske as the team celebrates its 50th anniversary, and looks for more continued success.

Team: Team Penske
Engine/aero kits: Chevrolet
Sponsors: Verizon (No. 2, No. 12), Hitachi/Shell Pennzoil (No. 3), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (No. 22)

2015 STATS

Races: 16
Wins: 3 (Montoya 2, Power 1)
Podiums: 15 (Montoya 5, Castroneves 5, Power 3, Pagenaud 2)
Pole Positions: 13 (Power 6, Castroneves 4, Montoya 2*, Pagenaud 1)
Fastest Laps: 4 (Castroneves 4, Power 2, Montoya 1)
Points: 1886 (Montoya 556, Power 493, Castroneves 453, Pagenaud 384)
Laps Led: 773 (Power 298, Castroneves 198, Montoya 145, Pagenaud 132)
Championship Position: 2nd (Montoya), 3rd (Power), 5th (Castroneves), 11th (Pagenaud)

*Montoya’s 2 poles were when qualifying was rained out and set by entry points

2016 LINEUP (Engineer in parentheses)

2 Juan Pablo Montoya (Brian Campe)
3 Helio Castroneves (Jonathan Diuguid)
12 Will Power (David Faustino)
22 Simon Pagenaud (Ben Bretzman)

2015 TEAM RECAP (Montoya, Power, Castroneves, Pagenaud driver recaps)

Most teams would be happy with the output achieved last year, including the Indianapolis 500 win. Most teams, however, are not Team Penske, and thus operate to the highest level of goals and targeted success. So in that regard even though Juan Pablo Montoya started strong with a well-judged win at St. Petersburg, then denied Will Power at Indy and cost the Australian a shot at a month of May two-race sweep, in truth the team was never as dominant in the second half of the year as it was in the first half.

Qualifying was staggering across the board – 13 poles, four of the best five starting averages, and 26 Firestone Fast Six appearances combined out of 48 possible attempts in the series – but there were no further wins after May, and Montoya’s consistent run lacked a truly otherworldly drive from June on. “JPM” still would have captured the title if not for Scott Dixon’s Sonoma heroics, and his own and Power’s contact during the race. Elsewhere in the team Helio Castroneves enjoyed another solid year, while the big surprise was how Simon Pagenaud’s qualifying pace generally failed to translate to results on Sundays.

2016 OUTLOOK

Unlike a year ago, there are no major changes within the team, as it celebrates its 50th anniversary as a team. Now that Pagenaud and his crew have had a full year and chance to acclimatize and embed themselves within the Penske culture, they should be better positioned for success and their first win. Power, too, should rebound after a rare one-win season with multiple wins.

The story will likely remain the same, where all four should be race winners and at least three of the four could contend for the championship. Highest priority though must be securing the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, a race so near and dear to Roger Penske’s heart, with the championship the second target provided a 500 win is achieved.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

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Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

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

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart


The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

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

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s