IndyCar 2016 team preview: Dale Coyne Racing

Photo: IndyCar

NBC Sports takes a look through the teams competing in the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series. IndyCar lifer Dale Coyne presses on once again, and probably has his best two-car lineup in close to a decade.

Team: Dale Coyne Racing
Engines/aero kits: Honda
Sponsors: Jonathan Byrd’s Hospitality & Restaurant Group/Cancer Treatment Centers of America (No. 18), Boy Scouts of America/Sonny’s BBQ (No. 19)

2015 STATS

Races: 16
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 434 (Vautier 172, Gonzalez 94, Mann 76, Dracone 38, Huertas 31, Daly 13, Davison 10, Moran Jr. 0)
Laps Led: 15 (Vautier 10, Gonzalez 5)
Championship Position: 22nd (Vautier), 26th (Gonzalez), 28th (Daly), 29th (Mann), 34th (Dracone), 36th (Huertas), 38th (Davison), 40th (Moran Jr.) 

2016 LINEUP (Engineers in parentheses)

18 Conor Daly (Michael Cannon)
19 Luca Filippi (Kyle Brannan)

2015 RECAP (Vautier, Gonzalez, DalyMann, Dracone driver recaps)

Eight drivers, zero podiums, multiple crew members being hit on pit road and a highest finishing driver of 22nd in points means 2015 was a tough year for Dale Coyne Racing. There were highlights, though: Tristan Vautier had standout drives in Detroit race two and Mid-Ohio; Vautier and Rodolfo Gonzalez brought second half stability after all eight of the drivers were in Coyne’s two cars in the opening six races through May; Pippa Mann finished all three 500-mile races with the car in one piece and brought positive attention to the program through her work with Susan G. Komen; and Conor Daly delivered arguably the best 17th place finish in recent memory on extremely short notice in Long Beach.


The old college basketball tournament saying “survive and advance” applies to teams that don’t have their best games but manage to win anyway and move onto the next round. That’s the term that best applies to Coyne, which after 30 years in the sport keeps on ticking and has survived a year with eight different drivers and advanced into what should be a significantly better 2016. Although losing Vautier costs them continuity, Daly and Filippi will be fine provided they’re in for the full season. Additionally, Bryan Clauson is already confirmed and Mann all-but-officially confirmed to join them at the Indianapolis 500.

In Daly, they have a determined young charger who’s been waiting his whole life for a full-season IndyCar opportunity. He gets it thanks to Jonathan Byrd’s stepping up to the plate, and he’s got a perfect tutor in Cannon. In Filippi, who as of this writing still wasn’t officially confirmed for the full season (it is the second Coyne car, after all), they have a road course ace high on speed and even higher on setup feedback. In the last decade, the only real Coyne full-season lineups with this much potential were Bruno Junqueira/Katherine Legge in 2007 in Champ Car and the late Justin Wilson and James Jakes in 2012 in IndyCar. A win courtesy of a trademark Coyne strategic masterstroke would not be a surprise, with podiums possible on merit and a top-15 finish in points a realistic target for either driver.

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.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

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.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

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.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

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.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

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
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2