LONG BEACH, Calif. – Jon Fogarty was meant to compete in the Pirelli World Challenge race at Long Beach this weekend for the first time at the track since 2004; however, the driver of the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S GT3 won’t following a heavy accident on Friday.
Fogarty ran wide at Turn 8, clipping the apex and then crashing on the outside of corner exit, hard into the concrete barriers past the tire wall.
Fogarty was OK but sore after the impact, but the car was deemed unable to repair with enough time for Sunday’s race. With a doubleheader looming at Barber Motorsports Park next weekend, the team loses only one race with the withdrawal this weekend.
“We had a great session going, made steady improvements,” Fogarty said. “We were on a sticker run there just before the end of the session and I clipped the apex at turn 8…it sent me into the wall like a rocket. I am fine, but very, very disappointed. The car absorbed a ton of energy and kept me safe, but I am pretty sick inside for sure.”
Team principal Bob Stallings added, “It looks like this won’t be the big return for us at Long Beach. Jon had a nice lap going and the car was working really quite well for him. Unfortunately, the damage is too significant and the GAINSCO boys are going to pack it up here as quickly as possible to get back to Texas.
“We have a double-header next weekend which is big for us in terms of championship points and it’s a “Circle of Champions” weekend for GAINSCO, which means they have a group of winners coming. We need to be there. It’s going to be a big job to get this car ready in time. It’s ironic that we are here, finally back to Long Beach after 10 years away and packing it in early once again.”
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.