Castroneves on pole following bizarre Long Beach qualifying (VIDEO)


LONG BEACH, Calif. – Helio Castroneves has captured his second straight Verizon P1 Award in the Verizon IndyCar Series ahead of Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

The driver of the No. 3 AAA Team Penske Chevrolet set a best time of 1:07.1246 to score his 47th career pole and second straight at Long Beach following one of the more chaotic and confusing qualifying sessions in recent memory.

Team Penske now also has all three poles to start 2016, with Will Power scoring pole (but Simon Pagenaud starting first after Power’s failure to start) at St. Petersburg. The team won the first five poles in a row to start 2015.

Behind him, the remaining five drivers in the Firestone Fast Six all were Chevrolet entrants, and all came from Team Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing Teams.

Scott Dixon, who finally broke through at Long Beach last year, was second (1:07.4455) in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet ahead of points leader Pagenaud in third, who seeks his first win with Team Penske in the No. 22 PPG Automotive Refinish Chevrolet.

Tony Kanaan, Juan Pablo Montoya and Power completed the Fast Six. For Power, an off at Turn 9 during the final session negated any hopes of his scoring the pole, but it was still a marked improvement over qualifying 18th last year.

Timing & scoring, however, became the story of the session. One driver got knocked out after failing to start his lap before the timing & scoring loop, and then in Q2, a transponder went out.

Here’s how the session transpired:

Scott Dixon led Q1, Group 1 at 1:07.5019 but only 0.2092 of a second separated first through sixth.

Others than advanced included Juan Pablo Montoya, James Hinchcliffe, Simon Pagenaud, Takuma Sato and Ryan Hunter-Reay – a nice three-three split of Chevrolet and Honda runners.

Conor Daly just missed out by only 0.041 of a second in seventh and will roll off 13th, a year after he made his IndyCar street course debut with Dale Coyne Racing on last-minute notice.

“That’s the first time this year, where I felt (that) I’m shaking,” Daly told IndyCar Radio’s Zach Veach. “I thought I was really on the limit. The guys gave me a great car. It’s much better we’re talking about barely missing top 12 vs. making the field.”

Charlie Kimball, Graham Rahal and Max Chilton were next. Rahal’s team got his No. 15 PennGrade Honda repaired after left front wing and suspension damage from Rahal’s morning accident.

Group 2 wasn’t particularly eventful until after the checkered flag. Power dropped in the first 1:06 of the session at 1:06.9712, which led the way over Carlos Munoz, Helio Castroneves, Josef Newgarden and Tony Kanaan.

And then there was sixth. Initally, Luca Filippi had it, then Sebastien Bourdais bumped him, and then Filippi got back in after it was determined Bourdais started his final lap 0.2 after the checkered flag appeared at the timing & scoring loop.

Bourdais’ best time was 1:07.4843 with Filippi’s 1:07.6214, but with Bourdais not getting that lap to count, he fell to a 1:07.6432.

It’s funny that timing & scoring became an issue in Q1, because it became a bigger issue in Q2.

Due to a transponder issue, and the primary timing loop going down, INDYCAR timing & scoring needed to re-download the data to ensure the right six drivers advanced.

In Q2, the top six before T&S reset was Montoya (1:07.6296), Pagenaud, Power, Newgarden, Hunter-Reay and Dixon.

But after the reset, Dixon led the way at 1:06.6459, ahead of Power, Montoya, Pagenaud, Kanaan and Castroneves. Newgarden and Hunter-Reay dropped to ninth and 11th after the reset.

For the Firestone Fast Six, the timing line was moved to an alternate timeline on the backstraight.

Just after crossing that alternate timeline, and Power posted a 1:09.2936, he ran in too deep into Turn 9 to cause a red flag.

That was his only completed timed lap, but because he caused the red flag he’d lose his two fastest laps – which was his only lap.

Although five minutes of green flag running had elapsed, drivers got one more lap afterwards once the session restarted.

But Castroneves didn’t lose the pole position in the one-lap dash.

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Qualifying Saturday for the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Verizon IndyCar Series event on the 1.968-mile Streets of Long Beach circuit, with qualifying position, car number in parentheses, driver, aero kit-engine, time and speed in  parentheses:

1. (3) Helio Castroneves, Chevrolet, 01:07.1246 (105.547)
2. (9) Scott Dixon, Chevrolet, 01:07.4455 (105.045)
3. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:07.7410 (104.587)
4. (10) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 01:07.7951 (104.503)
5. (2) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 01:07.9054 (104.333)
6. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, No Time (No Speed)
7. (5) James Hinchcliffe, Honda, 01:07.1415 (105.520)
8. (14) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.2299 (105.382)
9. (21) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:07.2548 (105.343)
10. (26) Carlos Munoz, Honda, 01:07.2663 (105.325)
11. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:07.3171 (105.245)
12. (19) Luca Filippi, Honda, 01:07.9660 (104.240)
13. (18) Conor Daly, Honda, 01:07.7520 (104.570)
14. (11) Sebastien Bourdais, Chevrolet, 01:07.6432 (104.738)
15. (83) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:07.8065 (104.486)
16. (98) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.6872 (104.670)
17. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:07.8841 (104.366)
18. (7) Mikhail Aleshin, Honda, 01:07.8513 (104.417)
19. (8) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:08.3843 (103.603)
20. (41) Jack Hawksworth, Honda, 01:07.9929 (104.199)
21. (27) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:08.2045 (103.876)

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb


For the fifth time in 10 rounds of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season, the three riders at the top of the championship standings shared a podium and while those points tell one story, the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit tell a slightly different tale.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Cooper Webb is peaking at the right time. – Feld Motor Sports

Chase Sexton has been all but perfect during the past 45 days with podium finishes in each of his heats and Triple Crown features. His only stumble during this period was a 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis Main. Last week, Sexton was perfect with wins in both his heat and the feature, although he needed a little help from an Aaron Plessinger mistake to take the top spot on the podium at the end of the night.

Cooper Webb finished fifth at Houston and was beginning to worry ever so slightly about his position in the points. Prior to the race in Tampa, he told NBC Sports that it was time to win and like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield fence, Webb went out and captured it. Following that race, Webb has swept the podium and earned the red plate two weeks ago in Indianapolis. At Detroit, he added two more points on Eli Tomac as the season begins to wind down.

Tomac struggled with a stiff neck at Indianapolis and after a modest third-place showing in Detroit, he revealed he was still suffering a little. Webb and Sexton have been able to close the gap on Tomac in the past 45 days, but one of the main reasons he is so close in the points was a pair of wins that started the year. Seattle is going to be important for the defending champion because Tomac cannot afford to lose any more momentum with seven rounds remaining.

MORE: Chase Sexton inherits the win in Detroit

It appeared Jason Anderson was turning things around. He earned his fifth heat win at Detroit, which was also his sixth consecutive race (including features) in which he scored a top-five. A fall in the Detroit Main dropped him a lap off the pace and sent him home with a season-worst finish of ninth, causing a ripple effect in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Justin Barcia was a huge part of the show last week in Detroit. He swapped positions with both Webb and Tomac in the middle stage of the race, which allowed Sexton to close the gap. Barcia finished fourth in that race to earn his third consecutive top-five. He’s been outside the top 10 only once in the first 10 rounds.

Adam Cianciarulo had a great start to the Main. He led a couple of laps before losing a lap and slipping back to eighth in the final rundown. That run was strong enough to elevate him three positions in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit.

450 Rankings

Driver Percentage
1. Chase Sexton
[2 Main, 6 Heat wins]
87.00 1 0
2. Cooper Webb
[2 Main, 1 Heat win]
86.71 2 0
3. Eli Tomac
[5 Main, 6 Heat wins]
84.57 3 0
4. Jason Anderson
[5 Heat wins]
80.71 4 0
5. Ken Roczen
[1 Main, 1 Heat win]
80.50 5 0
6. Justin Barcia
[1 Heat win]
79.07 7 1
7. Aaron Plessinger 77.14 6 -1
8. Adam Cianciarulo 69.75 11 3
9. Christian Craig 68.86 10 1
10. Justin Cooper 63.90 9 -1
11. Justin Hill 58.57 15 4
12. Dean Wilson 51.50 12 0
13. Colt Nichols 51.25 13 0
14. Shane McElrath 46.86 17 3
15. Josh Hill 46.79 16 1
16. Benny Bloss 45.31 18 2
17. Jared Lesher 39.00 NA
18. Joey Savatgy 38.63 14 -4
19. Cade Clason 37.50 21 2
20. Grant Harlan 35.54 23 3

Supercross 450 Points

The NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings look at the past 90 days in the 250 class in order to have a balanced comparison between the East and West divisions and Hunter Lawrence has been all but perfect this year. At Detroit, he earned his fifth win of the season and kept alive a streak of podium finishes in six rounds. He tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 250 wins one week before the West riders take to the track for back-to-back races at Seattle, Washington and Glendale, Arizona.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Nate Thrasher is settling into a comfortable role as ‘best in class’. – Feld Motor Sports

The Lawrence brothers are dominating the points in each of their respective divisions, which means the remainder of the field is battling to be best in class.

In the East, that rider is Nate Thrasher, who beat Hunter in a head-to-head matchup in their heat only to finish second in the main when the majority of points were awarded. Thrasher seems to have accepted his position in the championship standings, but that doesn’t mean he won’t keep trying for wins.

Haiden Deegan showed a lot of aggression in his heat last week. He threw a couple of block passes at his teammate Jordon Smith and set up a series of events that kept Smith from making the big show while Deegan settled into second in the preliminary. Deegan was unconcerned about how he raced his teammate and would not let a little controversy keep him from celebrating his second career podium in Detroit.

Supercross 250 Points

Jeremy Martin just keeps clicking off solid results. He won his heat last week by making a pass on Deegan and Smith while they were in the heat of their battle. Martin finished fourth in the Main, which means he continues to have only one finish worse than sixth in any of the features or mains.

Smith fell one position in the points standings, but the damage was even worse in SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit. Crash damage in his heat contributed to a last-place finish in that race, for which he earned minimal points. He was not able to advance from the Last Chance Qualifier after stalling his bike in heavy traffic.

250 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Hunter Lawrence – E
[5 Main, 5 Heat wins]
90.43 1 0
2. Jett Lawrence – W
[3 Main, 3 Heat wins]
90.30 2 0
3. Nate Thrasher – E
[1 Main, 3 Heat wins]
84.00 5 2
4. Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat win]
79.80 9 5
5. Haiden Deegan – E
[1 Heat win]
78.21 7 2
6. Jeremy Martin – E
[2 Heat wins]
78.00 8 2
7. Jordon Smith – E
[3 Heat Wins]
76.77 4 -3
8. Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main]
75.30 3 -5
9. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 75.20 11 2
10. RJ Hampshire – W
[4 Heat wins]
74.50 17 7
11. Max Anstie – E 74.43 6 -5
12. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 0
13. Max Vohland – W 71.56 10 -3
14. Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
69.22 14 0
15. Chris Blose – E 67.43 18 3
16. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 15 -1
17. Enzo Lopes – W 66.00 20 3
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 16 -2
19. Pierce Brown – W 65.78 13 -6
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 21 1

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage