Team Pelfrey powering into Barber with its Pro Mazda, USF2000 teams

O'Ward and Telitz. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

After a six-week break since the Mazda Road to Indy season-opening weekend at St. Petersburg, Team Pelfrey is poised to build on the success it achieved on the streets of St. Pete.

The Nigel Tuckey-led Pelfrey enjoyed a dominant start to its Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires campaign, with Pato O’Ward and Aaron Telitz splitting the two race wins. With O’Ward and Telitz also second in the races they didn’t win, and Weiron Tan scoring his first podium for the team with third in race two, Pelfrey scored five of a possible six podiums.

For good measure, the team also had strong pace at Barber in preseason testing – Telitz, O’Ward and Tan were 1-2-3 – so hopes are high for continued success off the back of a strong season opener.

“With a Pelfrey 1-2 to start, it was unbeatable,” O’Ward told NBC Sports after his first win in the season opener. “I’m really happy for the team, and everyone set up the cars so fantastic. It was totally on rails.”

Telitz added after his win on Sunday in only his second Pro Mazda start, “It just feels awesome. Today the roles were flip-flopped where Pato was in front yesterday and I was trying to chase him down running consistent laps. Today I got out front and ran the race I wanted to run. I kept him behind me for the first five laps or whatever, then methodically laid down solid lap times.”

Telitz is a past winner at Barber. His most recent Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda win came there last year, and until his St. Petersburg win he’d been in a winning dry spell.

Not that it was getting to him, because it really wasn’t. Honest.

“It doesn’t even feel like a monkey. It doesn’t seem like that long ago,” Telitz said. “I did well in USF2000 and there were some races I didn’t win where I thought I should. So to get my first win first weekend is just amazing. I’m just crazy happy.”

Tan, meanwhile, looks for a calmer Barber weekend after a chaotic race there last year in the regular season, then driving with Andretti Autosport. Consistency, he said, will be key through the year.

“As I learned last year, we had quite a bit of trouble at the start of the season, and some more midseason,” Tan explained. “What I learned is consistency will pay at the end of it.”

Of the three, it’s an important weekend for O’Ward, who’s only confirmed through Barber in the team’s third car. A strong performance this weekend could go a long ways towards ensuring the talented young Mexican stays put for the rest of the season.

O’Ward is splitting his time between Pro Mazda and the IMSA Mazda Prototype Lites presented by Cooper Tires this season, and the balancing act is good for him as he continues to develop and gain seat time. In his opening Prototype Lites weekend at Sebring, a week after St. Petersburg, O’Ward finished second and fourth driving with Performance Tech Motorsports.

“Having a season under my belt definitely helps me now,” he said. “Now it’s knowing the track, knowing the people. That helped me improve session-to-session. All the seat time I can get helps. The best thing is, we started on the right front.”

In USF2000, look for the team’s quartet of rookies to shine because this is a track where all four will have had track experience from the open test.

Robert Megennis scored a surprise but welcome podium to open the season at St. Petersburg, and Jordan Cane followed up with another one in race two.

Megennis, Cane and fellow freshmen TJ Fischer and James Munro will look to topple the Pabst Racing train that swept the weekend in St. Petersburg, with Jordan Lloyd and Yufeng Luo splitting the two wins.

Munro was second, with Fischer, Cane and Megnenis eighth, ninth and 10th in testing at Barber. Munro completed 147 laps with Fischer, Cane and Megennis clocking 140, 155 and 152 laps, respectively.

The Pelfrey Pro Mazda and USF2000 efforts are separate entities from the Indy Lights program, which has Juan Piedrahita and Scott Hargrove on board looking for big results there. Hargrove, who finished second in St. Pete race one, helped Pelfrey with its total of eight podiums as a haul from St. Petersburg, across its three teams.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


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