Nunez, Bomarito deliver Mazda’s first Prototype podium in Detroit

Photo: Mazda Motorsports
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Mazda Motorsports finally secured its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium with its Mazda Prototype, powered by the Mazda MZ-2.0T engine, at of all places, Belle Isle Park on the streets of Detroit.

Not bad considering the two drivers who banked the third place – Tristan Nunez and Jonathan Bomarito – were sidelined in Detroit last year as the then-No. 70 car now was temporarily parked while Mazda determined which engine would be in the back of the car. The team ran the SKYACTIV Diesel powerplant last year but also tested the gasoline-powered AER engine in the second half of the year in preparation for its presence this year.

Alas, both Mazdas stayed out of trouble on the streets of Detroit and following an early race collision between the Nos. 31 and 90 Corvette DPs from Action Express Racing and Visit Florida Racing, the path was opened for the Mazdas to bank two top-five positions and move into podium contention. The Mazdas stayed slightly ahead of the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda during the weekend, which had a mixed crew and a new driver with Katherine Legge making her team debut in place of John Pew, who was at Le Mans preparing for the Test Day.

It was a huge bounce back after a missed opportunity at Mazda’s “spiritual” home track of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey in May. Nunez had the pole in the No. 55 car but with an oil pump failure sidelining the sister No. 70 car of Tom Long and Joel Miller, then a bad pit stop and a spin hitting the No. 55, the car was resigned to fourth place.

Saturday in Detroit the Nos. 55 and 70 cars ended a better third and fourth.

“It’s pretty unbelievable. I can’t believe it happened that way,” Nunez told NBC Sports post-race. “We ran our race with no mistakes and a great pit stop. We weren’t gonna make the same mistake as at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. So it’s learn and move on. The guys gave us a great race car. It was great to get through traffic. This is what happened. First podium, and there’s many more to come.”

Bomarito explained why this result was so surprising given the physical nature of the track.

“The Detroit track is just incredibly bumpy for our cars. It’s very physically demanding, not merely because of the G-forces but the forces going down your spine and through your neck,” Bomarito said. “There are a lot of hard-hitting bumps that take a toll on you. You really have to be focused to get through those physical issues. But when you’re on the podium, you always feel a little better!”

With more flowing road courses at Watkins Glen International and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park coming up, the Mazdas could be positioned for greater success at tracks that suit their car better.

“There’s some great tracks coming up for this package. We got our first podium out of the way at a place we never thought we’d get it. It should be great momentum for the rest of the season,” Nunez said.

Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.


Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX