MRTI: Sunday race recaps from Toronto

Thompson wins on home soil. Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

TORONTO – Three authoritative performances capped off the weekend for the Mazda Road to Indy, with the second races for the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in Toronto.

In a similar performance to Saturday, talented young Swede Felix Rosenqvist led flag-to-flag from pole in the 45-lap, 50-minute 13th race of Indy Lights in his No. 14 Belardi Auto Racing Dallara IL-15 Mazda. It’s his third win of the season, the first driver to do so this year, but by missing the Road America and Iowa rounds he’s out of the title picture.

Rosenqvist took the victory by 7.2614 seconds over Andre Negrao, who equalled his season-best result in the No. 17 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry in second with Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) holding off Negrao’s SPM teammate Santiago Urrutia for the final podium position.

After a relatively uncompetitive weekend, Ed Jones finished fifth, but maintains his points lead. The Dubai-based Englishman leads Urrutia by 24 points (268-244).

The driver who had a tough day was Dean Stoneman, with a fuel leak taking the Andretti Autosport car out of the race before it even began.

Felix Serralles, meanwhile, survived a couple punctures to end 10th. Stoneman has 237 points with Serralles on 235 and Kaiser on 233 after his second podium finish of the weekend.

The Pro Mazda race followed a similar script as Saturday as well, with Wisconsinite Aaron Telitz winning his fourth consecutive race for Team Pelfrey.

Teammate Pato O’Ward, who won six of the first seven races this year, returned to the podium for the first time in nearly two months, when he won at Lucas Oil Raceway end of May.

The result leaves the pair of drivers tied on 297 markers heading to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in a couple weeks.

Nico Jamin was third, banking his third straight podium finish for Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.

In USF2000, Parker Thompson snatched the lead from Cape teammate Anthony Martin – racing hurt with a sore left hand – and set sail for his fourth win of the season and a cool one to deliver on home soil.

Saturday winner Victor Franzoni completed the podium for ArmsUp Motorsports while Dakota Dickerson (Afterburner Autosport) and Robert Megennis (Team Pelfrey) banking strong top-five results.

All three series head to Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks for a pivotal weekend. For Pro Mazda and USF2000, it’s the second-to-last weekend of the year while Indy Lights also has Watkins Glen International to run before all three series crown their champions at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in September.

Hunter Lawrence defends Haiden Deegan after controversial block pass at Detroit


Media and fan attention focused on a controversial run-in between Haiden Deegan and his Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teammate Jordon Smith during Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross race at Detroit, after which the 250 East points’ Hunter Lawrence defends the young rider in the postrace news conference.

Deegan took the early lead in Heat 1 of the round, but the mood swiftly changed when he became embroiled in a spirited battle with teammate Smith.

On Lap 3, Smith caught Deegan with a fast pass through the whoops. Smith briefly held the lead heading into a bowl turn but Deegan had the inside line and threw a block pass. In the next few turns, the action heated up until Smith eventually ran into the back of Deegan’s Yamaha and crashed.

One of the highlights of the battle seemed to include a moment when Deegan waited on Smith in order to throw a second block pass, adding fuel to the controversy.

After his initial crash, Smith fell to seventh on the next lap. He would crash twice more during the event, ultimately finishing four laps off the pace in 20th.

The topic was inevitably part of the postrace news conference.

“It was good racing; it was fun,” Deegan said at about the 27-minute mark in the video above. “I just had some fun doing it.”

Smith had more trouble in the Last Chance Qualifier. He stalled his bike in heavy traffic, worked his way into a battle for fourth with the checkers in sight, but crashed a few yards shy of the finish line and was credited with seventh. Smith earned zero points and fell to sixth in the standings.

Lawrence defends Deegan
Jordon Smith failed to make the Detroit Supercross Main and fell to sixth in the points. – Feld Motor Sports

“I think he’s like fifth in points,” Deegan said. “He’s a little out of it. Beside that it was good, I don’t know. I wasn’t really paying attention.”

Deegan jokingly deflected an earlier question with the response that he wasn’t paying attention during the incident.

“He’s my teammate, but he’s a veteran, he’s been in this sport for a while,” Deegan said. “I was up there just battling. I want to win as much as everybody else. It doesn’t matter if it’s a heat race or a main; I just want to win. I was just trying to push that.”

As Deegan and Smith battled, Jeremy Martin took the lead. Deegan finished second in the heat and backed up his performance with a solid third-place showing in the main, which was his second podium finish in a short six-race career. Deegan’s first podium was earned at Daytona, just two rounds ago.

But as Deegan struggled to find something meaningful to say, unsurprisingly for a 17-year-old rider who was not scheduled to run the full 250 schedule this year, it was the championship leader Lawrence who came to his defense.

Lawrence defends Deegan
A block pass by Haiden Deegan led to a series of events that eventually led to Jordon Smith failing to make the Main. – Feld Motor Sports

“I just want to point something out, which kind of amazes me,” Lawrence said during the conference. “So many of the people on social media, where everyone puts their expertise in, are saying the racing back in the ’80s, the early 90s, when me were men. They’re always talking about how gnarly it was and then anytime a block pass or something happens now, everyone cries about it.

“That’s just a little bit interesting. Pick one. You want the gnarly block passes from 10 years ago and then you get it, everyone makes a big song and dance about it.”

Pressed further, Lawrence defended not only the pass but the decision-making process that gets employed lap after lap in a Supercross race.

“It’s easy to point the finger,” Lawrence said. “We’re out there making decisions in a split millisecond. People have all month to pay their phone bill and they still can’t do that on time.

“We’re making decisions at such a fast reaction [time with] adrenaline. … I’m not just saying it for me or Haiden. I speak for all the guys. No one is perfect and we’re under a microscope out there. The media is really quick to point a finger when someone makes a mistake.”

The media is required to hold athletes accountable for their actions. They are also required to tell the complete story.