Despite 3-week race break, drain of IndyCar in-season testing rolls on

Photo: IndyCar

The good news for those who cover the Verizon IndyCar Series on a daily basis is that there’s been a lot of in-season testing this year, and so random weekdays where there may not be a ton going on, there’s a lot to keep track of with drivers and teams testing in advance of races.

The bad news for those who work in the Verizon IndyCar Series, primarily teams and crew guys, is that this year’s increased volume of in-season testing is proving particularly draining.

And so even though we come to the longest break in the 2016 schedule in-between races – the next race for IndyCar isn’t until the final day of the Rio Summer Games on August 21 at Pocono Raceway – there’s still three days of testing upcoming at Pocono (August 4), Indianapolis (Firestone tire test, August 8) and Watkins Glen (August 11) in the next nine days.

While many of the multiple car teams can pick and choose which cars to go if not all of them do so, for a single-car team like Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the in-season testing has been a brutal part of the season. But even for the bigger teams it’s hurt at points, as well – Andretti Autosport and Chip Ganassi Racing Teams have been hustling for most of the tests too.

“Our objective as a team, for sure I’d like to add a car because I can tell you this year I think it’s hurting us. This year I think we’re struggling,” Graham Rahal told NBC Sports Friday during his media availability at Mid-Ohio.

“We’ve been testing a lot. Everybody has been testing a lot. When we’re testing and we have one car, versus Penske has four cars worth of data, it’s hurting us, it’s hurting us. We’d love to get the partners on this team to go and add a second car, for sure.

“I just feel like we’re having to work extremely hard to keep up this year with the others. Like I said, a lot of that is due to the in-season testing and the development that can go on.

“Where we go, it’s just me. So it’s been hard, quite frankly, to try to get through the checklist of all the items that we want to go through, try different shock stuff and everything else.

“These guys have worked hard. The next two weeks are miserable for them with all the testing. It’s going to be bad. Hopefully we’re going to have a good one.”

Here’s the testing calendar as it stands right now for these next three test sessions, via INDYCAR:

Pocono (August 4)

  • Foyt (Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth)
  • Andretti (Carlos Munoz, Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi)
  • Ganassi (Max Chilton, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball)
  • Carpenter (Ed Carpenter, Josef Newgarden)
  • RLL (Graham Rahal)
  • Schmidt Peterson (Mikhail Aleshin, James Hinchcliffe)

Indy (August 8, Firestone tire test)

  • Andretti (Hunter-Reay, Rossi)
  • Ganassi (Dixon)
  • Carpenter (Carpenter)
  • RLL (Rahal)
  • Penske (Juan Pablo Montoya)

Watkins Glen (August 11)

  • Andretti (Andretti/Dalton Kellett, Munoz/Shelby Blackstock, Hunter-Reay/Dean Stoneman)
  • Ganassi (Chilton, Dixon, Kanaan, Kimball)
  • Coyne (Daly, TBA*)
  • Carpenter (Newgarden*, Spencer Pigot)
  • KVSH (Sebastien Bourdais)
  • RLL (Rahal)
  • SPM (Aleshin, Hinchcliffe)
  • Penske (Montoya, Helio Castroneves, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud)

*Gabby Chaves is listed but it could be RC Enerson following his debut at Mid-Ohio

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s