Pagenaud leads Power by 43 points headed to Sonoma

Photo: IndyCar

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The stage is set for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ championship finale in two weeks at Sonoma Raceway, and it will be a battle between Team Penske teammates Simon Pagenaud and Will Power in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma.

In Sunday’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi, Pagenaud finished seventh, while Power crashed out. It means Pagenaud’s lead grew from 28 to 43 points in one race.

All others will be mathematically eliminated once the green flag flies at Sonoma on Sept. 18, and either Pagenaud will win his first series title or Power will win his second.

The last four races have provided four key plot twists as it’s shaped up as a two-way title fight. Here’s the quick synopsis:

  • Pagenaud beat Power to the win at Mid-Ohio with a dynamic pass. That move was a 20-point swing, and extended his title lead from a potential of 38 points to 58 leaving.
  • At Pocono, Power won his fourth race of the season – matching Pagenaud’s total – while Pagenaud made his only major mistake of the year with a crash. That knocked the lead down to 20.
  • In Texas, Pagenaud was in the midst of a four-wide battle but smartly backed out, and ended four spots clear of Power. Pagenaud was fourth, Power eighth, and the lead went to 28.

And then there was today. Pagenaud started and finished seventh, but in-between shot up to third on the first corner of the first lap. He then got caught out on a yellow, losing spots, but recovered as the race went on.

Power, by contrast, saw his title hopes take a hit when Charlie Kimball got a run on him coming up the Esses. Contact between the two – it did not appear as though Power saw him coming – occurred when Power clipped Kimball’s right front wing and then shot across into the outside retaining wall.

Power was checked and released from the infield care center, but per INDYCAR, has not been cleared to drive owing to concussion-like symptoms.

For Pagenaud, he acknowledged he had nothing for Scott Dixon, who dominated the weekend from start to finish.

“I had nothing for Scott this weekend,” he said post-race. “In my opinion, we were fighting for podium results. We ended up where we ended up. It was more strategy than skills.”

But Pagenaud also reflected on how he drove from a championship perspective, thinking bigger picture perhaps more than the outright huge result at play.

There will undoubtedly be more to follow from him, but he was in a good state of mind leaving the Glen.

Here’s the points following Watkins Glen.


Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

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

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

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

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

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

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

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

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

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

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

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 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