What to Watch For: IndyCar at Watkins Glen (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Photo: IndyCar

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – The Verizon IndyCar Series has the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen presented by Hitachi on tap today. It’s the second-to-last race of the season, as the series makes its return to Watkins Glen International.

There’s quite a bit to look over ahead of today’s race, a 60-lapper from the 3.37-mile permanent road course.


You might remember that before NBCSN was NBCSN, it was VERSUS. So fittingly, “versus” is a perfect descriptor for so many of the key story lines in today’s race.


Seeing four of the six drivers in the Firestone Fast Six run that session on Firestone’s black primary tires was an interesting move. Both the blacks and the Firestone red alternates seem to hang on well and there didn’t seem to be a sizable step difference between the two. As ever, what tires you run and when will make the difference on Sunday.


It’s a 28-point gap between Will Power and Simon Pagenaud going into today’s race. With double points in play at the Sonoma Raceway finale in two weeks, first to second is separated by 20 points… which would leave Sonoma as a simple winner-take all if a Pagenaud-led gap out of today’s race is 20 points or less.

“I’ll definitely remind Will before the race that he’s got a lot more to lose than I have,” said polesitter Scott Dixon, who starts next to Power on the front row.


The weekend has been one of those old “Scott Dixon at Mid-Ohio” type beatdowns thus far, and wife Emma has been here to see it. Or, one of those old “Scott Dixon at Watkins Glen” type of weekends that occurred from 2005 to 2007 when he won three straight here.

But as Dixon noted after qualifying, he’s still not accomplished the end goal of the weekend: victory. He looks to complete a dream weekend on Sunday after leading all pre-race sessions.

“Toronto and Mid-Ohio were sort of like this… so we have to keep our heads down and see where it all falls,” Dixon told me after qualifying. “This season, at many of the places, we’ve had the speed but not capitalized on it. We did job number one, but it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Dixon’s got two streaks on the line going into the last two races, and they run concurrently. Every year since 2006, Dixon’s won at least two races in a season, and finished in the top three in points. Right now, he’s won only once (Phoenix) and sits sixth in points.

Here’s Dixon’s latest domination, in warmup times.



The word of the weekend from the drivers has been “physical” because the G-loading is crazy, as are the speeds. Average speeds in qualifying run from the low 140s to Dixon’s pole speed of 147.008 mph.

The race is only 60 laps, but will be quite a test of strength and endurance given the amount of downforce and speeds these cars produce.


The top five on the grid are all 35 or older and debuted in 2005 or earlier. Max Chilton is best of the younger generation this week in P6 and looks for his best finish on a road or street course this season; it’s currently 14th. Then Jack Hawksworth, Mikhail Aleshin, RC Enerson and Josef Newgarden roll off from ninth through 12th. Those from 13th on back will need a bit of help via strategy to leapfrog their way to the front, most likely.


With so many high-speed, mid-gear corners (many in fourth gear), one of the big questions today is what corners will serve as the key passing opportunities. Turn 1 could be a spot, as is into the Inner Loop (Bus Stop), and then at either the toe (Turn 7) or heel (Turn 8) of The Boot. But passing might be optimistic.


A three-stop strategy seems the likeliest course of action for the 60-lap race. Two stops could be possible with a lot of caution and a lot of fuel saving. Four stops could be possible if a car runs better on reds and wants to short pit.


The full starting grid and Firestone tire selection is below.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton


Another crash while leading at Seattle dropped Chase Sexton from the top of the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings while solid performances by Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac allow them to climb the chart and threaten to make this a two-rider battle with six rounds remaining in the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Cooper Webb wags his finger at Chase Sexton after winning his heat in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

During the race, Webb knew he had ground to make up. Riding behind both Tomac and Sexton early in the Main, he was as far back as fifth on Lap 7 at Seattle. That position would cost him the red plate and give away the advantage he began to build with his first win of the season in Tampa. Sexton is often at his best as he battles from the back and he methodically worked his way through the field. At the end of the feature, he was nearly five seconds off Tomac’s pace, but during the past 45 days, he holds the advantage. A resurgent Tomac that could erase that advantage quickly though.

Tomac struggled in Indianapolis with a neck strain. That contributed to his worst performance of 2023 and his second result outside the top five. He finished third in Detroit two weeks ago, but it was a distant third after finishing off the podium in his heat during that round. In Seattle, it appeared the same thing might happen when Tomac finished third in the prelim behind his two principal competitors Webb and Sexton. The Main was a different story.

Tomac dropped to fourth in the opening laps behind both of his rivals early in the race, but he got around Webb on Lap 2 and kept charging. When Sexton fell to the ground on Lap 11 and dropped to fourth, Tomac was in position to strike. He scored his sixth win of the season to tie James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list. He now shares the red plate with Webb as the rounds wind down.

MORE: Eli Tomac gets rebound win in Seattle

Sexton has the speed, but he lacks the seasoning of Webb and Tomac. He’s pressing hard on every lap and that has bitten him several times this year. Sexton’s mistakes are costing him with a 10th-place finish at Indy, the loss of seven points at Detroit and a fifth in Seattle as the riders he’s battling stood on the podium. No one seriously questions Sexton’s talent or speed, but ultimately the results are what counts.

Justin Barcia is hitting his stride. He advances two positions this week after scoring his fourth consecutive top-five and second podium in that span of races. Barcia finished between sixth and eighth in five consecutive rounds from Anaheim 2 through Arlington, but he’s mostly avoided controversy and that puts him fourth in this week’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

Jason Anderson had a solid performance in Seattle, but with a fifth-place finish in his heat and fourth in the Main he just keeps losing a little ground to the leaders. The biggest impact to his standing in the NBC Power Rankings is a 10th-place finish in Indianapolis that will take a while to age out of the 45-day formula. He’s tied for fourth in the championship points with Ken Roczen, who sits sixth in the rankings below. It’s important to be the rider “best in class” with Webb, Tomac and Sexton stealing the show.

450 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Cooper Webb 87.77 2 1
2. Eli Tomac 86.23 3 1
3. Chase Sexton 85.77 1 -2
4. Justin Barcia 80.71 6 2
5. Jason Anderson 80.69 4 -1
6. Ken Roczen 80.46 5 -1
7. Aaron Plessinger 75.86 7 0
8. Adam Cianciarulo 71.13 8 0
9. Christian Craig 69.86 9 0
10. Justin Cooper 62.88 10 0
11. Justin Hill 59.86 11 0
12. Dean Wilson 52.86 12 0
13. Josh Hill 49.00 15 2
14. Colt Nichols 48.67 13 -1
15. Shane McElrath 45.62 14 -1
16. Benny Bloss 43.00 16 0
17. Grant Harlan 38.08 20 3
18. Max Miller 37.67 24 6
19. Lane Shaw 36.67 21 2
20. Cade Clason 34.67 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points

The 250 West riders were back in action in Seattle and that gave Jett Lawrence the opportunity to break out of a tie with his brother Hunter Lawrence on the all-time wins list. It also provided Jett the opportunity to take back the top spot in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Seattle.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Seattle
Jett Lawrence regained the top spot overall in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings with a near-perfect race in Seattle. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett has stood on the podium in every race this year with the exception of the second Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2 and that level of perfection gives him bragging rights. Rest assured that while the two brothers have a bond that is unapparelled in motorsports, there is no one they would rather beat. Neither has been particularly successful in Triple Crown rounds this year, however, and Jett could lose his advantage in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona under that format.

Lawrence is now two wins away from capturing the fourth-most wins at this level.

A rivalry is developing between Lawrence and Cameron McAdoo. Tired of losing to the affable Australian, McAdoo pushed the envelope last week in Seattle. He crowded Lawrence in the whoops during their heat race and sent both to the ground. That frustration could bubble over with four rounds remaining. One thing is certain, when these two riders are in proximity on the track, the cameras will be aimed in their direction.

Supercross 250 Points

A little means a lot this season. Finishing second to Lawrence in four of five rounds, RJ Hampshire would be losing ground to the leader no matter what, but an 11th-place finish in the overall at Anaheim 2 places him eighth on the chart below behind two of the 250 West riders and five 250 East competitors.

In the mains, Levi Kitchen has been all over the board with a win, one more top-five, two results on the high side of the single digits and a crash-induced 21st at San Diego. He’s really shown his speed in the heats, however, with a perfect record of top-fives and a win.

Mitchell Oldenburg makes the top five list among West riders with a perfect record of top-10 finishes. He’s heading in the wrong direction, however, falling from ninth overall to 11th after finishing outside the top five in both his heat and the Main last week.

250 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Jett Lawrence – W 90.75 2 1
2. Hunter Lawrence – E 90.43 1 -1
3. Nate Thrasher – E 84.00 3 0
4. Cameron McAdoo – W 80.50 4 0
5. Haiden Deegan – E 78.21 5 0
6. Jeremy Martin – E 78.00 6 0
7. Jordon Smith – E 76.77 7 0
8. RJ Hampshire – W 76.75 10 2
9. Levi Kitchen – W 76.67 8 -1
10. Max Anstie – E 74.43 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 73.67 9 -2
12. Max Vohland – W 72.55 13 1
13. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 -1
14. Pierce Brown – W 68.64 19 5
15. Enzo Lopes – W 67.83 17 2
16. Chris Blose – E 67.43 15 -1
17. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 16 -1
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 18 0
19. Stilez Robertson – W 64.45 14 -5
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 20 0

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT SEATTLE: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage