PWC: Sonoma sweeps on track, two titles clinched in GTA, GT Cup

Photo: PWC

The Sunday races for Pirelli World Challenge at Sonoma Raceway were a little less eventful than Saturday’s, but they did feature the same winners.

Johnny O’Connell (GT), Michael Schein (GTA) and Alec Udell (GT Cup) completed weekend sweeps of the two races. In GTS, points leader Brett Sandberg won to close on a potential title.

Udell, meanwhile, made it a dynamic weekend by also clinching the GT Cup title for GMG Racing, which was one of two wrapped this weekend. Martin Fuentes secured the GTA title for Scuderia Corsa, continuing with the banner year for Giacomo Mattioli’s team.

O’Connell’s win up front came courtesy of a dynamic start, although he was able to get away cleanly following contact behind him when a pair of McLarens collided unintentionally. Jon Fogarty reported a loss of air in the right rear of his No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S GT3, which backed him into points leader Alvaro Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3.

In the ensuing chaos, O’Connell’s teammate Michael Cooper got caught up in it through no fault of his own, and faded to 21st.

Up front, O’Connell controlled the rest of the day in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R for his third win of the year and second of the weekend.

Parente was second to take the points lead by 9, 1554-1545 over Patrick Long, who finished fourth in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Austin Cindric finished third for his second podium of the weekend in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, albeit still disappointed to have lost the Saturday win.

O’Connell grabbed a win at a track that while he has a wealth of experience at, he’s struggled in recent years.

“I was laser focused on the starter with the green flag,” O’Connell said. “I had the revs up on the Cadillac ATS-V.R Coupe and was able to drive by the McLarens. I guess there was a lot of action behind me in the carousel and when I exited the last turn on the first lap I had pretty nice gap. Then when I came around on lap two I saw parts and pieces in the track from the lap one action. It was a good weekend for Cadillac. I tell people this team is like Joe Montana. He was always a fourth quarter player and we are headed to Laguna Seca with still a chance.”

That “chance” is a mathematically possible one – O’Connell and Cooper both have 1451 points, 103 back of Parente. A race win maximum is 110 points and seven bonus points are possible for pole. But such a situation would only present itself if Parente and Long failed to reach 50 percent race distance and failed to score points. There’s only one race left at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Oct. 9, so that’s all the marbles.

Of note, Michael Lewis banked his fifth top-10 in the last six races in the No. 98 Calvert Dynamics Porsche, Jonathan Summerton finished an impressive eighth overall in his first weekend in the older, venerable No. 66 DIME Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and Acura NSX GT3 driver Peter Kox ended a solid 10th in the No. 34 RealTime Racing Acura TLX-GT.

gtcupsonThe Fuentes and Udell titles come after they’ve paced both their classes this year. Udell has 12 wins this year, Fuentes 9.

“We knew we had a real shot at the championship this year, but to walk away with 12 wins and still one race remaining is beyond what we could have hoped for,” Udell said.

“Last year we had such a heartbreaking incident that took us out of the championship that this year has more than made up for it. I couldn’t be happier and look forward to closing everything out in Monterey.”

CorsaFuentes added of his title year, “This is not a single man championship. The whole year, Scuderia Corsa gave us a great car and I’m thankful for everyone on our team – this is a full team championship, and it wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have the best team on my side. Thank you to everyone who supports us all season – the team, sponsors, and fans. We are looking forward to a great season in 2017, and to these last two races of the season.”

The GTS race was more interesting. Sandberg led from the front in his No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-BOW GT4 but Anthony Mantella drove well in his own No. 8 KTM to get into second, edging ahead of Saturday winner Nate Stacy, who held on for all he could in the No. 14 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 ahead of the lighter, more nimble car.

Lawson Aschenbach, who finished sixth in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, has a shot at the title at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with two races on tap there rather than one, owing to the fact Mid-Ohio’s first race was canceled and shifted.

All classes for Pirelli World Challenge resume and finish their season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the weekend of Oct. 7-9.

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Cooper Webb


For the fifth time in 10 rounds of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season, the three riders at the top of the championship standings shared a podium and while those points tell one story, the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit tell a slightly different tale.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Cooper Webb is peaking at the right time. – Feld Motor Sports

Chase Sexton has been all but perfect during the past 45 days with podium finishes in each of his heats and Triple Crown features. His only stumble during this period was a 10th-place finish in the Indianapolis Main. Last week, Sexton was perfect with wins in both his heat and the feature, although he needed a little help from an Aaron Plessinger mistake to take the top spot on the podium at the end of the night.

Cooper Webb finished fifth at Houston and was beginning to worry ever so slightly about his position in the points. Prior to the race in Tampa, he told NBC Sports that it was time to win and like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield fence, Webb went out and captured it. Following that race, Webb has swept the podium and earned the red plate two weeks ago in Indianapolis. At Detroit, he added two more points on Eli Tomac as the season begins to wind down.

Tomac struggled with a stiff neck at Indianapolis and after a modest third-place showing in Detroit, he revealed he was still suffering a little. Webb and Sexton have been able to close the gap on Tomac in the past 45 days, but one of the main reasons he is so close in the points was a pair of wins that started the year. Seattle is going to be important for the defending champion because Tomac cannot afford to lose any more momentum with seven rounds remaining.

MORE: Chase Sexton inherits the win in Detroit

It appeared Jason Anderson was turning things around. He earned his fifth heat win at Detroit, which was also his sixth consecutive race (including features) in which he scored a top-five. A fall in the Detroit Main dropped him a lap off the pace and sent him home with a season-worst finish of ninth, causing a ripple effect in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Justin Barcia was a huge part of the show last week in Detroit. He swapped positions with both Webb and Tomac in the middle stage of the race, which allowed Sexton to close the gap. Barcia finished fourth in that race to earn his third consecutive top-five. He’s been outside the top 10 only once in the first 10 rounds.

Adam Cianciarulo had a great start to the Main. He led a couple of laps before losing a lap and slipping back to eighth in the final rundown. That run was strong enough to elevate him three positions in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit.

450 Rankings

Driver Percentage
1. Chase Sexton
[2 Main, 6 Heat wins]
87.00 1 0
2. Cooper Webb
[2 Main, 1 Heat win]
86.71 2 0
3. Eli Tomac
[5 Main, 6 Heat wins]
84.57 3 0
4. Jason Anderson
[5 Heat wins]
80.71 4 0
5. Ken Roczen
[1 Main, 1 Heat win]
80.50 5 0
6. Justin Barcia
[1 Heat win]
79.07 7 1
7. Aaron Plessinger 77.14 6 -1
8. Adam Cianciarulo 69.75 11 3
9. Christian Craig 68.86 10 1
10. Justin Cooper 63.90 9 -1
11. Justin Hill 58.57 15 4
12. Dean Wilson 51.50 12 0
13. Colt Nichols 51.25 13 0
14. Shane McElrath 46.86 17 3
15. Josh Hill 46.79 16 1
16. Benny Bloss 45.31 18 2
17. Jared Lesher 39.00 NA
18. Joey Savatgy 38.63 14 -4
19. Cade Clason 37.50 21 2
20. Grant Harlan 35.54 23 3

Supercross 450 Points

The NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings look at the past 90 days in the 250 class in order to have a balanced comparison between the East and West divisions and Hunter Lawrence has been all but perfect this year. At Detroit, he earned his fifth win of the season and kept alive a streak of podium finishes in six rounds. He tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 250 wins one week before the West riders take to the track for back-to-back races at Seattle, Washington and Glendale, Arizona.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Detroit
Nate Thrasher is settling into a comfortable role as ‘best in class’. – Feld Motor Sports

The Lawrence brothers are dominating the points in each of their respective divisions, which means the remainder of the field is battling to be best in class.

In the East, that rider is Nate Thrasher, who beat Hunter in a head-to-head matchup in their heat only to finish second in the main when the majority of points were awarded. Thrasher seems to have accepted his position in the championship standings, but that doesn’t mean he won’t keep trying for wins.

Haiden Deegan showed a lot of aggression in his heat last week. He threw a couple of block passes at his teammate Jordon Smith and set up a series of events that kept Smith from making the big show while Deegan settled into second in the preliminary. Deegan was unconcerned about how he raced his teammate and would not let a little controversy keep him from celebrating his second career podium in Detroit.

Supercross 250 Points

Jeremy Martin just keeps clicking off solid results. He won his heat last week by making a pass on Deegan and Smith while they were in the heat of their battle. Martin finished fourth in the Main, which means he continues to have only one finish worse than sixth in any of the features or mains.

Smith fell one position in the points standings, but the damage was even worse in SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Detroit. Crash damage in his heat contributed to a last-place finish in that race, for which he earned minimal points. He was not able to advance from the Last Chance Qualifier after stalling his bike in heavy traffic.

250 Rankings

Rider Power
1. Hunter Lawrence – E
[5 Main, 5 Heat wins]
90.43 1 0
2. Jett Lawrence – W
[3 Main, 3 Heat wins]
90.30 2 0
3. Nate Thrasher – E
[1 Main, 3 Heat wins]
84.00 5 2
4. Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat win]
79.80 9 5
5. Haiden Deegan – E
[1 Heat win]
78.21 7 2
6. Jeremy Martin – E
[2 Heat wins]
78.00 8 2
7. Jordon Smith – E
[3 Heat Wins]
76.77 4 -3
8. Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main]
75.30 3 -5
9. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 75.20 11 2
10. RJ Hampshire – W
[4 Heat wins]
74.50 17 7
11. Max Anstie – E 74.43 6 -5
12. Tom Vialle – E 72.07 12 0
13. Max Vohland – W 71.56 10 -3
14. Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
69.22 14 0
15. Chris Blose – E 67.43 18 3
16. Chance Hymas – E 67.10 15 -1
17. Enzo Lopes – W 66.00 20 3
18. Michael Mosiman – E 65.80 16 -2
19. Pierce Brown – W 65.78 13 -6
20. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 21 1

* 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 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
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 5 AT TAMPA: Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
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