Newgarden secures his first podium for Penske at Long Beach

Photo: IndyCar

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Such are the expectations of you at Team Penske that podiums come first, wins come not much later when you arrive.

Josef Newgarden checked the first one of those to-do list items off the list in Sunday’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in the No. 2 hum by Verizon Chevrolet with a third place finish, behind the Honda-powered pair of race winner James Hinchcliffe and Sebastien Bourdais. His previous best finish at Long Beach was seventh in 2015 and he was eighth in the season opener at St. Petersburg.

And he hopes his bosses, Roger Penske and Tim Cindric, are pleased.

“I hope they’re happy enough so far! I’d like to stay… I’m not ready to get fired yet,” Newgarden laughed in the post-race press conference.

Newgarden started only eighth and found some performance today after a tough weekend trying to dial in the setup. But he said the comfort level comes from the team even though he said he didn’t feel that comfortable with his car.

“The great thing about Roger and Tim is they’ve let me settle in,” he said. “They let me know how to interact with the teammates and engineers. I feel really good about gelling with the team. This was the most eye opening weekend. I wasn’t super happy. I wasn’t 100 percent comfortable with the car. And that’s OK. There’s gonna be some weekends where I’m uncomfortable. But it feels great.”

For the race, Newgarden explained the mix of strategies between two versus three stops shook everything up, even though Newgarden and Scott Dixon had two of the fastest cars.

“It got a lot more mixed up with the strategies. Me and Dixon were on something different that the front guys,” Newgarden said. “We had a car that was capable of challenging for the win. That last yellow allowed everyone to catch up on fuel. So our strategy of trying to run those guys down wasn’t really able to play out. It’s unfortunate, but that’s how it goes.”

Newgarden and Dixon could have had time to catch the drivers had it not been for a seven-lap caution caused when Alexander Rossi stopped on track with a mechanical issue on Lap 63. Everyone was locked into the same strategy though when this caution flew. Newgarden said his car was solid at both fuel saving and making speed.

“We were strong saving fuel and going fast. I think we were the fastest saving a lot of fuel,” he said. “We closed right back up while saving a ton of fuel. We had a really quick car. It was hard at the end. It was tough for me to get by Sebastien to get to James. Everyone was even. When we had clean air, we had a very fast race car. I had no complaints.”

Even though this is the first time none of Team Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and Andretti Autosport have won the first two races since the Champ Car/IndyCar merger of 2008 occurred – Dale Coyne Racing and Schmidt Peterson Motorsports have opened the 2017 account with wins – Newgarden said the so-called “big three” aren’t struggling so much as the series is just providing a showcase for multiple teams to star.

“It seems like typical IndyCar to me,” Newgarden said. “It’s not bad…  Bourdais didn’t qualify at St. Pete, so you don’t know his qualifying pace. We’re all capable. Who’s to say they wouldn’t qualify in the top three? Here, I think with James.. the Hondas looked strong. The Hondas were tough to beat. James was good all weekend.

“I’m not sure it’s been super shook up. It’s typical IndyCar. Anyone can win.”

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