Pigot crashes as Rahal leads Mid-Ohio warm-up

Photo: IndyCar
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Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Graham Rahal topped the morning warm-up for this afternoon’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio (3:00 p.m. ET, CNBC). His best lap of 1:05.0239 was nearly three tenths of a second up on Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves, who came in second with a best lap of 1:05.3007.

Rahal won this race in 2015 and is looking to get caught up in the championship. He sits 64 points back of points leader Scott Dixon heading into the race. On essentially a “win-or-bust” strategy, Rahal really has nothing to lose today.

Graham Rahal topped the morning warm-up at Mid-Ohio. Photo: IndyCar

Three Andretti Autosport cars completed the top five, with Marco Andretti third, Takuma Sato fourth, and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth, making it four Hondas in the top five in the final session before the race begins.

The session saw one incident, but it was a big one as Ed Carpenter Racing’s Spencer Pigot crashed hard exiting the final corner. Pigot’s No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet quickly broke loose, but the front wheels gripped too much when he tried to correct it and the car shot straight off course and nosed into the concrete wall just after the tire barrier ended.

Pigot was able to exit the car and walk away under his own power, confirming afterward that he was okay, but the ECR team will have to prepare the backup car ahead of this afternoon’s race, as the tub of Pigot’s chassis was damaged in the impact.

Times are below. Note: the session was extended by five minutes to make up for time lost due to Pigot’s incident. Coverage of the Honda Indy 200 begins at 3:00 p.m. on CNBC.

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Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.