Time ends up on Hinchcliffe’s side, wins Iowa Corn 300 under caution


It was a day of flag waving, so to speak, for James Hinchcliffe.

First, the Mayor of Hinchtown won under a yellow caution flag in Sunday’s Iowa Corn 300 at Iowa Speedway.

Then it was time for Hinchcliffe to celebrate in victory lane, wrapping himself in a Canadian flag, showing pride for his homeland. Plus, it also gave Hinchcliffe and his team great momentum going into next Sunday’s win in his native land with the Honda Indy Toronto in the streets of downtown Toronto.

Ed Carpenter brought out the caution on Lap 295 of the 300-lap race. Carpenter got loose and Takuma Sato made contact with Carpenter’s left side of his front wing, bringing out the caution flag.

There was not enough time left on the .750-mile oval to resume the event under green flag conditions, giving Hinchcliffe and his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda the win.

It was Hinchcliffe’s second career win at Iowa to go along with his first win there in 2013, his first-ever repeat win at a racetrack on the series.

“Man what a way to do a win,” Hinchcliffe told NBCSN. “Man, it feels good to do a double here at Iowa.”

In addition, it was Hinchcliffe’s sixth career IndyCar win and his first since at Long Beach in 2017.

It also gives him renewed confidence after a rough season and enhanced momentum heading to Toronto, not far from his hometown of Oakville, Ontario.

After playing second fiddle for most of the race to Josef Newgarden, who put on a dominant display from the opening laps, Hinchcliffe finally passed Newgarden on Lap 258 and set sail to victory.

It was some consolation for Hinchcliffe’s team after failing to qualify for and missing this year’s Indianapolis 500.

“For everybody at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and the whole Arrow Electronics team, this is such a good feeling after what happened in May,” Hinchcliffe told NBCSN. “We knew we had it in us.

“We didn’t qualify the best, had a good car. … The last (pit) stop, that car was a rocket ship. Just going into Toronto like this, we’re so stoked.”

Spencer Pigot finished an IndyCar career-best second place — and also in his first IndyCar start at Iowa.

“Right from the get-go, I knew we had a fast car,” Pigot told NBCSN. “Before we knew it, we were right up near the front. It was a real team effort, it was fun, tough, lots of close racing, but yeah, I enjoyed it.”

Pigot was followed by Sato (his best finish of the season and third consecutive top-10 showing), Josef Newgarden and Hinchcliffe’s SPM teammate, Robert Wickens in fifth.

“I think I was more surprised at how much he picked up,” Newgarden said of Hinchcliffe catching and passing him. “I can’t complain much, but it’s a tough pill to swallow, seeing Hinch going by me. We just didn’t have it at the end.

“For the first half of the race, we had a great car. It just went away from us. We tried to do what we could to be competitive there at the end (stopped for four tires with three laps left), but we just ran out of time. … Congrats to Hinch. He did a great job. They did a good job at the end and deserved to win.”

Even though he fell short of his fourth win of the season, Newgarden managed to get a little bit of consolation, moving up to second in the standings, just 33 points now behind Scott Dixon, who remains on top even though he struggled to a 12th-place finish.

Newgarden was dominant throughout more than the first two-thirds of the race.

He lapped the entire field – with the exception of Hinchcliffe – in the first third of the 300-lap race.

It got even more difficult for his competitors: Newgarden went two laps up on every driver in 10th place or worse by Lap 127.

But by Lap 172, Hinchcliffe had closed Newgarden’s lead to less than a half-second, while several other drivers got their lap back, as well.

Hinchcliffe’s teammate, Wickens, was upset that his team called him in to pit with three laps left for tires, costing him a potential podium finish.

“It was the team’s (decision to pit for tires),” Wickens said. “They said there was going to be one lap remaining and so we pit, thinking we were at least going to be on the podium and then they threw the checkered. So we threw away a podium and good points.”

Sixth through 10th were pole sitter Will Power, Graham Rahal, Simon Pagenaud, Ed Carpenter and Alexander Rossi.


* Simon Pagenaud bounced back nicely from a blown engine during Saturday’s final practice. Pagenaud finished eighth.

* Zach Veach, who finished 20th, suffered a minor fire in the pits on Lap 79, but the team quickly extinguished it and he was able to return to the track. Veach also had a fire during May’s Indianapolis 500.

* Troubles continued for Veach on Lap 140 when he got loose coming out of Turn 2, tried to save it, but glanced off the outside wall. Veach’s car did not sustain much damage and he was able to add two more laps under caution before the pits were opened.

* Alexander Rossi had a terrible pit stop on Lap 84. His car stalled as he left his pit stall. His team had to push him back and it took several seconds before the motor was able to re-fire. He lost close to one lap in time on the .750-mile track, leaving him two laps back by Lap 88. Even so, Rossi was able to turn a bad day into a not-so-bad day, finishing 10th.

* Sebastien Bourdais went an incredible 96 laps on his first tank of fuel. All other drivers stopped for fuel for the first time between 75 and 85 laps.

* Ryan Hunter-Reay, who had a strong weekend of practice and qualifying, spent much of the final third of the race with a suspension issue, preventing him from winning for a fourth time at Iowa. That included making an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 240 to see if it could find the source of the problem, but his pit crew could not do so. He returned to the track but once again hit the pits on Lap 287 for another examination; nothing was found once again. Hunter-Reay finished a disappointing 19th, 17 laps down.

“It was a nightmare of a day, an absolute nightmare,” Hunter-Reay told NBCSN. “The radio didn’t work. I couldn’t talk to (his crew), but I could hear them. I had a massive vibration that I couldn’t tell them about. The left rear was wobbling around. They couldn’t find it at first. I nearly crashed 30 times. I’m just lucky I’m okay and the car is okay and we got away from it because we had a horrible day. Hopefully we can go to Toronto, get back on top and win that one.”

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Motocross season opener: Jett Lawrence rockets to the top

SuperMotocross Rankings season opener
Align Media

As the SuperMotocross season heads outdoors, the NBC Power Rankings change significantly with results from the Motocross opener at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. The Power Rankings assign a numeric value to each individual moto (90 points maximum) as well as the overall standings (100 points) and averages that number over the past 45 days. Included in the Power Rankings are results from the final five Supercross rounds, which fit into that 45-day timeframe.

Dylan Ferrandis finished on the podium in his first race back after experience a concussion in Supercross Round 4 at Houston. – Align Media

It didn’t take long for Jett Lawrence to rocket to the top of the SuperMotocross rankings – only about 74 minutes in fact. Lawrence dominated his first moto and beat his teammate Chase Sexton, the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross champion, to the line by 10 seconds. He had to fight a little harder for the second moto win as Sexton stalked him throughout the race and ended up less than a second behind.

Beginning this week, we have added the SuperMotocross points’ ranking beside the rider’s name and in one fell swoop, Lawrence went from being unranked in the 450 class to 26th. To qualify for the inaugural SuperMotocross’ guaranteed 20 positions that automatically make the gate for the three-race championship series, Lawrence needs to be inside the top 20 in combined Supercross and Motocross points. The bubble is currently held by Justin Starling and Lawrence needs to make up 44 points to overtake him.

Sexton’s second-place finish in the overall standings at Fox Raceway marked his ninth consecutive top-five finish. After the race, Sexton compared the battle he had with Lawrence to the one he experienced with Eli Tomac in last year’s Pro Motocross championship. These two riders had a significant advantage over the field in Pala, but there is still a lot of racing to be completed.

MORE: Jett Lawrence wastes no time, wins first 450 race

After missing 13 rounds to a concussion, Dylan Ferrandis told NBC Sports that he was not going to do anything risky in the season opener at Fox Raceway. If he dialed back his effort at all, one would be hard-pressed to notice. He finished third in both motos and was third in the overall standings. Ferrandis began the weekend just outside the top 20 in combined SuperMotocross points and climbed to 19th. In the next few weeks, he will get a little more breathing room over the cutline and then challenge for wins.

Adam Cianciarulo’s three-race streak of top-five finishes ended with a sixth-place overall at Fox Raceway, but that was enough to advance him one position in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings and land him eighth in the combined points standings. His individual motos were moderate, but Cianciarulo is still battling the effects of injury and a nagging loss of strength in his wrist.

Aaron Plessinger returned from injury in the Supercross season finale to finish second at Salt Lake City. He added another top-five to his season total and now has six of those in the 13 rounds he’s made. With Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac not currently racing in Motocross, Plessinger has an opportunity to rise to the third seeding in short order.

450 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Jett Lawrence (26) 93.33 NA
2. Chase Sexton (1) 92.36 1 -1
3. Dylan Ferrandis (19) 89.00 NA
4. Adam Cianciarulo (8) 82.89 5 1
5. Aaron Plessinger (5) 81.20 9 4
6. Justin Hill (9)
Not racing MX
79.75 8 2
7. Ken Roczen (4)
injured | Not racing MX
79.13 3 -4
8. Jose Butron (30) 75.67 NA
9. Lorenzo Locurcio (29) 75.00 NA
10. Eli Tomac (2)
74.50 2 -8
11. Dean Wilson (10)
Not racing MX
72.88 7 -4
12. Cooper Webb (3) 71.17 6 -6
13. Jerry Robin (32) 70.33 NA
14. Justin Barcia (6)
70.00 4 -10
15. Kyle Chisholm (15) 65.36 11 -4
16. Dante Oliveira (36) 65.00 NA
17. Shane McElrath (11)
Not racing MX
63.63 12 -5
18. Ryan Surratt (38) 63.33 NA
19. Josh Hill (13)
Not racing MX
62.38 13 -6
20. Justin Starling (20)
Not racing MX
62.13 19 -1

Motocross 450 Points

A bad start to Moto 1 at Fox Raceway was not enough to deter Hunter Lawrence. Neither was the fact that he was riding with sore ribs after experiencing a practice crash earlier in the week. He was a distant 10th to start the first race and for most of the 30 minutes, it seemed he would finish off the podium. Lawrence did not win the 250 East Supercross championship by giving in to hopelessness or pain, however.

Lawrence picked off one rider and then another until he found the battle for the top five in front of him at the halfway point. Once the field started to lap riders, Lawrence used the opportunity to continue forward through the grid. He passed third-place Jo Shimoda with two laps remaining and challenged Maximus Vohland for second on the final trip around Fox Raceway, but had to settle for the final spot on the podium. Lawrence dominated Moto 2 and claimed the overall victory in Pala.

Justin Cooper made his first start of the season at Fox Raceway and earned enough NBC Power Average points to climb to second. Partly this was due to consistently strong runs in both motos and a 5-4 that gave him the fifth position overall, but he is also not weighed down with moderate Supercross results. It will take a week or two to see where his strength lands him on the grid.

Motocross 250 Points

In only his third Pro Motocross National, Haiden Deegan scored a second-place finish in the overall standings. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire may feel he has something to prove after finishing second to Jett Lawrence in the 250 SX West division. He certainly rode like that was the case in Moto 1 and easily outpaced the field on his way to victory lane. In Moto 2, he crashed twice on Lap 1 and dropped back to 39th. It took half of the race to get inside the top 20 and salvage points. By the end of the race, he was 11th and while that was enough to get him on the overall podium, it cost him points in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

Haiden Deegan surprised the field in Houston in his 250 Supercross debut by finishing fifth. At the time, he said his strong result was because there were no expectations. He echoed that statement after the Motocross season opener. His second-place finish in the overall standings was enough to project him five positions up the SuperMotocross Rankings. In 11 rounds in the combined series, Deegan has earned seven top-fives and a worst finish of eighth.

Jo Shimoda did not make his first Supercross race of 2023 until late in the season. He finished fourth on the hybrid track of Atlanta, which had some similar elements to Fox Raceway. His fourth-place finish in Moto 1 of the Motocross opener made it seem likely he would score an overall podium, but a sixth in the second race cost him points in the NBC Power Rankings in a field that promises to be extremely tight.

250 Rankings

Driver (SMX rank) Power
1. Hunter Lawrence (1) 89.56 2 1
2. Justin Cooper (42) 84.67 NA
3. RJ Hampshire (3) 83.67 3 0
3. Haiden Deegan (4) 83.67 8 5
5. Jo Shimoda (16) 82.33 7 2
6. Guillem Farres (46) 79.33 NA
7. Levi Kitchen (6) 79.11 5 -2
8. Max Anstie (5) 77.83 12 4
9. Max Vohland (8) 77.50 14 5
10. Enzo Lopes (10) 76.00 11 1
11. Mitchell Oldenburg (13) 74.25 16 5
12. Carson Mumford (19) 71.22 17 5
13. Jordon Smith (7) 70.56 9 -4
14. Ryder DiFrancesco (48) 70.33 NA
15. Chris Blose (12) 67.00 13 -2
16. Chance Hymas (27) 66.00 19 3
17. Tom Vialle (9) 65.78 18 1
18. Jett Reynolds (55) 63.33 NA
19. Michael Mosiman (28) 62.33 20 1
20. Garrett Marchbanks (64) 59.00 NA

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner in Supercross and overall winner in Motocross. It awards 90 points for each Moto, Heat and Triple Crown win. 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.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 13 AT ATLANTA: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big 3
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Eli Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Eli 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: Ken Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage