Will Power ties A.J. Foyt with 53rd IndyCar pole, eyes third straight win at Pocono

IndyCar
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Will Power made a huge statement towards winning a third consecutive race at Pocono Raceway, capturing the pole for Sunday’s ABC Supply 500 with a monster qualifying run.

Power roared to a 219.511 mph effort during the Saturday afternoon qualifying session. It’s his third pole of the season (also was No. 1 in the Indianapolis Grand Prix and Iowa) and, incredibly, the 53rd pole of his career (in 201 starts in the series).

“Very happy with that, just nailed it perfectly as far as lines, the car and all that,” Power told the IndyCar Radio Network. “We trimmed out because I figured we’d be lifting anyway, and to have a shot at the pole, that’s what I figured we’d have to do.”

Power’s 53rd pole also tied legendary driver A.J. Foyt for second-most IndyCar poles. Mario Andretti holds the all-time IndyCar poles record with 67.

“Very cool to be up there with A.J. Foyt, a legend like that,” Power said. “I couldn’t have imagined that starting my career. So, it’s over the moon. It’s great to start at the front here. I think it will be a bit of a track position race and that’s what we need to get our championship back on track.”

Power, who is fourth in the standings, 87 points behind series leader Scott Dixon, will be joined on the front row by Team Penske teammate and defending Verizon IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden (218.802 mph).

“I think we did a good job with the set up, it’s just that’s about what we had, speed-wise,” Newgarden said. “The guys did a good job. We get a one-two lock-out on the front row. That’s good. We can’t be disappointed. We’ll have the Verizon car and the Hitachi car up there. I think that’s what we had. I’m pretty happy with our run. That was our speed.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay (217.806 mph) looked like he’d be fastest until Power pulled that dramatic qualifying run late in the session. Hunter-Reay will start from the fourth position, alongside Andretti Autosport teammate Alexander Rossi (218.758 mph), who starts third, also after a late qualifying run.

“It was a disjointed first practice for us, so to do that is great, and to have Ryan next to me, we’ll take it,” Rossi told the IndyCar Radio Network.

Team Penske wrapped up with three drivers in the top five with 2016 IndyCar champ Simon Pagenaud (217.769 mph), who will start fifth, good for the inside spot of Row 3.

Sixth through 10th were Robert Wickens (217.612 mph), Zach Veach (217.587), Sebastien Bourdais (217.296), James Hinchcliffe (217.009) and Takuma Sato (216.863).

Marco Andretti qualified 11th (216.658), with Ed Jones (216.547) alongside.

Fellow Chip Ganassi Racing driver and Verizon IndyCar Series points leader Dixon (216.410 mph) did not have a good qualifying effort, ending up on the inside of Row 7, alongside Tony Kanaan (216.328).

“We were a little surprised with the understeer,” Dixon told the IndyCar Radio Network. “Turn 3 was easy but we bottomed out in Turn 1. It is what it is. The car feels comfortable. We’ll just have to see how it feels in traffic. It’s a long race tomorrow, so we’ll see what we can do to move up.”

Rounding out the rest of the field were Ed Carpenter (216.025 mph) in 15th and teammate Spencer Pigot (215.177), Pietro Fittipaldi (214.336), Graham Rahal (214.225) in 18th, Charlie Kimball (211.919), Matheus Leist (211.696), Max Chilton in 21st (209.599) and Conor Daly (208.951).

Speaking of Daly, he was involved in the only incident of the session, slightly scraping the Turn 2 wall, but damage was minimal.

There will be one more practice session this afternoon (one hour in length at 4:45 p.m. ET). However, rain is forecast for the area, which could put a damper on things, no pun intended. In fact, it began to drizzle slightly just moments after the completion of qualifying.

Here’s the full qualifying grid:

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston: Eli Tomac retakes 450 lead, Hunter Lawrence tops 250s

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After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jason Anderson has back-to-back podiums to his credit and sits second in the Power Rankings. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.

Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.

MORE: Eli Tomac rebounds from Anaheim 2 crash with Houston win

Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.

Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.

After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Eli Tomac
[3 Main; 3 Heats Wins]
85.20 2 1
2 Jason Anderson
[2 Heat Wins]
82.60 4 2
3 Cooper Webb 82.10 3 0
4 Ken Roczen 81.70 1 -3
5 Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat Wins]
80.70 6 1
6 Dylan Ferrandis 71.60 5 -1
7 Aaron Plessinger 71.30 8 1
8 Justin Barcia 70.10 7 -1
9 Justin Cooper 68.00 NA
10 Adam Cianciarulo 67.40 9 -1
11 Joey Savatgy 61.20 10 -1
12 Marvin Musquin 61.00 10 -2
13 Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat Win]
58.75 11 -2
14 Christian Craig 57.20 13 -1
15 Colt Nichols 56.50 14 -1
16 Dean Wilson 49.30 15 -1
17 Justin Hill 39.67 18 1
18 Shane McElrath 36.33 22 4
19 Brandon Scharer 34.00 21 2
20 Logan Karnow 33.33 19 -1

Supercross 450 Points


The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.

Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.

SuperMotocross Power Rankings Houston
Jordon Smith’s last podium before Houston came four years ago in Detroit. – Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.

Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.

Supercross 250 Points

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.

Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.

Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Rider Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1 Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
95.00 NA
2 Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
90.50 NA
2 Max Anstie – E 90.50 NA
4 Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
89.13 1 -3
5 Haiden Deegan – E 81.50 NA
6 Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 2 -4
7 Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 3 -4
7 Michael Mosiman – E 77.00 NA
7 Jeremy Martin – E 77.00 NA
7 Tom Vialle – E 77.00 NA
11 Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
76.75 4 -7
12 Chance Hymas – E 74.50 -12
13 Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
73.75 5 -8
14 RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
70.00 6 -8
15 Max Vohland – W 69.29 7 -8
16 Cullin Park – E 66.00 NA
17 Chris Blose – E 65.50 NA
18 Derek Kelley – W 63.75 8 -10
19 Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 9 -10
20 Pierce Brown – W 61.29 10 -10

* 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.

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage