Indy Lights: O’Ward caps championship season with win in chaotic Race 2 at Portland

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography

Patricio O’Ward capped off his 2018 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship season by winning Race 2 at Portland International Raceway as chaos reigned behind him.

A chaotic start to Race 2 saw the field go seven-wide into Turn 1, but carnage ensued when Victor Franzoni bumped Ryan Norman into Colton Herta, tipping Herta into a spin and sparking a small pileup that forced Norman and Dalton Kellett into the runoff area. Kellett then tried to plow through the Verizon IndyCar Series signs in the chicane, but broke his front wing off in the process.

Norman, who started on the pole, dropped out with left-front suspension damage, while Kellett was able to rejoin after repairs, but two laps off the lead.

Aaron Teltiz led when racing resumed on Lap 5, but Santi Urrutia eventually got around him to take the lead in the ensuing laps.

On Lap 10, O’Ward made an outside pass on Telitz to take second as they approached Turn 1, and he then set his sights on Urrutia.

After the two battled for a handful of laps, O’Ward was finally able to slice his way inside of Urrutia entering Turn 1 to seize control of the lead on Lap 17.

O’Ward held the lead from there and took the win by over seven seconds.

“I wanted this win! It’s the only race in my life where I won’t have any pressure. I wanted to end my Indy Lights career in style and be out there doing donuts,” O’Ward revealed afterward.

He continued, “I knew that was going to happen at the start, and I can’t wait to see my onboard camera. I saw six cars go in and I figured maybe two would come out, and sure enough, we were third at the end of that. I just picked them off one by one, though Santi made it really hard, but I knew I could run away with it.”

“But nine wins and nine poles, wow. I told my dad at the beginning of the season that I wanted 10 wins and 10 poles, but I was kind of joking. But I came one short, so I’m speechless. I’m so proud of this team, I had an absolute bullet of a car.”

And elated O’Ward was beside himself at the success he’s had this year.

“But nine wins and nine poles, wow,” he quipped. “I told my dad at the beginning of the season that I wanted 10 wins and 10 poles, but I was kind of joking. But I came up one short, so I’m speechless. I’m so proud of this team, I had an absolute bullet of a car.”

Behind him, Urrutia eventually overshot the Festival Curves on Lap 26 and surrendered second to Telitz.

Victor Franzoni and Colton Herta also got into it on the same lap, with Franzoni nudging Herta off the track in Turn 7 as they battled for fourth on Lap 26.

Franonzi was ordered to the spot up to Herta, who held on to fourth until the checkered flag.

Ultimately, Telitz and Urrutia came home second and third, followed by Herta and Franzoni in fourth and fifth. Heamin Choi was sixth, with Kellett and Norman rounding out the field in seventh and eighth.

Results from Race 2 are below.


Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead


With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.

In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list