Supercross Preview: Daytona could be the season’s turning point

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There is a lot of room on the infield grass on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway; just ask any NASCAR driver who has slid down its length. That gave Ricky Carmichael ample room to work his magic when he designed this week’s course for Round 10 of the Supercross season.

Beginning on pit road across from the start/finish line, the course sweeps out toward the straightaway before heading toward NASCAR Turn 1, then serpentines its way back and forth across the infield through a variety of hard-packed dirt and sand.

Due in part because of its length and the room that affords to create some gnarly jumps and challenging rhythm sections, this is one of the most grueling courses the series will face all year. As part of Daytona’s famed Bike Week, it is also one of the most prestigious. Daytona has been part of the Supercross schedule since the series first launched.

Cooper Webb posted back-to-back wins twice this season. Daytona gives him the opportunity to do so again after last week’s win in Atlanta and if he does so, it will make a major statement to the field. There is still time for the field to catch up to Webb, but in Round 10 of 17 the clock is starting to tick louder with each passing week.

Two East division riders will not make the show. Jordon Smith is out for a wrist injury he sustained at Arlington that has not yet healed. Mitchell Falk was also injured just prior to Arlington and that gives the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM team the time and resources necessary to allow 250 West rider Shane McElrath the opportunity to race in the 450 class. McElrath currently sits third in the 250 West division. He has a previous start at East Rutherford, NJ in 2015 with an 11th-place finish.

In the 250 class, Austin Forkner looks to get back to dominating that division after falling behind West division riders Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis in last week’s Showdown in Atlanta. A third-place finish in the feature was the first race that he’s failed to win all season.

MORE: Supercross kicks off Daytona Bike Week

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Cooper Webb scored his fifth win of the year over Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis from the West topped Austin Forkner and Chase Sexton from the East in 2019’s first Showdown event.

Last Year:

Justin Brayton got his first career win over Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb in the 450 class.
In 250s, Jordon Smith won over Jeremy Martin and Austin Forkner in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[5] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Atlanta)
[2] Eli Tomac (San Diego and Detroit)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)

250 West:
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale, Oakland, San Diego and Atlanta)
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

250 East:
[3] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington and Detroit)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (9)
Marvin Musquin (7)
Cooper Webb (7)
Eli Tomac (6)
Blake Baggett (5)
Dean Wilson (2)
Joey Savatgy (2)
Chad Reed (2)
Justin Barcia (1)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Justin Brayton (1)
Aaron Plessinger (1)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (6)
Shane McElrath (5)
Colt Nichols (4)
Dylan Ferrandis (4)
RJ Hampshire (3)
James Decotis (2)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (4)
Justin Cooper (4)
Chase Sexton (4)
Jordon Smith (3)
Martin Davalos (2)
Alex Martin (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Cooper Webb (199)
Ken Roczen (186)
Marvin Musquin (182)
Eli Tomac (177)
Blake Baggett (142)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (140)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123)
Colt Nichols (120)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (99)
Justin Cooper (81)
Chase Sexton (79)
Jordon Smith (70)
Alex Martin (60)

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Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.