Supercross Preview: Indianapolis will be pivotal to 2019 season

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Round 11 of the Supercross season at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis could be the defining moment in the 2019 championship – unless Cooper Webb stumbles, that is. In the past five weeks since Minneapolis, Webb has finished first or second while his three principle rivals have all finished outside the top five at least once. That has allowed him to build up a 19-point advantage over the field, which equates to 2.7 points per round for the remainder of the year.

Eli Tomac’s win last week at Daytona put him in a tie for second with Marvin Musquin, but he has not been able to back up one of his three victories with a top-five finish. That leaves his future in question.

Round 1 winner Justin Barcia will climb back on his metal steed after sitting out two weeks with a concussion. His return comes just in time because the team is losing Aaron Plessinger to a broken heel for an indeterminate period. Jason Anderson (various injuries), Vince Friese (knee) and Malcolm Stewart (leg) are also out for the foreseeable future.

The 250 East division is back in action and so far none of the Eastern riders have been able to catch Austin Forkner. If hometown advantage means anything, Chase Sexton could upset the points contender after coming up just one spot shy in the last two weeks.

Blake Wharton will be out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. This is the second straight season that has been abbreviated with this injury.

MORE: Eli Tomac’s wins have come with cost
MORE: Aaron Plessinger breaks heel in Daytona Supercross

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 7 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and 11 p.m. on NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac climbed to second in the points with his third win of the year over Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner remains perfect in the East with a win over Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper.

Last Year:

Marvin Musquin won over Dean Wilson and Justin Brayton in the 450 class.
In 250s, Jeremy Martin won over Adam Cianciarulo and Luke Renzland in the 250 class in an East/West Showdown.

Winners

450s:
[5] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Atlanta)
[3] Eli Tomac (San Diego, Detroit and Daytona)
[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:
[4] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington, Detroit and Daytona)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (9)
Marvin Musquin (8)
Cooper Webb (8)
Eli Tomac (7)
Blake Baggett (6)
Joey Savatgy (3)
Dean Wilson (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 (5)
Justin Cooper (5)
Chase Sexton (5)
Jordon Smith (3)
Martin Davalos (2)
Alex Martin (2)
Mitchell Oldenburg (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Cooper Webb (222)
Eli Tomac (203)
Marvin Musquin (203)
Ken Roczen (201)
Blake Baggett (161)

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

250 East:
Austin Forkner (125)
Justin Cooper (102)
Chase Sexton (102)
Alex Martin (78)
Brandon Hartranft (71)

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Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

A Ganassi spokesman said the team hopes to run its second entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans but only its WEC team is confirmed (an AOC invitation would be required for the IMSA team). The team also is exploring options but currently plans to have the WEC’s team base of operations in Indianapolis.

Ganassi is the first American-based prototype team to confirm its entry in the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s expected that Team Penske, which raced this year’s Le Mans with a full-time WEC entry in LMP2, also will race Le Mans with Porsche’s new LMDh car that is set for IMSA, but the manufacturer has yet to confirm its driver and team lineup.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.