INDYCAR: What drivers said after Gateway

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Here’s what drivers said after Saturday’s 15th race on the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series schedule – the Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway:

TAKUMA SATO (No. 30 Mi-Jack / Panasonic Honda) – WINNER: “This year the cheering, (the fans) screaming my name so much. I just can’t find the words to thank you for all the support. It was special, particularly like you said, after the difficult circumstances, to come here, qualify strong, which I’m really proud of the team. A difficult start. I was sandwiched, then go backwards. It was difficult to get away the first stint. Head down, did our job, believe in ourselves, take the moment for the chance to come back. We came back. I think this is the whole effort of the team. They are completely behind me. So happy to bring the car to the win for them. I’m very, very happy.”

ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) – finished second: “Even just another straightaway, I maybe could have gotten Takuma! We were really good on the long runs tonight. Qualifying so bad didn’t help us. Early in the race, the guys asked me what I needed and I said clear track more than anything. I thought the race was really good and we had made really good adjustments to it. Days like yesterday are really tough and dejecting for the whole team. We kept our heads down and never gave up, came back strong tonight and got a result. This was a great way to finish the year. It would have been a little better if we could have gotten a win, I definitely gave it all I had. It was fun to be back up at the front again.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) – finished third: “Great night. We knew we had a strong car last night. Obviously, we missed in qualifying so I was a little frustrated but once we got to the front the car was fast. We played the strategy right, we got a little bit of luck on our side – finally – and once we got to the front, we showed them that we belong there. It wasn’t like, ‘Ah they got lucky.’ When we restarted, there were over 40 laps to go and nobody could touch us. It was an awesome result for us.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda) – finished fourth: “I had so much fun leading this race. Having open air like that and being able to run to a pace, run your lines and not have to think about it and just enjoy it. But hats off to our crew. We had a race car, a winning race car. It’s just a little bit unfortunate that we got caught by the yellow. Then at the end, I was racing so hard to get back into the top three. I was really trying to bring home some hardware for the boys. Unfortunately, not everything went our way but I’m happy we came home in fourth and picked up some more points in the Rookie of the Year standings and jumped into the top 10 in the overall championship.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished fifth: “Wow, what a night. That is a race that I am going to be excited to re-watch. Honestly, I really don’t know much about what happened because as a driver you are kind of like a horse. You just have to keep going. We had a really good car and after five laps the car was really, really strong. It had a lot of pace and we could really keep it up through the stint. Really, really struggled on restarts. Just no grip. Some of it is me and some of it, I don’t know what it is. Certainly some work we need to do. Wow, it was an eventful race. Lots of passing and lots of elbows out, out there and with the strategies, it seemed like it was fun. The fans had a great show tonight.”

CONOR DALY (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet) – finished sixth: “I’m super happy with our result tonight. The No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet was so strong and consistent the entire night. We just kept fine-tuning it and making it even better every time we came into pit lane. Anytime we got in clean air we made progress and we were able to run people down. I really thought we were going to be on the podium tonight and that’s really hard to take. The strategy game of INDYCAR is just crazy and we just got a little bit unlucky, but to be unlucky and finish sixth is pretty awesome. I’m thankful to close out this oval run with Carlin on such a high note and thankful to Gallagher for giving me a chance to show what I could do for their program with Carlin.”

JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished seventh: “For us tonight, our guys did a great job. Our PPG car was fast. We were better in clean air, which was unfortunate because we got stuck in in dirty air more often than not. I think if we were a little bit better in traffic we could have made something happen. But, they did a great job. Great stops. Good calls from everybody. I’m really proud of the team. Now we’ve just got to try and have a couple of better rounds here to finish the season off.”

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda) – finished eighth: “Unfortunately, luck didn’t go our way today. The DHL team had a really good fuel strategy going where we would have been P1 on our strategy, which would have ended up panning out if that second-to-last yellow hadn’t come out. That was the one that really put us in. After saving fuel for so long, I think a top 10 – P8 – is about as good as we could hope for.”

COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda) – finished ninth: “Tonight was a bit of a grind all night and I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun on those restarts and we passed a lot of cars. There were a million strategies based on how the cautions played out and I think we were on the right one until the final caution came out. The No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda was able to pass three or four cars on the final restart so we still finished ninth, which is great for the team. It’s a shame though because without the final caution we could have finished within the top five. That’s short oval racing though, sometimes you get burned with yellows and sometimes you get lucky. Now let’s hope we can continue to be quick at Portland.”

MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 98 Oberto Circle K / Curb Honda) – finished tenth: “We hung in there and gave ourselves a lot of opportunity on going long and fighting through the vibrations and staying out. We almost bailed a couple times, but just hung tough and got the yellows and put ourselves in a decent position. I felt weak on restarts, which is usually one of my fortes. Not a bad night but I think the potential was a lot better.”

FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 Monster Energy Honda) – finished 11th: “I think we started out with good track position, but we were pretty average overall in the Monster Energy Honda. We were trying to save some fuel and then we went another route and I just think it was just one of those nights. We dropped down to around P13, but made our way back up a bit. It was a good effort from the team. We’ll still give it our best on the ovals and I’m confident we’ll get there. This week we got to run all the laps and at least we got that valuable experience under our belts.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) – finished 12th: “It was an up-and-down weekend for us. Practice one had a lot of problems, so we lost a bunch of track time. Luckily, (teammate) Marcus (Ericsson) had been out here and tested, and we were able to put his setup on our car for qualifying and got the (No.) 5 Arrow car a decent spot for the start of the race. It was a really tough race. Every single set of our tires were vibrating. That first stint, we were actually able to stay out longer and kind of manage our tires a bit better than everyone else. We caught a lucky yellow that cycled us up to the front. From there, we spent the first half of the race just trying to manage our tires as best we could. We weren’t good over short runs, but we were decent over a long run so the early part of the race it was fine. Then, unfortunately, we had like five yellows in a row and with a car that just wasn’t good on a short run, we just kept getting hosed. That last restart, [Ryan] Hunter-Reay hit us pretty hard, put us down into the grass in Turn 1 and bent something in the car, so from there we were just trying to hang on. It’s unfortunate. The Arrow SPM guys deserved better today. They were killer in the pits, we made up spots every time we came into pit lane. Unfortunately, the yellows, and the way the race fell, just didn’t fall in our favor.”

ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) – finished 13th: “I think we had the car and we drove it up to P3 on pace. It’s just the way the series works and the way the yellows fall sometimes. It can be frustrating. (Josef Newgarden) spins and is unaffected; crashes in Toronto and is unaffected. It’s just the way it goes. I think the whole (No.) 27 NAPA Andretti Honda team did a really good job overnight, putting together a fast race car. We were able to get from 11th to third and were content running up there and could run the same pace, if not quicker, than Josef. It’s unfortunate the way it goes down, the series is really difficult. But we’ve got two more to go and we’ll just keep our head down and try to win races.”

ZACH VEACH (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) – finished 14th: “Honestly, we were on the wrong end of a bad yellow all night. You never want the yellow to come out after you pit because then you get trapped a lap down. Literally, we pitted three times and the yellow came out within three laps each time. We just kept getting trapped a lap down, which wasn’t our fault. We had a car that was good enough to be in the top 10, we paced the race leader, we ran away from the race leader at one point – but was a lap down while doing it. The pace was there, but lady luck wasn’t.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 23 ripKurrent Carlin Chevrolet) – finished 15th : “Firstly, a huge congratulations to the entire Carlin team and the 59 team especially. Conor (Daly) drove an awesome race. Every time I saw him during the race he was going by guys on starts and restarts. I can’t give the 23 crew enough credit for the work they did on the No. 23 ripKurrent Carlin Chevrolet last night to get it ready to race tonight. We fought really hard all night and we were able to finally get our lead lap back. We had a little bit of a miscommunication in pit lane that put us a lap down mid-pack, but overall a really fighting night for the ripKurrent car for Carlin.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (No. 7 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) – finished 16th: “It was like a race with a lot of different faces. First off at the start, I got chopped in Turn 3 and I sort of half-spun the car and managed to stay out of the way of other cars in the wall, so that wasn’t the best start to the race. There was no damage, so we could come in to clean up the grass on the car and get after it again. From then on, we had a really fast car. The Arrow SPM guys did a great job to adjust the car after practice yesterday because we were struggling a bit in traffic yesterday and I think the changes we did for today were really working. The Arrow car was fast out there and we were moving up through the field. Unfortunately on one of the stops, – on the out lap – I had a moment in Turn 3 and made contact with the wall, so that sort of put our day in a bad place and we lost two laps. Still, the guys did a great job to repair the car very quickly. From then on, it was a tough race but again we showed a lot of pace and I don’t think there were a lot of cars out there that were faster than us. It’s a bit like our season: A lot of potential, a lot of pace, but not the results to show for it. Today was disappointing, but we’ll take the positives and move forward.”

MATHEUS LEIST (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet) – finished 17th: “Tough race for us – we got all the yellows at the wrong time. Nothing worked out today for us, but the good thing is that (teammate) Tony (Kanaan) did an awesome job. He’s probably one of the best oval drivers ever and I’m very proud of him today finishing third. That’s a huge accomplishment for the team after such a difficult year. That was the good side of our race and we’ll celebrate it and then focus on next week at Portland.”

GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Mi-Jack Honda) – finished 18th: ““I’m disappointed. Actually, the car wasn’t that bad. We just had a couple of sets of tires that vibrated unbelievably bad. It’s frustrating. As a team we need to get a little bit of luck on our side. The guys are working incredibly hard, but we’re not seeing the fruits of our labor and it’s disappointing. I feel bad for them. Congrats to (teammate) Takuma (Sato) and the No. 30 guys on their win.”

SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 18 SealMaster Honda) – finished 19th: “The No. 18 SealMaster Honda was really on it tonight. It was a perfect weekend and I just couldn’t quite bring the finish. It’s my fault, for sure. We were doing the job on fuel and we were quick enough early on to stay at the front. I got the car down to the apex and it took off. I didn’t expect it. I wasn’t pushing very hard. We were saving fuel. It was really strange. I just hate it for the team. They did such a good job. We had a podium finish in our hands.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) – finished 20th: “It’s a shame for the PNC Bank No. 9 team. The car was overheating for some reason. I think they saw it starting on Lap 1 and it got progressively worse. We stayed out just until the point the engine would fail and came in to try and diagnose the problem. The guys brought the car in to change the radiator. Great job by the whole team getting it fixed and back out on track. We ran the maximum laps we could for points and pulled in after that. It just wasn’t our day today.”

SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) – finished 21st: “I had a good run coming out of Turn 2. Charlie Kimball had gotten past me but was struggling for momentum. He went to the inside going into Turn 3. I thought I was far enough up alongside him to get some respect and get some space, but he turned in and I was there. It’s an unfortunate end to the day; I feel bad for all of the guys. I thought we had a pretty good car and were making good gains towards the front of the field.”

WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet) – finished 22nd: “Yeah, the car was great. The car was really good. I came out on cold tires and just got a little bit out of the groove. And man, it’s like ice. There are so many marbles because they brought the new tire that really sheds the rubber. And, that was going to happen in the race, no matter what. But I guess it’s my bad for getting up there. You just can’t put an inch on that stuff. Man, you just go straight. It’s just ridiculous. It sucks for the guys. We had such a good car. They had to hang out all day. We had a good chance.”

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2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Anaheim 2: Ken Roczen is consistency’s king

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Strength is found not only in outright wins, but also through consistency, which contributed to the rise of Ken Roczen in the SuperMotocross Rankings after Anaheim 2.

Roczen ended the 2022 Supercross season with the knowledge that he urgently needed change, so he declared himself a free agent, signed with Suzuki during the offseason and set upon 2023 with renewed determination. It worked. Roczen is one of three riders in the 450 class with a sweep of the top five and that consistency has given him the lead in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

SuperMotocross Rankings Anaheim 2
Like Babe Ruth pointing to the outfield wall, Ken Roczen pointed his way to the Power Rankings lead. – Feld Motor Sports

This formula rewards riders who compete at the front of the pack at the end of the Mains, in their heats, or in last week’s case, the three motos that make up the Triple Crown. Roczen has improved his overall performance each week with a fifth in Anaheim 1, a fourth in San Diego and his first podium of 2023 in Anaheim 2. Can he keep the trend alive with a first- or second-place finish in Houston?

A fall is all it takes sometimes. Last week, Eli Tomac tumbled hard when he pushed wide on the exit of a turn and jumped on top of a Tuff Blox. He remounted after that incident in Race 3 of the Triple Crown, but could only manage a 13th-place result in the moto. It could have been much worse and resulted in an injury, but coupled with a sixth in the overall standings at Anaheim 2, it pushed him down a spot in the SuperMotocross Ranking.

Along with Roczen (and Chase Sexton), Cooper Webb swept the top five in Supercross’ first three rounds. He is knocking on the door of a win and it won’t take long for him to ascend to the top of the box. Webb has two victories in Houston and each of them came during a championship season.

If there is a more determined rider than Jason Anderson, get out of his way. His path to the front of the pack is not always lined with primroses since he often has to pass multiple riders with whom he has had a run-in during his path, but the SuperMotocross Power Rankings are concerned only with raw results – not intention – and Anaheim 2 was Anderson’s best race of the season. He earned his first top-five and first podium with a second-place finish that was aided by a moto win.

MORE: Triple Crown format shakes up A2’s finishing order

Dylan Ferrandis has also been a model of consistency. Last week his Triple Crown effort of 4-6-5 gave him an overall finish of fifth. That came on the heels of a fourth-place result in the season opener and a sixth in San Diego. With no result worse than sixth this season, the numbers add up quite well.

Sexton’s position just outside the top five this week is entirely attributable to his last-place result in the San Diego heat. The SuperMotocross Rankings looks at the past 45 days, so that will affect him for a while, but if he continues to ride like he did in Anaheim 2, he’s going to climb quickly despite that albatross around his neck.

450 Rankings

This
Week
Driver Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Ken Roczen 84.63 3 2
2. Eli Tomac
[2 Main; 2 Heat wins]
83.25 1 -1
3. Cooper Webb 82.25 2 -1
4. Jason Anderson
[1 Heat win]
80.63 5 1
5. Dylan Ferrandis 78.75 4 -1
6. Chase Sexton
[1 Main; 3 Heat wins]
77.75 9 3
7. Justin Barcia 67.88 6 -1
8. Aaron Plessinger 67.63 8 0
9. Adam Cianciarulo 67.25 7 -2
10. Joey Savatgy 61.00 11 1
10. Marvin Musquin 61.00 12 2
12. Malcolm Stewart
[1 Heat win]
58.75 13 1
13. Christian Craig 56.13 14 1
14. Colt Nichols 56.00 10 -4
15. Dean Wilson 47.50 15 0
16. Tristan Lane 41.00 18 2
17. Grant Harlan 40.67 19 2
18. Justin Hill 40.57 16 -2
19. Logan Karnow 36.50 20 1
20. Alex Ray 36.00 21 1

Supercross Points


The 250 West riders get a couple of weeks off before heading to Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 and several of them need the rest. Tough weeks for Cameron McAdoo and RJ Hampshire forced them to lose ground in the SuperMotocross points to Jett Lawrence at a time that could prove to play mental games.

Lawrence also had his share of issues at Anaheim 2, but overcame early falls in the first two motos and finished no worse than sixth. Considering that he dropped to the tail of the field in Race 2, that was a remarkable accomplishment and he entered the final race with a shot at the overall win. He narrowly missed that mark, but still has not finished worse than second in three rounds. His lead in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings is safe.

Cameron McAdoo rode with injury in all three Triple Crown motos, so his sixth-place finish was a moral victory. Cameron McAdoo, Instagram

McAdoo said it best in an Instagram post this week: “Woke up feeling grateful that I’m relatively healthy after my big mistake during qualifying yesterday. We made the decision that it would be safe for me to race so I did everything I possibly could to get through the night ending up [sixth overall]. We will work on getting healed up in these few weeks off to come back strong for Oakland!”

With results of 8-7-5 in the Triple Crown and his combined sixth-place result, McAdoo lost significant ground to Lawrence in both the points’ standings and our Power formula. The Oakland race is going to be critical if he wants to stay in the championship hunt because the series will have a long break before returning in Seattle for Round 11. No one wants to sit with negative feelings for that long.

Mitchell Oldenburg has quietly amassed some impressive numbers. His name has not been called a lot during broadcasts, but he has not finished worse than seventh in any of the first three rounds. Themes develop during a season and weekend – and for the moment, this one revolves around reliability. Oldenburg finished 5-4-6 in Anaheim 2 which means he has consistently amassed SuperMotocross Power Rankings points.

Stilez Robertson won his first race of the season in Moto 2 of the Triple Crown. Coupled with a third-place finish in the final race, he leapfrogged Hampshire and Enzo Lopes, both of whom had disappointing outings. He stands fifth in the points’ standing mostly due to a ninth-place finish in the season opener, but each race has been progressively better and that is a good sign.

Sometimes, all it takes is a taste of success. Prior to Anaheim 2, Levi Kitchen’s best Supercross finish was a seventh earned in this year’s season opener. He scored a ninth at Minneapolis last year, but that was not enough to put him on the radar. This early in the season, one strong run can sway the SuperMotocross Power Ranking significantly, but Robertson has earned his way into the top five. More importantly, he’s going to be the object of interest when the West series returns to Oakland.

Next week the 250 East riders mount up in Houston, Texas before they head to Tampa, Florida. The Power Rankings will combine the two divisions, so the riders below are likely to shift dramatically.

250 Rankings

This
Week
Driver Power
Avg.
Last
Week
Diff.
1. Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat wins]
89.13 1 0
2. Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
77.63 3 1
3. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 77.00 5 2
4. Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat win]
76.75 6 2
5. Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main win]
73.75 12 7
6. RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat wins]
70.00 2 -4
7. Max Vohland – W 69.29 8 1
8. Derek Kelley – W 63.75 10 2
9. Enzo Lopes – W 63.25 4 -5
10. Pierce Brown – W 61.29 13 3
11. Phil Nicoletti – W 59.25 7 -4
12. Dylan Walsh – W 56.00 9 -3
13. Cole Thompson – W 51.00 11 -2
14. Robbie Wageman – W 50.75 15 1
15. Anthony Rodriguez – W 49.00 14 -1
16. Ty Masterpool – W 47.50 16 0
17. Kaeden Amerine – W 47.50 16 -1
18. Dominique Thury – W 47.00 18 0
19. Austin Forkner – W 43.00 20 1
20. Derek Drake – W 42.33 21 1

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