Simon Pagenaud wins IndyCar iRacing at Michigan; Dale Jr. third


VIRTUAL BROOKLYN, Mich. — Simon Pagenaud played the fuel strategy perfectly, winning the IndyCar iRacing Challenge event Saturday at Michigan International Speedway.

The 2019 Indianapolis 500 winner took the lead with four laps remaining in the Chevrolet 275 when Zach Veach ran out of fuel.

Scott McLaughlin, who retained the unofficial points lead, finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Graham Rahal and Will Power, who notched his third top five in the series.

Pagenaud pitted his No. 22 Dallara- Chevrolet on Lap 46 of 85, which put him within the fuel window to take the checkered flag on the 2-mile oval as several contenders such as Sage Karam and Veach had to give up the lead without enough fuel.

“All the credit goes to (strategist) Ben Bretzman and also my virtual team that’s right behind me,” Pagenaud told the IndyCar on NBC broadcast booth. “We worked hard to understand this kind of racing. Having teammates, we work together to understand fuel consumption and strategies. It’s a pleasure to bring the DXC car to victory lane this year!”

It was the second consecutive 1-2 finish for Team Penske, which had swept Barber Motorsports Park’s top two spots with McLaughlin and Power last week.

“It really worked out good for saving fuel and managed to pass Dale Jr. with a few laps to go,” McLaughlin, who was using NASCAR spotter T.J. Majors, said of his second at Michigan. “I never thought I’d say that, but it was a lot of fun racing him and really proud of putting the Snap-On car on the podium.”

Pagenaud, who wore his real-life firesuit while in the sim rig and had champagne ready afterward, said the race was “very, very stressful. It’s the most stressful I’ve been in a race car, quite frankly. There’s a lot going on in the headset. I have two people talking, plus the spotter.”

The first five laps of the race were run under a yellow flag after a massive pileup involving at least 10 cars occurred just after the initial green and effectively eliminated several drivers on the first lap.

Pagenaud, who qualified toward the rear, also got a piece of the accident but was able to continue.

“We were just saving fuel trying to stay out of trouble,” the Team Penske driver said. “At the start of the race, we got run into. The goal was to stay out of the back. We didn’t have the pace in qualifying. I must have done something wrong with my lane, and we qualified toward the back. We decided to go for Option B, which is saving fuel and conserving tires.”

Earnhardt, who was making his debut in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, also was damaged in the crash, but the NASCAR on NBC analyst was able to rebound in his No. 3 Chevrolet.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Earnhardt, who capped off a week that also included a NASCAR Hall of Fame nomination. “We got a little damage in that wreck on the front straightaway and saved our quick fix, but we never ended up using it. I had a real bad push in the car, so I couldn’t really run with the lead pack, but it was fun.”

Earnhardt told IndyCar on NBC host Leigh Diffey he wants to race again if there’s another oval in the IndyCar iRacing Challenge, which has three races remaining. Michigan marked the first oval, and the April 11 race will be a “random draw” track that hasn’t been announced.

“I really appreciated the invite,” Earnhardt said. “I need to do a better accounting of myself as far as showing pure speed. Just wasn’t able to show it today.

“I’d love the opportunity. Plus, just maybe it might be Daytona or Indy. I never imagined racing the real drivers in IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What a great trip that would be if I could pull that off in the next couple of weeks.”

Felix Rosenqvist (bottom) crashes with Ed Carpenter (top) during the IndyCar iRacing Challenge Chevrolet 275 at virtual Michigan International Speedway (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).

After the first yellow, there were no more cautions as iRacing officials told drivers the remainder of the event would remain green because of time constraints.

“What that did was took the leaders out of it and kind of put it into the hands of those who were collected in the first accident,” Rahal said. “But that’s life. We came up a little short.”

Scott Dixon, Oliver Askew, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta were among those who fell out within the first 25 laps, and Pato O’Ward also fell several laps down because of Internet connection problems.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s