Supercross: Cooper Webb wins Round 12; Eli Tomac second

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Defending series champion Cooper Webb kept his title defense hopes alive in the first Monster Energy AMA Supercross event held on a Wednesday night.

Webb passed Zach Osborne with 5 minutes remaining in the 450 main event and led the final seven laps to win Round 12 at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With five races remaining, Webb remains ranked third but cut the gap to 29 points behind championship leader Eli Tomac, who took second from Osborne (third) late in the race.

RESULTS, POINTS: Where everyone finished in Round 12

It was the ninth career victory and second of the season for Webb, as well as the KTM rider’s first since a hard crash on the concrete in Arlington, Texas in February.

“We’ll see at the end of the year,” Webb told NBCSN when asked if he was back in the title fight. “But it was a great night overall. To get second off the start. Zach was really riding well at the beginning. I was just trying to put in some good laps. I could see Eli coming to catch us and knew I needed to get around him and try to break away.

“It was a tough race. Track conditions were tricky, you had to be patient. The whoops were tough. I just committed to my line, and it played out pretty well.  Great night to get a win. These are not easily gained, especially with the top guys up here tonight. So I want to just soak it in, got five more (races this year).”

The runner-up finish allowed Tomac, who won Round 11, to extend his lead to 13 points over Ken Roczen, who finished fifth.

“I was fighting all I could there,” Tomac told NBCSN. “Tonight it was who was the man on the inside. Cooper got us there (at the start). I got a little bit shuffled back the first lap and then started moving forward.

“Other than that, Zach and Cooper had the pace tonight. So I did everything I could. Got close with two (laps) to go, made one mistake at end of rhythm section, and that was it. I lost all my hope (of a win) there. Good night. Kind of a wash on points for us. Keep trucking along.”

Osborne nabbed his second career podium after taking the holeshot and leading the first 20 laps.

“I’m happy but also a little disappointed to lead that long and let it get away there at the end,” he said. “Nice night here in Salt Lake. Looking forward to being here the next couple of weeks. It’s been an amazing trip so far.”

In the 250 East main event, Shane McElrath scored his second consecutive victory since Supercross’ return and moved into a tie with Chase Sexton for the points lead with five races remaining.

After finishing ahead of Colt Nichols and Jeremy Martin, McElrath celebrated by waving to the nonexistent crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium (where the grandstands will remain empty over the final seven rounds of 2020).

“We’ve got to make the fans feel like they’re here,” McElrath, who led 14 of 20 laps, told NBCSN. “We had a tough day all around. This track is tough but we did a lot of praying and focusing, and it was nice to come out like that.”

Sexton finished fourth, rebounding after falling on the first lap and dropping to 17th.

“I just washed the front,” he told NBCSN after sliding into a tie with McElrath at 140 points. “Yeah, that was about it. Came from pretty much dead last. We’re going to have to be better and get ready for Sunday.”

FIVE THINGS TO WATCHBurning issues as Supercross restarts

NEXT: Here are the details for the remaining five rounds:

  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).

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.