Dale Jr., Newgarden see bright future for IndyCar-NASCAR crossovers


The first time that the country’s top two racing circuits will share a track on the same race weekend will be absent any car swaps or even much driver interaction at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The reigning IndyCar champion, though, has another track picked out for his NASCAR debut.

“Man you tell me I can run a stock car under the lights at Bristol (Motor Speedway), I’m there,” Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden said on NBC Sports’ latest Countdown to Crossover conversation (video above). “Let’s go. You don’t have to give me practice. I’d take that opportunity any day.

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“I want to drive a stock car so bad. I’d love the challenge of it. I’d love to understand what those guys experience. Doesn’t matter where, but if I had a choice, Bristol would be my spot.”

With the NTT IndyCar Series and NASCAR Cup Series racing on consecutive days this weekend at IMS (the former on the road course; the latter on the oval, with both races on NBC), the buzz that began last year has been rekindled about more crossover events in the future — especially because this weekend won’t seem a full and proper inaugural.

Given team member restrictions and social distancing because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, IndyCar and NASCAR drivers essentially will be precluded from being on site together (and their fan bases also won’t intermingle because the track’s grandstands are closed).

But there is momentum building for the Indy doubleheader weekend becoming an annual event and perhaps allowing for stars running in multiple series (2018 Indianapolis 500 winner Will Power said Wednesday he wants to run IndyCar, Xfinity and Cup in the same weekend).

It’s possible that crossovers also could become a happening at other tracks. NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he has gotten calls from Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti about running an Xfinity road course race with his JR Motorsports team, and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will test a Dallara-Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing next week at IMS with an eye on racing IndyCar road courses next year.

Two-time IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden made laps Sept. 27 on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

Some of the credit for the push should go to Newgarden, who has been long outspoken about his love of NASCAR and ran his Dallara-Chevrolet on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval during the NASCAR race weekend last September (a week after he won the 2019 championship).

Newgarden said it “created a lot of positive impact of the potential we could have these two great championships competing together one day. And now with Roger acquiring the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and everyone collaborating in this unique time of the world, it’s created a perfect opportunity for bringing us together.”

“It was a treat just to see Josef out there,” Earnhardt said in the Countdown to Crossover feature. “It got everyone’s mind running in the right directions. There’s been this conversation about bringing the two championships together at the same venue.

“These are unique times that created this opportunity. I felt like we want to go and be fans of their sport. We know they’re fans of ours. I know those guys would love to get an opportunity to drive stock cars. Jimmie’s testing an IndyCar and he’s talked and had conversations about running in that series potentially in the future. So this is opening up a lot of possibilities and opportunity not only for the two series to join together at the racetrack but also the drivers to move around try new things.”

Josef Newgarden speaks to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway before making laps on the track’s road course last September (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

Newgarden would like to see more moonlighting in the future because “a lot of these guys are capable of this. This used to be a lot more normal 50 to 60 years ago to see this crossover action. I think Dale could probably get into one of these things and rip around a speedway just fine. He proved he could do that in iRacing. I think he would transfer pretty good in reality. You really have a lot of great crossover.

“I text guys like Jimmie and Kyle Busch. They love what we have going on, they’re really interested in it. All the IndyCar guys, we are glued to the NASCAR stuff, too, we love watching them, it’s an amazing sport and everyone does such great job over there. We’re always eyes wide open trying to learn from each other.”

Earnhardt said he would test with an IndyCar team if provided the chance.

“You definitely want to take that opportunity to try the car out and see what it’s all about,” he said. “It’s going to be something completely unfamiliar and fun but just having that knowledge of what those cars feel like, how they respond would give you another perspective, especially if we ended up back on the pit box at Indy sometime for the 500 with (Mike) Tirico.

“I’ll have more information and understanding of what those drivers are dealing with. There’s a lot of buttons and switches and tools for IndyCar drivers to have fun with and adjust and that in itself would be an education.”

For the full Countdown to Crossover discussion with Earnhardt, Newgarden and Leigh Diffey, watch the video above or click here.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston


Eli Tomac led all 23 laps of the Monster Energy Supercross race at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas and the results show he now has three wins in the season and is one shy of tying Ricky Carmichael’s 48 for third on the all-time list. With this win, he takes a seven point lead in the standings with 12 rounds remaining.

For Tomac at Houston, it was literally a tale of two races. Both his heat and the main started the same with Tomac grabbing the holeshot, but he was passed quickly by Chase Sexton in the heat. Tomac faded quickly after getting passed and was trailing by almost eight seconds at the checkered flag, which caused him to retreat to the hauler and reassess his lines. Without making any adjustments to the bike, Tomac entered the Main with a new attitude, and simply rode better.

Supercross Results Houston
Chase Sexton played it safe in the sand, but he was aggressive in every other turn. – Feld Motor Sports

Sexton had so great a lead in his heat that one could not even use the cliche that he left Tomac in his dust. By the time the rider with the No. 1 plate crossed the same real estate as the No. 23, the dust was well settled. Sexton had a modest start on the initial gate drop and ended Lap 1 in fourth. He worked his way past Aaron Plessinger on Lap 3 and got around Jason Anderson three laps later. Sexton was able to catch Tomac and pressure him, but he picked a safe, i.e. slow line through the sand section and could never get alongside his rival.

RESULTS: Click here for 450 Results; Click here for full 250 East Main Results

After starting the season with back-to-back seventh-place finishes, Anderson now has a pair of podiums. He won his heat and was easily one of the top three riders in the field, ultimately finishing behind the riders who finished 1-2 in the other preliminary. Anderson was subdued on the podium – happy he was there, but disappointed he has not yet found a way around the riders he is chasing in the points.

In the early stages of the race, Plessinger appeared to have a bike capable of winning. He pressured Tomac on the first two laps and was setting up the pass just as a red flag waved for an injury to Dylan Ferrandis that brought out a red flag. He lost second to Anderson on the restart and eventually slipped to fourth to score his first top-five of the season.

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

Cooper Webb rounded out the top five. Along with Sexton, he is now one of just two riders with a sweep of that mark in 2023, but with Tomac’s three wins, he is beginning to slip in the points. Webb sits third in the standings, 12 points behind the leader.

Ken Roczen entered the race as the third rider with a sweep of the top five and progressively better results in the first three races of 2023. Had the pattern held, he would have finished at least second, but he struggled for most of the night, finishing fifth in his heat and eighth in the Main. There may have been extenuating circumstances, however. Ferrandis’ injury was suffered when he landed on the back of Roczen’s bike and potentially damaged the No. 94 Suzuki.

Click here for 450 Main results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points | Lap Chart

The 250 East division made their 2023 debut in Houston, but the name atop the board was familiar. Hunter Lawrence joined his brother Jett Lawrence as the early points’ leader in their respective divisions, but it didn’t come without a little anxiety.

Riding behind Supercross newbie Tom Vialle on the second lap, Lawrence was forced to take evasive action when the leader pitched his bike sideways to scrub speed over a jump. Lawrence veered left and landed off course, but he cleared the Tuff Blox and kept his bike straight. Lawrence made the pass for the lead on Lap 18 and never relinquished it.

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

In his first attempt on a 250, Max Anstie ascended to the podium. – Feld Motor Sports

England’s Max Anstie made the move from 450s to 250s this year after scoring a best result of 11th on the big bike at Anaheim 2 last year. It didn’t take anytime at all to find the front for Anstie, who finished second in both his heat and main.

It has been a while since Jordon Smith stood on the podium: February 23, 2019 to be exact when he finished that well in Detroit. A series of injuries kept him off the bike for much of 2020 and 2021, but he’s proving to be a factor when he’s healthy.

Click here for 250 Main results | 250 East Rider Points | Combined Rider Points | Lap Chart

There was a lot of hype surrounding the debut of Haiden Deegan in the 250 class and he proved it was merited. He finished fourth in his heat and main. He was as far down as ninth at one point in the feature before slowly picking off riders on his way to the front.

Jeremy Martin finished fifth and now has a streak of three consecutive top-fives to his credit stretching back to last year. Unfortunately, his pair of strong runs in 2022 were interrupted by injury.

Making impressive debuts in the 250 division, Vialle recovered from a fall to finish seventh, Chance Hymas finished eighth, and Talon Hawkins just missed the top 10 with an 11th.

2023 Results

Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Chase Sexton falls
Week 1: Eli Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s