Fernando Alonso confirms this will be his last Indy 500 for at least two years

Fernando Alonso Indy future
RED TANNEAU/AFP via Getty Images
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After attempting the Indy 500 in three of four years, Aug. 23 will mark the last trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway by Fernando Alonso for at least the next two years.

Alonso confirmed Tuesday that a full-time return to Renault next season will preclude the Indianapolis 500 from his schedule for 2021-22.

Though there won’t be an F1 race that falls on the Indy 500 next year – the Monaco Grand Prix will take place a week earlier than the Brickyard on May 23, 2021 – Alonso still would miss qualifying, and he said his deal with Renault wouldn’t allow for a hall pass as McLaren did in 2017.

INDY 500 PRACTICE: Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown recently had left open the possibility of Alonso returning in the 2021 Indy 500, but the driver quashed any hope Tuesday.

“I think I approach the (Indy 500) knowing the next two years is going to be impossible to come,” Alonso, who signed with Renault in July, said during a Zoom media availability. “I will have to miss qualifying weekend if I wanted to do so. I will not be any more with McLaren next year in F1. That will not work either. I know at least for two years, I will not be here.

“This is the way it is at the moment. I’m here ready to enjoy the event, ready to give my best, and help the team as much as I can. Let’s see in the future what are the possibilities. If you eventually win one day the race, maybe that opens the possibility for different things.”

After failing to qualify for the Indy 500 last year, Alonso is guaranteed to make this year’s event (which will have 33 entrants to fill its field exactly), and he should have a much better shot at victory given the early season success of Arrow McLaren SP teammates Pato O’Ward, 21, and Oliver Askew, 24.

O’Ward, who is in his first full season in NTT IndyCar Series, nearly won the July 12 race at Road America, and Askew, a rookie, finished third July 17 at Iowa Speedway.

“I was very impressed, definitely,” Alonso, 39, said about the team, which spent the past few days getting him comfortable at its Indianapolis shop after his arrival in the United States last week. “I think I was watching all the races from TV with attention because I knew that the test day we had in April was canceled. The simulator days that we had programmed were canceled. I knew it was very limited time for me on the car before the 500. I wanted to know how the team was performing every weekend.

“It was very impressive what both did. I knew that they are very talented, very brave. It is going to be a huge boost for the team to have these two young drivers, talented drivers, bringing fresh ideas, fresh in terms of car performance, and I’m looking forward to work with everybody.”

Though he led 27 laps before finishing 24th because of an engine failure in his 2017 Indy 500 debut, Alonso downplayed his chances Tuesday and noted he was “aware of maybe not being among the favorites because we lack the experience.”

He also said it was “going to be a shock on race day” to compete without fans, whom he called “the magic part of the 500.

“The fans around the garages, the interaction you have with them,” he said. “I will miss a lot that part, especially the races here in the U.S. They are all very special. Racing at Daytona, Sebring, there is always this close contact with the fans. That will be really missed.

“Probably my life outside the car will be a little bit easier so I don’t need to run away. Sometimes I can go to the bathroom with no phone cameras pointed at me. Apart of that, I think when you close the visor and you are racing, it will be the same pressure. Being in this huge place with these huge grandstands, not having a full, packed grandstand on Sunday is going to be a little bit difficult. But we will put a good show on television where we will make somehow big thanks to the fans and celebrate with them even on a distance.”

Along with marking Alonso’s last Indy 500 for a while, the Aug. 23 race (1 p.m. ET on NBC; green flag 2:30 p.m.) also will be the two-time Formula One champion’s last major event this year.

After racing nonstop last year (winning the Rolex 24 and 24 Hours of Le Mans) and starting this year with the Dakar Rally, Alonso is slowing down to acclimate for re-entry into F1. Aside from simulator work and attending a few F1 races with Renault, it’ll be a “quite easy second part of the year.

“Last year, it was too much,” Alonso said. “It was too active. I had the full attack season. (In) 2020 I wanted to relax a little bit. The second part of the season, just relax, charge the batteries. Coming back to F1, I knew it could be very demanding.”

Chase Sexton wins Triple Crown Anaheim 2 Supercross: Levi Kitchen unseats Jett Lawrence in 250s

Supercross Anaheim 2
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Chase Sexton won two of the three races in the Monster Energy Supercross Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, which was enough to overcome a fifth-place finish in Race 2 and give him the overall victory. It was the second Supercross win of his career.

“Super big night for me,” Sexton told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “After last weekend with that being a struggle, I just need to come out here and stop the bleeding a little bit and I did that tonight.”

Sexton suffered a crash on Lap 1 of his heat, sending him into Last Chance Qualifier. The bad gate pick put him in a difficult position to start the race and he was able to climb to only fifth at the checkers.

At Anaheim 2, three riders entered the final race of the Triple Crown in a winner-take-all scenario. Sexton, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac each had a shot at victory. It raised the intensity level for all riders in an evening that featured a lot of comers and goers.

Jason Anderson took the early lead in Race 3, which set him up for the overall victory. Sexton stalked and passed him midway through the race and then a minor mistake late allowed Webb to slip around as well. Anderson’s 5-1-3 gave him second overall.

“I had a tough couple of rounds, getting off that Anaheim 1 crash and then last week weekend I fumbled a little bit, but I’m excited to get back on the box and start moving forward,” Anderson told Jason Thomas.

Anderson finished seventh in the first two rounds of 2023.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Ken Roczen was the model of consistency in the opening rounds and at Anaheim 2. In three races so far this year, he’s gotten progressively better each time with a fifth in A1, a fourth last week in San Deigo and a third this week.

With results of 2-3-4, he earned his first podium of the season, which lands him fourth in the standings.

“This was hard earned,” Roczen said after the race. “I completely botched the start and then to have to work my way up. I only happen on the very last lap to step up here on the podium.”

Webb’s solid second-place finish in the third race allowed him to leapfrog several riders and finish fourth overall, but a seventh in Race 1 kept him off the podium. He improved in each race in Anaheim, however, with a 7-4-2.

With a 4-6-5, Dylan Ferrandis rounded out the top five.

The intensity of the race was a little too much for Tomac.

While battling side-by-side with Webb in Race 3 at the one-third mark, Tomac jumped wide and crashed hard. He fell to 14th, doing some damage to his bike in the process. He advanced only one position in that race to 13th. His first two races, a third and second, were strong enough to give him sixth overall. He retains the points lead, but it has shrunk to a gap of only four over Sexton and Webb.

Malcolm Stewart injured late in the week and was not able to mount.


Levi Kitchen became the first rider to unseat Jett Lawrence in the Triple Crown format at Anaheim 2 and won the overall with consistency. In his three races, Kitchen finished 4-2-2 to narrowly edge the winner of the first two races.

“This whole day; this is unbelievable. I took a few good slams in practice and I was down on myself,” Kitchen told NBC Sports Jason Thomas afterward. “The first moto I got a good start and got shuffled back, then I knew I just needed to be consistent.”

Jett Lawrence saved his best for last – which wasn’t hard given the struggles he experienced in the first two races.

Despite those problems, he entered Race 3 of the Triple Crown three points behind Kitchen after suffering a pair of disappointing races by his personal measuring stick. In the first and second 250 races of the night, Lawrence hit the ground. He dropped to the final rider in the running order in Race 2 with a Lap 1 fall. But in both races, he was able to overcome his mistake and close the gap so that he had a chance to take his first Triple Crown win of his career.

Click here for full 250 West Main Results

Lawrence rode to third in Race 1 and sixth in Race 2. In the final race of the night, Lawrence did all he could. He earned the holeshot, but when Kitchen fell in behind him, Lawrence’s fate was sealed. His 3-6-1 tied him in points with Stilez Robertson, but the tiebreaker goes to the final round and his win secured second-place.

“I can definitely say Triple Crowns are not my thing,” Lawrence told NBC Sports Will Christien. “We have one more to try and fix this, so hopefully we can get that done.”

Lawrence will move into the 450 class for the Lucas Oil Motocross outdoor season and his 250 record book will be closed.

The best news for Lawrence is the other riders who entered this round in the top three had a worse night, so Lawrence leaves Anaheim with a 16-point gap on Cameron McAdoo and 17 over RJ Hampshire.

Roberston finished 6-1-3 to take the final step of the podium.

“Getting that win in the second Main meant a lot,” Roberston told Thomas. “I wish I could have done a little better in the third one, but we’re still up here on the box.”

Mitchell Oldenburg used consistency to earn fourth in the overall. He finished 5-4-6.

After missing the Main last week in San Diego, Max Vohland finished 7-8-4 to round out the top five.

RJ Hampshire set himself up as the early favorite with his Race 1 win. In Race 2, it all fell apart. He fell in the sand section and damaged his bike, finishing last in that race. The final event of the night for the 250s provided only a 13th-place finish, leaving Hampshire deep in the points.

Cameron McAdoo hard crash in qualification, which was scary news for a team that has seen three of their riders sidelined with injury. McAdoo was never quite able to get his rhythm with an 8-7-5.

2023 Race Recaps

San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Anaheim 2 coverage

Power Rankings Week 2
SuperMotocross tightens playoff schedule
Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence go two-for-two in San Diego
Results and points after San Diego
Seth Hammaker to miss 250 E season opener with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner with injury
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX