Mazda drivers laugh off sandbagging charges at Rolex 24: ‘All drivers are kind of whiny’


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Mazda drivers scoffed at allegations that they were sandbagging last week during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona test session.

“At the end of the day, it makes good headlines,” Harry Tincknell said Thursday during a Zoom news conference at Daytona International Speedway. “And I think when some teams and drivers win, it’s talent, and when they don’t win, it’s (Balance of Performance). That’s what I have to say on it.”

But in this most recent instance of manufacturer jousting, it was Motul 100 qualifying race winners Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani who leveled the accusations that their rivals weren’t trying as hard.

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HOW AND WHEN TO WATCH THE ROLEX 24: Schedule, TV info, start times, entry lists, more

Despite Cadillacs dominating much of the results on the opening weekend, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series officials announced Wednesday no Rolex 24 tweaks in DPi. Under its Balance of Performance policy, IMSA officials can enforce parity by restricting teams via aerodynamic, horsepower and weight adjustment.

Mazda’s No. 55 trio of Tincknell, Jonathan Bomarito and Oliver Jarvis all pointed to the results of Thursday morning’s practice – where Cadillac, Mazda and Acura were separated by less than 0.2 seconds among the top four lap times – as evidence that the field already was even.

“All drivers are kind of whiny when it comes to that,” Bomarito said. “I think the fact there were no changes, they feel the BoP is very close, and I think you’ll see that in the 24 Hours. There’s going to be great racing across all three brands that represent the DPi class, and I think you saw that at Sebring and continue to see it at this race.”

Mazda won the Twelve Hours of Sebring season finale last November, leading a top four that featured all three manufacturers.

This is my fifth Daytona, and every year, you hear the same comments after qualifying,” Jarvis said. “This is nothing new. We’ve heard it all before. It’s a shame that BoP becomes a topic, and drivers do put that out in the press, but overall, I think looking at practice this morning, it’s extremely close, and we’re only really going to get a feeling when we get into the race, and even then, it’s going to change depending on the conditions. Certainly different cars work at different temperatures.

A Mazda team member works on the No. 55 co-driven by Oliver Jarvis, Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito (IMSA).

“I think IMSA have done a really good job, even over the last year or so, it’s been some fabulous racing. Really close. But until we really get into sort of halfway through the race, we’re just not going to know how close it really is.”

Renger van der Zande, who led Thursday morning’s practice, said there was some validity to the comments of Derani and Nasr. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver noted that Mazda was dominant in qualifying at the 2020 Rolex 24 and is better positioned to disguise its speed in downsizing from two to one entry. There are three Cadillacs in the field.

“There’s always one Cadillac who starts to push,” van der Zande told NBC Sports in a Wednesday interview. “There are a few teams running that car, and there’s no communication between those teams, so if we slow down, there’s always another team who speeds up, and that basically gives the car for us to speed up as well because we’re not holding back.

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“So everybody is pushing with the Cadillac, but if you’re the only Mazda in the field, you can play the game as hard as you can, and it looks like well, I wouldn’t say they are playing the game to the maximum, but you just have to look at last year’s lap times where they were on pole with a big margin and all that, and this year’s lap times. I don’t think anybody got slower, so that’s how I look at it.

“I think Nasr is right. That’s the feeling you get, and he spoke from the heart and said, ‘Well, this is what we think and what’s going to happen,’ and the only thing I want is to have a fair BoP so we can have a fair fight. But also Penske played the BoP for a long time, and the year before, it was very clear how they played it. So within Acura they probably know how to do that. It’s obviously two teams now, so maybe less communication between them, but on the other hand they will cooperate.

“It’s always this BoP topic isn’t it? I really hate talking about it, but it’s a big part of what we do, because it really shows at the end who is going to be in the fastest car, and if they play the BoP and have the fastest car, it wouldn’t be so nice.”

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

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

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

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

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

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

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

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

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

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

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

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 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