Cooper Webb wins second race in Supercross Round 7; Jett Lawrence also doubles


Cooper Webb’s win in Round 7 of the Monster Energy Supercross season felt a lot different than his first of the season.

When Webb won his first race of 2021, he did so by stalking Ken Roczen and upsetting him with a last-lap pass. Saturday night in Orlando, Florida, Webb led 22 of 25 laps and maintained a solid advantage.

The two experiences were vastly different.

“These last two (races) have been great,” Webb said on NBCSN from the top of the podium. “Last week, we were close like that, and this one was a great race. I got a good start. I had a lot of good speed at the beginning of the race. Made some good passes right away; got in the lead. The track broke down a lot especially from the beginning laps. I felt really good in the whoops and then they went away.”

Webb finished second to Roczen in last week’s finale to the three-race Indianapolis residency. It was his fifth consecutive finish of fourth or better after getting off to a slow start in the season opener.

“I haven’t led like that in a while,” Webb said. “It’s definitely different when you’re leading the majority of the main event. So I kind of had to get used to that. Made a few mistakes those last few and Kenny caught up, but I was able to get it done.”

Webb was able to shave a little bit from Roczen’s championship lead. Roczen currently holds a 13-point advantage over the field, but it is important to start taking small bites out of his lead with 10 races remaining.

“I feel like we needed to stop that momentum that Ken has,” Webb said.

POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Round 7 in Supercross

Despite giving up three points, Roczen was happy with his runner-up finish.

The same can be said of his season so far. The current points leader is coming off a three-race winning streak. Equally impressive, Roczen has finished first or second in all but one race this season. He was fifth in the second of three Houston races.

“About midrace I kind of lost touch a little bit,” Roczen said. “After that we kind of yo-yoed. I reeled him in a little bit at the end, but I had a couple of close calls in the whoops and just got kicked a little weird; and almost went down. I simply wasn’t fast enough to get back on and make a pass.”

Zach Osborne grabbed his first holeshot of the season and led early. He fell to fourth quickly but was able to keep the leaders in sight. When Justin Barcia stumbled, he was in a position to pounce and score his first podium of the year.

But it was Barcia that had the save of the race. In the closing laps, he bobbled in the whoops and dismounted his GasGas bike at full speed. Barcia ran alongside the bike through the next jump and was able to regain his seat without crashing. That was enough to stall his momentum and relegate him to fourth.

After winning the season opener, Barcia wanted to ensure he was not a one-trick pony. He now has four top-fives in seven rounds of the Supercross season.

It was another bad start for defending series champion Eli Tomac, which preceded another spirited charge through the field. Tomac rebounded to finish fifth at the end of Supercross Round 7 and trails Roczen by 29 points. Tomac scored a win in his heat over Shane McElrath, who was making his 450 debut after starting the year with an injury.

McElrath led his heat early and finished second. He started the main event in ninth but faded to 17th at the end.

A rookie season is concerned with building speed and education. Jett Lawrence has the first and rapidly is earning the second.

Last year an injury early in what should have been his freshman campaign sidelined him for most of the season. That almost happened again in the second Indy race when he crashed three times before ultimately taking that night’s main event off. He nursed his shoulder and was back up to speed for the first of two Orlando shows.

Lawrence won his first 250 East race in the second Houston race, and that made him hungry for more. He finally sated that appetite for the second time Saturday night with the Round 7 win.

“I finally got my start sorted and it was just a good ride,” Lawrence said after the race. “I had no idea where Colt (Nichols) was and halfway through I saw a Star Racing helmet (across the track). I didn’t know if it was Christian (Craig)’s or Colt’s and I was like, ‘Oh! Did he go down?’ and I started to relax a bit – but then I heard the Star bike right behind and thought I’d better get going again.”

In fact Nichols had nearly crashed halfway through the event.

“No real decisions really,” Nichols said after the incident. “It was just get back on the horse and go. I had a pretty good moment on that triple. I was just trying to do everything I could to catch Jett. He had a few seconds. He was definitely better than me tonight on this track.”

It was important for Nichols to maintain his mount after falling in Round 6 and allowing teammate Craig to close the gap.

Saturday night in Orlando, it was Craig’s turn to experience trouble.

On Lap 1 of his heat, Craig crashed hard and injured his right hand. He failed to finish that race and was forced into the Last Chance Qualifier, which he handily won by riding a safe race without any risk. In the main event, he finished a distant third to Lawrence and Nichols but managed to salvage what might have been a disastrous night.

“I’ve never had a day like this when I had to push through and injury – and I’m in a title chase so there is no giving up,” Craig said. “When I got out there in the Main event my adrenaline kicked in, and the pain went away.

“I’m just happy and glad to be up here. Salvaged points; only lost a couple. We got a big break. I can heal up and just be ready for Salt Lake.”

Craig finished third.

Still having a career-defining season, Jo Shimoda finished fourth and kept a perfect streak of top fives alive. With one race remaining, Shimoda is 28 points behind Nichols, so it will be a two-man race in the finale at Salt Lake City.

Nichols and Craig will have to wait more than two months for that final showdown, however, as the 250 West riders take center stage beginning next Saturday.

ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time

ROUND 2, HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds, wins after Round 1 disappointment

ROUND 3, HOUSTON: Cooper Webb wins, Ken Roczen denied revenge

ROUND 4, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it four winners in four races

ROUND 5, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen goes back to back for first time since 2017 injury

ROUND 6, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen is perfect in Indy for third straight win

Winner Josef Newgarden earns $3.666 million from a record Indy 500 purse of $17 million


INDIANAPOLIS — The first Indy 500 victory for Josef Newgarden also was the richest in race history from a record 2023 purse of just more than $17 million.

The two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, who continued his celebration Monday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway earned $3.666 million for winning the 107th running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

The purse and winner’s share both are the largest in the history of the Indianapolis 500.

It’s the second consecutive year that the Indy 500 purse set a record after the 2022 Indy 500 became the first to crack the $16 million mark (nearly doubling the 2021 purse that offered a purse of $8,854,565 after a crowd limited to 135,000 because of the COVID-19 pandemic).

The average payout for IndyCar drivers was $500,600 (exceeding last year’s average of $485,000).

Indianapolis Motor Speedway owner Roger Penske, whose team also fields Newgarden’s No. 2 Dallara-Chevrolet, had made raising purses a priority since buying the track in 2020. But Penske but was unable to post big money purses until the race returned to full capacity grandstands last year.

The largest Indy 500 purse before this year was $14.4 million for the 2008 Indy 500 won by Scott Dixon (whose share was $2,988,065). Ericsson’s haul made him the second Indy 500 winner to top $3 million (2009 winner Helio Castroneves won $3,048,005.

Runner-up Marcus Ericsson won $1.043 million after falling short by 0.0974 seconds in the fourth-closest finish in Indy 500 history.

The 107th Indy 500 drew a crowd of at least 330,000 that was the largest since the sellout for the 100th running in 2016, and the second-largest in more than two decades, according to track officials.

“This is the greatest race in the world, and it was an especially monumental Month of May featuring packed grandstands and intense on-track action,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said in a release. “Now, we have the best end card possible for the 107th Running of the Indianapolis 500: a record-breaking purse for the history books.”

Benjamin Pedersen was named the Indy 500 rookie of the year, earning a $50,000 bonus.

The race’s purse is determined through contingency and special awards from IMS and IndyCar. The awards were presented Monday night in the annual Indy 500 Victory Celebration at the JW Marriott in downtown Indianapolis.

The payouts for the 107th Indy 500:

1. Josef Newgarden, $3,666,000
2. Marcus Ericsson, $1,043,000
3. Santino Ferrucci, $481,800
4. Alex Palou, $801,500
5. Alexander Rossi, $574,000
6. Scott Dixon, $582,000
7. Takuma Sato, $217,300
8. Conor Daly, $512,000
9. Colton Herta, $506,500
10. Rinus VeeKay, $556,500
11. Ryan Hunter‐Reay, $145,500
12. Callum Ilott, $495,500
13. Devlin DeFrancesco, $482,000
14. Scott McLaughlin, $485,000
15. Helio Castroneves, $481,500
16. Tony Kanaan, $105,000
17. Marco Andretti, $102,000
18. Jack Harvey, $472,000
19. Christian Lundgaard, $467,500
20. Ed Carpenter, $102,000
21. Benjamin Pedersen (R), $215,300
22. Graham Rahal, $565,500*
23. Will Power, $488,000
24. Pato O’Ward, $516,500
25. Simon Pagenaud, $465,500
26. Agustín Canapino (R), $156,300
27. Felix Rosenqvist, $278,300
28. Kyle Kirkwood, $465,500
29. David Malukas, $462,000
30. Romain Grosjean, $462,000
31. Sting Ray Robb (R), $463,000
32. RC Enerson (R), $103,000
33.  Katherine Legge, $102,000

*–Broken down between two teams, $460,000 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, $105,500 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports