Pato O’Ward wins Race 2 of Detroit Grand Prix for second of the season, takes points lead

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Pato O’Ward won his second IndyCar race of 2021 in the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix and ended a streak of unique winners that started the season at seven. O’Ward led only three laps en route to the second victory of his career (having won his first May 2 at Texas Motor Speedway).

“I had such a great car all weekend,” O’Ward, who started 16th of 25 drivers, told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Today was my fault (in qualifying) that we made it a little extra hard on ourselves starting from the back. But I knew I had a great car under me.”

Along with a third-place finish in Saturday’s race, the victory allowed O’Ward to assume the championship points lead by one marker over Alex Palou. The win came a day after his Arrow McLaren SP grappled with the aftermath of a wicked crash for Felix Rosenqvist, who missed Sunday’s race after being hospitalized as a precaution.

“I texted Felix this morning” O’Ward said. “The important thing is that he’s okay, but I told him I’m going to win it for you. So this is for him.”

The box score shows Josef Newgarden finished 6.8 seconds behind in second, but the race was much closer than that. Newgarden led 67 of the 70 laps before the decision to end the race on softer red Firestones, as well as two ill-timed caution flags, proved his undoing.

O’Ward opted to end the race on the more durable black compound.

Newgarden saved most of his push-to-pass boost for the final laps, hoping that would allow him to maintain his advantage over the competition, but when he got loose exiting a turn with three laps remaining, it opened the door for O’Ward to pounce.

“Sad; just pretty sad,” Newgarden told NBC’s Kevin Lee when asked about the closing laps. “It’s hard not to be disappointed. We had the car to beat. Cautions when we didn’t need them. Wrong tires when we didn’t need them. It was a fun strategy. I think we were doing well. It’s just the caution that killed us. My rear wheels are shot, and we didn’t need that.”

This is Newgarden’s third runner-up finish of the season. He was second at St. Petersburg in Round 2 and also in the second Texas Motor Speedway race in the other doubleheader earlier this year.

Newgarden came close to delivering the first victory for Team Penske this season. With 20 laps remaining, soon after what would have been the final green-flag stop for both drivers, Colton Herta closed to within a half-second and bided his time on better tires. They had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Alex Palou, so there was no sense of urgency.

Until Jimmie Johnson, running 20th at the time as the final driver on the lead lap, spun in Turn 1 and stalled his car. That caution erased the leaders’ advantage on the field and put another cycle on Newgarden’s red tires.

Another caution for a spin for Romain Grosjean set up a sprint to the finish. Even then, it appeared Newgarden might salvage the win. Under the caution, he was informed by race strategist Tim Cindric that he had enough push-to-pass to use it every lap until the checkers. But Newgarden continued to be stingy with the button.

He was able to hold up Herta for several laps and allowed O’Ward and Palou to join the fray. The three young guns battled hard to be the driver in the best position to pounce on Newgarden before O’Ward gained the advantage. It didn’t take long for him to make the pass on Newgarden, and he immediately scooted out to an impressive lead.

The last time Penske went this long without a win to start the season was in 2013 when Helio Castroneves scored the team’s first win in the eighth race.

(Chris Jones/IndyCar)

After O’Ward passed Newgarden, the battle shifted to second. Newgarden kept Herta and Palou behind him as they battled for the final podium position.

Palou grabbed third, and with that pass, managed to stay within one point of the new championship leader O’Ward.

“It’s only one point,” Palou said. “I lost 37 points in two races, so I can recover 37 more points in two races.”

After making a couple of bold pass attempts that marbled his tires, Herta finished fourth.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Herta told NBC’s Kevin Lee. “We had a fast car, I just didn’t get it done there are the end unfortunately.”

The last time the series had seven winners in the first seven races was in 2017. Graham Rahal snapped the streak by winning both races of the Belle Isle doubleheader. This weekend, he swept the fifth-place position.

Marcus Ericsson scored his first IndyCar win on Saturday in a three-lap dash to the finish. He was ninth in Race 2.

Finishing 10th, Santino Ferrucci had one of the more adventurous races of the day. He crashed heavily in qualification, aggravating a leg fracture sustained in the Indy 500, and had to climb into Takuma Sato’s backup car. With a few quick adjustments for the car that was originally setup as a speedway car, he climbed steadily the through the field to sweep the top 10.

Grosjean’s Detroit Grand Prix ended eerily similar to his Formula 1 career. His spin set up the dash to the finish when he was forced out of his car with the brakes on fire. It was far less dramatic than the fiery crash in his last F1 race at Bahrain last year.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Houston

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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