2022 Supercross Power Rankings after Round 3: Eli Tomac leads after solid San Diego run


A rough day for Justin Barcia and second-place finish by Eli Tomac caused a shakeup at the top of the Supercross Rankings after Round 3 in San Diego. In addition to taking the points’ lead by one over Chase Sexton, Tomac also currently has the top spot in the Power Rankings by an equally thin margin, making him the third rider in three weeks to be ranked No. 1.

Tomac finished second in both his heat and feature last week, giving him the best overall performance through three races. In the first two events, slow starts caused him to face an uphill battle and he managed to finish only sixth in the Anaheim 1 feature. In Oakland he earned his first heat win, but slipped to fourth in the feature.

Chase Sexton also climbed one position in the Supercross Power Rankings this week on the strength of last week’s feature win – the first of his 450 career. Heat wins in the first two weeks have been impressive, but his average finish over six races is dragged down by a ninth in the Oakland feature.

MORE: Chase Sexton, Michael Mosiman earn first career victories at San Diego

Last week in San Diego, Cooper Webb told the media it was time for him to start winning and then went out and immediately scored his first heat victory of the season. A modest start in the feature relegated him to fourth and kept Webb from climbing higher in the rankings, but with a three-position advancement, he had the greatest improvement in the field.

Barcia’s bad San Diego outing started with a crash early in the main and was exacerbated by a penalty from Supercross that docked him a position for rough riding. The penalty came after an incident with Justin Bogle. Barcia finished ninth in the feature, which was the first time he has been outside the top five in any of his races.

Bogle was disqualified for intentionally forcing Barcia off track later in the race and is currently ranked outside the top 20 in 23rd.

Ken Roczen rounds out the top five this week after falling in the race and tumbling one position in the Supercross Power Rankings. Roczen’s trip to the dirt at San Diego came after Jason Anderson hit his back wheel during a pass for position.

Anderson climbed one spot from eighth to seventh after winning his first heat of the season last week.

450 Rankings

1. Eli Tomac (last week: 2); [1 heat win]
2. Chase Sexton (3); [1 feature win, 2 heat wins]
3. Cooper Webb (6); [1 heat win]
4. Justin Barcia (1)
5. Ken Roczen (4); [1 feature, 1 heat win]
6. Malcolm Stewart (6)
7. Jason Anderson (8); [1 feature win; 1 heat win]
8. Aaron Plessinger (5)
9. Marvin Musquin (9)
10. Dylan Ferrandis (10)
11. Justin Brayton (10)
12. Dean Wilson (13)
13. Shane McElrath (14)
14. Max Anstie (15)
15 (tie). Joey Savatgy (11)
15 (tie). Adam Cianciarulo (12)
17. Mitchell Oldenburg (NA)
18. Brandon Hartranft (16)
19. Fredrik Noren (NA)
20. Kyle Chisholm (19)

Christian Craig entered San Diego with a perfect record of two heat and two feature wins in the opening two rounds. He remained perfect through his San Diego heat, but when he hit a Tuff Blox in Turn 1, he had an uphill battle for the remainder of the feature.

Craig remounted and arguably had the best performance of the night. He wrested the final step of the podium away from Vince Friese on the final lap and held onto his top spot in the Supercross Rankings after Round 3.

Jalek Swoll finished seventh in his heat and feature one week after missing a race to concussion. (Feld Entertainment, Inc.)

Hunter Lawrence’s ascent to second in the Power Rankings comes after he scored his first heat win of the season. It is also partly attributable to the fact that Seth Hammaker was unable to mount up for San Diego after taking a hard crash in practice.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 West feature win over Lawrence last week after finishing second in his heat. If not for a sixth-place finish in the Anaheim 1 feature, he would have a perfect record of top-five results this year.

Last week, Vince Friese was locked in a three-way tie for fifth in the standings with Jo Shimoda and Garrett Marchbanks. With a fourth in the feature, Friese came up one position shy of sweeping the podium at San Diego and that allowed him to take sole possession of fourth in the rankings this week.

Meanwhile, Shimoda retained the fifth position in the standings despite being a victim of the same Lap 1 incident that claimed Craig. Shimoda also remounted and climbed to fifth at the checkers. That was his best feature finish of the season.

After sitting out Oakland with a concussion, Jalek Swoll returned to action this week and debuted at 13th in the Supercross Power Rankings. His seventh-place performance in both his heat and feature at San Diego is currently weighed down by his last-place finish in the Anaheim 1 heat that injured him in the first place.

250 Rankings

1. Christian Craig (1); [2 feature, 3 heat wins]
2. Hunter Lawrence (3); [1 heat win]
3. Michael Mosiman (4); [1 feature; 2 heat wins]
4. Vince Friese (5)
5. Jo Shimoda (5)
6. Nate Thrasher (8)
7. Garrett Marchbanks (5)
8. Chris Blose (9)
9. Carson Mumford (10)
10. Cole Thompson (11)
11. Robbie Wageman (12)
12. Carson Brown (15)
13. Jalek Swoll (NA)
14. Ryan Surratt (14)
15. Dominique Thury (13)
16. Dylan Walsh (21)
17. Logan Karnow (16)
18. Dilan Schwartz (20
19. Devin Harriman (17)
20. Derek Kelley (26)

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 1 AT ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen, Christian Craig have a perfect weekend

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 2 AT OAKLAND: Justin Barcia climbs to the top spot

Strong rebounds for Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi amid some disappointments in the Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS – Alex Palou had not turned a wheel wrong the entire Month of May at the Indy 500 until Rinus VeeKay turned a wheel into the Chip Ganassi Racing pole-sitter leaving pit road on Lap 94.

“There is nothing I could have done there,” Palou told NBC Sports. “It’s OK, when it is my fault or the team’s fault because everybody makes mistakes. But when there is nothing, you could have done differently there, it feels bad and feels bad for the team.”

Marcus Ericsson was a master at utilizing the “Tail of the Dragon” move that breaks the draft of the car behind him in the closing laps to win last year’s Indianapolis 500. On Sunday, however, the last of three red flags in the final 16 laps of the race had the popular driver from Sweden breathing fire after Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden beat him at his own game on the final lap to win the Indianapolis 500.

Despite the two disappointments, team owner Chip Ganassi was seen on pit road fist-bumping a member on his four-car team in this year’s Indianapolis 500 after his drivers finished second, fourth, sixth and seventh in the tightly contested race.

Those are pretty good results, but at the Indianapolis 500, there is just one winner and 32 losers.

“There is only one winner, but it was a hell of a show,” three-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Chip Ganassi Racing consultant Dario Franchitti told NBC Sports. “Alex was very fast, and he got absolutely caught out in somebody else’s wreck. There was nothing he could have done, but he and the 10 car, great recovery.

“Great recovery by all four cars because at half distance, we were not looking very good.”

After 92 laps, the first caution flew for Sting Ray Robb of Dale Coyne Racing hitting the Turn 1 wall.

During pit stops on Lap 94, Palou had left his stall when the second-place car driven by VeeKay ran into him, putting Palou’s Honda into the wall. The car sustained a damaged front wing, but the Chip Ganassi crew was able to get him back in the race on the lead lap but in 28th position.

Palou ultimately would fight his way to a fourth-place finish in a race the popular Spaniard could have won. His displeasure with VeeKay, whom he sarcastically called “a legend” on his team radio after the incident, was evident.

“The benefit of being on pole is you can drive straight and avoid crashes, and he was able to crash us on the side on pit lane, which is pretty tough to do, but he managed it,” Palou told NBC Sports. “Hopefully next year we are not beside him. Hopefully, next year we have a little better luck.”

Palou started on the pole and led 36 laps, just three fewer than race leader Pato O’Ward of Arrow McLaren Racing.

“We started really well, was managing the fuel as we wanted, our car was pretty good,” Palou said. “Our car wasn’t great, we dropped to P4 or P5, but we still had some good stuff.

“On the pit stop, the 21 (VeeKay) managed to clip us. Nothing we could have done there. It was not my team’s fault or my fault.

“We had to drop to the end. I’m happy we made it back to P4. We needed 50 more laps to make it happen, but it could have been a lot worse after that contact.

“I learned a lot, running up front at the beginning and in mid-pack and then the back. I learned a lot.

“It feels amazing when you win it and not so good when things go wrong. We were a bit lucky with so many restarts at the end to make it back to P4 so I’m happy with that.”

Palou said the front wing had to be changed and the toe-in was a bit off, but he still had a fast car.

In fact, his Honda was the best car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway all month. His pole-winning four lap average speed of 234.217 miles per hour around the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway was a record for this fabled race.

Palou looked good throughout the race, before he had to scratch and claw and race his way back to the top-five after he restarted 28th.

In the Indianapolis 500, however, the best car doesn’t always win.

“It’s two years in a row that we were leading the race at the beginning and had to drop to last,” Palou said. “Maybe next year, we will start in the middle of the field and go on to win the race.

“I know he didn’t do it on purpose. It’s better to let that pass someday.”

Palou said the wild racing at the end was because the downforce package used in Sunday’s race means the drivers have to be aggressive. The front two cars can battle for the victory, but cars back in fourth or fifth place can’t help determine the outcome of the race.

That is when the “Tail of the Dragon” comes into the play.

Franchitti helped celebrate Ericsson’s win in 2022 with his “Tail of the Dragon” zigzag move – something he never had to do in any of his three Indianapolis 500 victories because they all finished under caution.

In 2023, however, IndyCar Race Control wants to make every attempt to finish the race under green, without going past the scheduled distance like NASCAR’s overtime rule.

Instead of extra laps, they stop the race with a red flag, to create a potential green-flag finish condition.

“You do what you have to do to win within the rules, and it’s within the rules, so you do it,” Franchitti said. “The race is 200 laps and there is a balance.

“Marcus did a great job on that restart and so did Josef. It was just the timing of who was where and that was it.

“If you knew it was going to go red, you would have hung back on the lap before.

“Brilliant job by the whole Ganassi organization because it wasn’t looking very good at half-distance.

“Full marks to Josef Newgarden and Team Penske.”

Franchitti is highly impressed by how well Ericsson works with CGR engineer Brad Goldberg and how close this combination came to winning the Indianapolis 500 two-years-in-a-row.

It would have been the first back-to-back Indy 500 winner since Helio Castroneves in 2001 and 2002.

“Oh, he’s a badass,” Franchitti said Ericsson. “He proved it last year. He is so calm all day. What more do you need? As a driver, he’s fast and so calm.”

Ericsson is typically in good spirits and jovial.

He was stern and direct on pit road after the race.

“I did everything right, I did an awesome restart, caught Josef off-guard and pulled away,” Ericsson said on pit lane. “It’s hard to pull away a full lap and he got me back.

“I’m mostly disappointed with the way he ended. I don’t think it was fair and safe to do that restart straight out of the pits on cold tires for everyone.

“To me, it was not a good way to end that race.

“Congrats to Josef. He didn’t do anything wrong. He is a worthy champion, but it shouldn’t have ended like that.”

Palou also didn’t understand the last restart, which was a one-start showdown.

“I know that we want to finish under green,” Palou said. “Maybe the last restart I did, I didn’t understand. It didn’t benefit the CGR team.

“I’m not very supportive of the last one, but anyway.”

Dixon called the red flags “a bit sketchy.”

“The red flags have become a theme to the end of the race, but sometimes they can catch you out,” Dixon said. “I know Marcus is frustrated with it.

“All we ask for is consistency. I think they will do better next time.

“It’s a tough race. People will do anything they can to win it and with how these reds fall, you have to be in the right place at the right time. The problem is when they throw a Red or don’t throw a Red dictates how the race will end.

“It’s a bloody hard race to win. Congrats to Josef Newgarden and to Team Penske.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500