Eli Tomac wins Supercross Triple Crown Round 5; Hunter Lawrence gets first in 250s

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For the ninth time in Monster Energy Supercross history, the series used the Triple Crown format in Glendale, Ariz. and Eli Tomac won under this system for the fifth time after emerging victorious in the first two races and finishing third in the final event of Round 5.

The criticism on Tomac throughout his career has been directed at slow starts. That was not an issue in Glendale as he earned the holeshot in the first two races and then lead start to finish in those motos. Tomac did not sweep the starts, but came out of the first turn in third in Race 3. Tomac climbed as high as second in the final race before settling into the rhythm that gave him the overall victory.

“Good execution through the rut after the gate.” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien after Race 2. “That’s where I feel I’m getting it tonight; I’m really good after the gate, the first few feet there and then making a good shift. It’s this big fast straightaway and my bike is hauling the mail tonight.”

With five Triple Crown overall victories, Tomac stands head and shoulders above the competition. Cooper Webb has two wins under this format. Jason Anderson and Ken Roczen have one apiece.

“We just put ourselves in such good position in the first two (races),” Tomac said at the end of the night. “Obviously the first one was a holeshot, and I’m like ‘alright, let’s do this again.’ And I did it again in Moto 2. I had a little wheelie in Moto 3, but it was such a fun night of riding and racing.”

Malcolm Stewart finished a career-best second overall with consistency. He finished 3-2-4 and easily outpaced the third-place contender Chase Sexton and fourth-place Anderson who each scored two podiums in the three races.

“This is my first ever podium for a Triple Crown and I’m beyond stoked,” Stewart said.

Sexton and Anderson had one poor race each. Sexton fell twice in Race 1 and finished 11th. He rebounded for a third in the second moto and earned the holeshot and victory in Race 3.

That gave him one point on Anderson, who finished off the overall podium for just the first time in the Triple Crown format.

Anderson’s undoing was Race 2 when he crashed hard after failing to execute a triple. Anderson got hung up on a Tuff Blox while running second and lost 30 seconds trying to extricate his bike. He finished 12th in that race.

Ken Roczen, who swept the Triple Crown races on this track in 2020 and is the only rider to do so, rounded out the top five with a best finish of fourth in Race 1.

Click here for complete 450 results

Hunter Lawrence scored his first 250 win and did so after riding with consistency. Finishing second in the first moto and winning Race 2 put him in a position where he could dictate the outcome in the final event of the night. He didn’t need to win that race, but could not fall any further back than second as Christian Craig was only two points behind him when the gate dropped.

Lawrence credited the energy of the crowd for his win.

“We work our butts off for nights like this, and as good as I feel, in all honesty I’ve got to give it up to the crowd,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “For the past two years with Covid, it sucked without everyone (in the stands). It’s awesome. The crowd was electric.”

Craig finished second, but felt the night was taken from him after an overly aggressive pass attempt by Vince Friese in Race 2 almost knocked him out of the park. Friese divebombed Craig early in that race in the sand section and propelled Craig off his bike, over the Tuff Blox and into a metal door.

“I believe in my ability to win, so when something gets taken away from you that’s not in your control with another rider: that one stings,” Craig said after the race. “Especially with how I was riding tonight. A win was within reach.”

The measure of a champion is how he reacts to adversity. After getting cleaned out by Friese, Craig was able to climb back to fourth at the end of Race 2, but that was enough to open the door for Lawrence.

Craig’s misfortune in the middle race also created an opportunity for Michael Mosiman, who was trying to mount a comeback after crashing on Lap 1 of Race 1 and finishing 10th.

Mosiman rebounded to finish second to Lawrence in Race 2, but disaster struck as time was running off the clock in the final moto. Mosiman missed the landing on a tabletop and crashed hard. He limped back to his bike and finished 15th, but the combined score in the Triple Crown left him ninth overall and dropped him to 23 points behind Craig in the standings.

Jo Shimoda swept the top five and finished third overall.

Garrett Marchbanks finished fourth overall with a 4-6-6 as Friese rounded out the top five with a 3-10-4.

Click here for complete 250 results


RACE RECAPS

ROUND 1, Anaheim: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener

ROUND 2, Oakland: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season

ROUND 3, San Diego: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins

ROUND 4, Anaheim: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead

Cadillac confirms WEC driver lineup with Chip Ganassi Racing that will race Le Mans in 2023

Cadillac Ganassi Le Mans
Cadillac Racing
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Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing announced their driver lineup for a 2023 entry in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the sports car series that includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Cadillac V-LMDh entry will be driven by Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn, who were teamed on the No. 02 Cadillac that competed in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class this season and won the Twelve Hours of Sebring. The third driver will be Richard Westbrook, who will return to Ganassi after helping the team to a GT class win at Le Mans in 2018.

The team also will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in the rebranded Grand Touring Prototype premier category, which is designed for crossover between the top prototypes in IMSA and WEC. Ganassi will field a second entry at Daytona with its No. 01 Cadillac that will compete full time in IMSA with Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande.

Next year will mark the return of Cadillac to Le Mans for the first time since 2002.

Before joining Ganassi last year, Lynn made 28 WEC starts since 2016, winning the LMGTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2020.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to continue with Cadillac and Chip Ganassi Racing,” Lynn said in a release. “It’s a huge honor to drive for Chip in any capacity but certainly on a full factory sports car program, it’s seriously cool. Cadillac has so much heritage as a luxury North American sports car brand, so to be able to represent them is a huge privilege. I’ve had a lot of fun in my first year doing it and to continue that onto the World Endurance Championship stage is fantastic.

“For me, returning to WEC is sort of what I’ve always known and it’s a bit like going into my wheelhouse. This year in IMSA was a bit different with getting to know all-new circuits and a new style of racing so 2023 will be filled with a bit more of what I’m used to with more of a European focus. I think what’s significant about WEC is without a doubt Le Mans. As a sports car race, Le Mans is the crown jewel and everything that we want to win. To be able to take Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac back to Le Mans to fight for overall honors is a huge honor and that’s something that I’m going to work tirelessly to make sure we achieve.”

Bamber won the Le Mans overall in 2015 and ’17 with Porsche teams and also was a 2019 GTLM champion in IMSA.

“I am really happy to continue at Chip Ganassi Racing and Cadillac,” Bamber said in a release. “I’ve loved my first season in DPi and now to continue over into the LMDh era and WEC is super exciting. Looking forward to fighting for a world championship and another Le Mans victory.

“The World Endurance Championships gives us the opportunity to race at the world’s biggest race, which is Le Mans, the crown jewel of sports car racing. I’ve been lucky enough to win it before and it’s obviously a huge goal for Cadillac and everyone at Chip Ganassi Racing. To have that goal in sight is really exciting. It’s been great to have Alex as a teammate in 2022. We’ve been able to learn and grow together in the DPi, and we have a really good partnership going into WEC. We know each other really well and believe adding Richard will be a seamless transition.”

Said Westbrook: “After four really good years at Chip Ganassi Racing, I’ve got so many friends there and I’ve always dreamt to come back one day. It just worked so well between 2016 and 2019, and I’m delighted we found a route to come together again. I can’t wait, it’s an exciting era in sports car racing right now.

“I feel like I know Alex and Earl really well. I did Le Mans with Alex in 2020 and I’ve known him for years. It feels like I’m going back with an ex-teammate and exactly the same with Earl. Although I’ve never shared a car with Earl, we’ve always done the same sort of racing be it in WEC or in IMSA. We’ve had lots of battles, including this year in our dueling Cadillacs. We’ve always gotten along quite well, and I can say we’re going to have a great year together.”

The seven-race WEC season, which also includes a stop at Spa, will begin March 17 with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway in Florida.