2022 Supercross Power Rankings after Round 5: Eli Tomac remains on top, Malcolm Stewart is biggest mover

Supercross Rankings Round 5
Feld Entertainment, Inc.

The jockeying for position in the first four weeks is over and Eli Tomac has emerged at the top of the Monster Energy Supercross Rankings following the first Triple Crown weekend in Round 5 at Glendale, Arizona.

Three feature races meant there were three chances for riders to make mistakes. Tomac has struggled with starts during his career, but set the tone early by earning the holeshot in the first two races in route to feature wins. In the final race at Glendale, he started and finished third. In his last eight heats and features, Tomac has not finished off the podium, and that will make him difficult to catch in the rankings for a while.

Mistakes kept Chase Sexton from making a bigger charge on Tomac. He fell twice in the first feature at Glendale before remounting to finish 11th. Once he found his balance, Sexton swept the podium in his last two races and was scored third overall for the weekend. That was enough to retain second in the Supercross Rankings after Round 5.

MORE: Eli Tomac wins back-to-back Supercross races to solidify his advantage

Malcolm Stewart was the biggest mover among this week’s top 10, jumping three positions in the rankings with a consistently strong weekend in Arizona. He did not win one of the features, but had a worst result of fourth in the three races. In the second race, he finished runner-up to Tomac, which contributed to his best career Supercross finish of second.

Jason Anderson had an unforced error in Race 2 of the Triple Crown. After finishing runner-up to Tomac in his first feature, Anderson was comfortably in second when he jumped wide and got hung up on a Tuff Blox. Without that mistake, he likely would have finished the night with a 2-2-2, which have left him one point behind Tomac for the overall win.

Consistency does not always equal strength. Justin Barcia finished 6-7-6 in last week’s three features, which equated to sixth overall. Those relatively modest results allowed Stewart and Anderson to leapfrog him and push Barcia to fifth in the rankings.

Still, Barcia did not fall quite as hard as Cooper Webb, who slipped from a tie for fourth to seventh in the Supercross Rankings after Round 5 with an 8-8-5 in the features and eighth overall.

450 Rankings

1. Eli Tomac (last week: 1); [2 feature wins, 4 heat and wins]
2. Chase Sexton (2); [1 feature win, 4 heat wins]
3. Malcolm Stewart (6)
4. Jason Anderson (4); [1 feature win; 1 heat win]
5. Justin Barcia (3)
6. Ken Roczen (7); [1 feature, 1 heat win]
7. Cooper Webb (4); [1 heat win]
8. Marvin Musquin (9)
9. Dylan Ferrandis (8)
10. Aaron Plessinger (10)
11. Dean Wilson (12)
12. Shane McElrath (12)
13. Joey Savatgy (15)
14. Justin Brayton (11)
15. Mitchell Oldenburg (16)
16. Max Anstie (14)
17. Brandon Hartranft (17)
18. Kyle Chisholm (19)
19. Josh Hill (21)
20. Justin Bogle (22)

By the time the dust settled, and the steam evaporated from Christian Craig ears, he found himself the winner of two of the three Glendale races, but second in the overall standings. The middle race was critical as he was cleaned out by Vince Friese in the sand section of the track, which dropped him from the lead and a potential perfect sweep of the weekend to the back of the pack.

Craig remounted and charged to fourth at the end of that race, but it opened the door for Hunter Lawrence to win his first feature of the season. With such an incredibly strong start to the season, Craig maintained the lead.

But it was also a solid night for Lawrence, who finally made slight inroads into Craig’s 250 West points’ lead. Eight is a much easier number to manage than 14, which is where the gap would have stood without Craig’s misfortune.

Three was the operative number for Jo Shimoda. He finished third in two of the three races and climbed to third in the standings. The series returns to Anaheim for a third time this week and Shimoda struggled in the first two outings with seventh-place finishes.

Michael Mosiman suffered the most in Arizona. He crashed on Lap 1 of Race 1. Once he remounted, he lost his momentum and barely cracked the top 10 in that race. He rebounded to finish second in Race 2, but sustained another crash in the final event and finished 15th. All of those numbers combined to drop him from second in the Supercross Rankings to fourth at the end of Round 5.

Friese also remounted his bike after the Race 2 contact with Craig, but he only climbed to 10th at the checkers. That, along with a fifth-place overall finish, was enough to allow him to retain fifth in the rankings.

250 Rankings

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

Triple Crown wins included with Heat wins

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

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 3 AT SAN DIEGO: Consistency pays off for Eli Tomac

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 4 AT ANAHEIM: Eli Tomac remains on top as competition levels

The Thermal Club wants an IndyCar race, and series executives liked its initial impact at test


THERMAL, Calif. – Many teams in the NTT IndyCar Series questioned the relevancy of having a two-day preseason test at The Thermal Club.

The team owners, drivers and engineers believed the 17-turn, 3.067-mile race course that winds and twists its way through a gated private community (about 45 minutes southeast of Palm Springs) had no relevance to any track on the 17-race schedule.

To the leaders of IndyCar, however, there was plenty of relevance to hosting its “Spring Training” at a sort of motorsports country club that caters to extremely wealthy residents who also are automotive enthusiasts.

“Both with our stakeholders and the media that covers IndyCar, we wanted them to know that we are going to do things differently,” Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles told NBC Sports from the private VIP viewing area that overlooks the long straights and twisting turns of the course. “This is going to be a year when we expect our growth to go to a whole new level.

“What better way to send that message than to be at a place we have never been that is exceptional?

“The quality of this place; the facilities are off the charts. The customer service, the welcoming feeling you get from the staff here. The track itself is fast. The drivers are having a great time on it.

FRIDAY SPEEDSThird session l Fourth session l Combined

‘AN AMAZING PLACE’: IndyCar and its big plans for Thermal

“It really sent a message to our other promoters and our drivers and team owners that something is up. We want fans around the country and the sports industry to know that something is going on with IndyCar this year.”

The Thermal Club is a concept driven by Tim Rogers, who made his fortune by supplying gasoline to 7-Eleven stores in 36 states. He wanted to create a private community that mixed multimillion-dollar homes and luxury villas with a high-speed race course.

The two-day IndyCar “Spring Training” was the most ambitious motorsports project yet for The Thermal Club.

Rogers wants it to be the first step in a long-term goal for the community.

“Our endgame is we want to host an IndyCar Series race at The Thermal Club one day,” Rogers told NBC Sports as IndyCar hit the track again Friday morning. “This was a good trial to see how the facility can handle it and if the facility works for them.”

Felix Rosenqvist makes laps in the No. 6 Arrow McLaren Dallara-Chevrolet during the first day of NTT IndyCar Series testing (Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images).

The two-day test was closed to the general public. It was open only to credentialed news media, members of the Thermal Club and a limited number of their guests.

With the spectacular backdrop of the Coachella Valley that is rimmed with snow-capped mountains, The Thermal Club could provide a great setting for an NBC telecast of an IndyCar Series race (and possibly line up a big sponsor for a return on its investment with a larger than normal audience during a ripe time such as the first weekend of February).

NASCAR is using that same model Sunday at the Los Angeles Coliseum by hosting the Busch Light Clash. The National Football League’s AFC and NFC Championship games were last weekend and next Sunday is the Super Bowl.

“That could work, but we have room where we could separate the public and the private members area, too,” Rogers said. “We could accommodate 4,000 or so of the general public.

“This would be a premium event for a premium crowd.”

Rogers’ dream of The Thermal Club began 11 years ago. He will talk to IndyCar about a return for Spring Training next year with hopes of getting a date on the schedule for 2025.

“Whatever fits,” Rogers said.

Miles and Penske Entertainment, the owners of IndyCar, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Indianapolis 500, realize Rogers has an ambitious dream of getting a race on the schedule.

Miles, however, isn’t ready to indicate that a race at Thermal is part of IndyCar’s future (though drivers seem open to the concept).

“Tim and everybody at The Thermal Club have done a phenomenal job of being hosts here for this test,” Miles said. “Everybody is very happy we are here, and I expect we will find a way to continue to be here. Whether that means a race and when is really a bridge we aren’t ready to cross yet.

“We really like opening the championship season each year in St. Petersburg, Florida. We’ll have to see. But it’s a great way to start the season in this way, and right now, we are happy to be here.”

Indycar Series Test - Day 1
Defending IndyCar champion Will Power takes laps at The Thermal Club during the first day of the track’s first test (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

On track, it was a successful two-day test session with 27 car/driver combinations that will compete in IndyCar in 2023. It’s the largest field for IndyCar since the 1990s. There were a few spins here and there but no major incidents across 2,560 laps.

Kyle Kirkwood led the final session Friday while getting acquainted with his new No. 27 team at Andretti Autosport. Kirkwood has replaced Alexander Rossi at Andretti, whom Kirkwood drove for in Indy Lights.

His time of 1 minute, 38.827 seconds (111.721 mph) around the 3.067-mile road course was the fastest of the fourth and final session. But the fastest speed over two days was defending Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson of Chip Ganassi Racing in the Friday morning session (1:38.4228, 112.182 mph in the No. 8 Honda).

Callum Ilott of Juncos Hollinger Racing was second in the final session at 1:38.8404 (111.707 mph) in the No. 77 Chevrolet. Rookie Marcus Armstrong of New Zealand was third at 1:38.8049 (111.707 mph) in the No. 11 Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing was fourth at 1:38.8718 (111.672 mph) in the No. 10. Defending NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power of Team Penske rounded out the top five at 1:38.9341 (111.602 mph) in the No. 12 Chevrolet.

Ericsson was the fastest in combined times followed by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s Christian Lundgaard at 1:38.5682 in the No. 45 Honda, Kirkwood, Ilott and Armstrong. Positions 3-5 speeds were from the final practice session on Friday.

Indycar Series Test - Day 1
With members’ houses in the background, Romain Grosjean navigates the turns of The Thermal Club in his No. 28 Dallara-Honda (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

Drivers didn’t know what to expect before hitting the track. After the two-day test was over, NBC Sports asked several drivers what they learned from The Thermal Club.

“I think it’s a first-class facility, no doubt,” two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske said. “I think the entire facility here at Thermal really rolled out the red carpet for us. They did a tremendous job.

“It was a fairly flawless test, I would say, for two days. I think the great thing about this was we had a two-day test, which was fantastic. You got to have this warmup; this preseason build. That was the biggest positive for me, is that we were here, we were running cars. It was a great facility to do it at.

IndyCar Thermal Club test
Josef Newgarden said his No. 2 team (which has a new lead engineer) used The Thermal Club test as an opportunity for building cohesion (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).
Indycar Series Test - Day 2
Josef Newgarden (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

“I think the track was a lot more fun than we anticipated. It was challenging, definitely technical. I don’t know how relevant it is. For us, it wasn’t really relevant to anywhere we’re going, but that’s OK.”

But even though the track has no sector particularly similar to any road or street course on the schedule, there still were benefits.

“In a lot of ways, it is relevant,” Newgarden said. “For us it was relevant for building the team up, trying to work in a competitive environment, be competitive together. That’s everything. So regardless of is the setup going to apply to a certain track or another, (it) doesn’t really matter.

“For us, it was applying the principles of how we’re going to work together. From that standpoint, it was very productive for everybody. Raceability-wise, it’s hard to say. It was chewing tires up. Big drop-off from run one to two. I think from a race standpoint, that would be quite positive. You’d have big tire deg here.

“You’d have to do more work on runoff areas if we wanted to race here, but it’s possible. I don’t think it would take much effort to do the things to run an actual race.”

Indycar Series Test - Day 1
Will Power (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

Kirkwood found speed in his Andretti Autosport machine, but he used the test to create a smooth working relationship with his new crew.

“I wouldn’t say that we found something here that is going to translate to anywhere, right?” the 2021 Indy Lights champion said. “This is a very unique track, although it was a lot of fun to drive, and it kind of surprised me in the amount of grip that it actually produced.

“It was quite a bit faster than what we expected.”

Many of the NTT IndyCar Series teams will test later this month at Sebring, Florida, as they prepare for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to kick off the season March 5.

“It’s a very nice facility, a nice area, it’s pretty cool to have two days of testing here with a lot of high-profile people,” two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Will Power of Team Penske told NBC Sports. “It’s a very technical, tough track.

“It’s pretty good.”

Indycar Series Test - Day 2
IndyCar drivers turns laps on the second day of testing at The Thermal Club, which is nestled in the Coachella Valley that is ringed by mountains in Southern California (Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images).

The Thermal Club received rave reviews, welcomed IndyCar and provided exposure to the movers and shakers of the business community that own the luxury villas and homes in this ultra-rich community.

Could it be a venue of the future for a series that sells lifestyle as much as on-track competition?

“This is a fantastic facility and the circuit is a fast circuit,” team owner Bobby Rahal told NBC Sports. “It’s pretty exciting to watch the cars run around here. I think it would be attractive to people.

“I’ll leave that up to Mark Miles and (IndyCar President) Jay Frye and everybody else whether we have a race here, but why not?

“It’s a great place.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500