Marvin Musquin scores first 2022 win in Supercross Round 13 in St. Louis Triple Crown; RJ Hampshire takes 250 East

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Marvin Musquin scored his first win of 2022 in Round 13 of the Monster Energy Supercross series by finishing 2-1-2 in the final Triple Crown format race of the season.

Chase Sexton earned the hole shot in Race 1 and beat Musquin into Turn 1, which is how the riders finished that race. The start was critical again in Race 2, but this time it was Musquin that got the advantage as Sexton allowed Jason Anderson to also get past him. That gave the advantage to Musquin with one race to go. Musquin 2-1 put him in position to capitalize in the final race so long as nothing went wrong.

“It’s tough to win these things,” Musquin told NBC Sports’ Will Christien after the race. “My starts were awesome, and the riding was good. I was trying to apply the best technique as possible.

“This track was awesome today in St. Louis. Super technical with all the off-camber and double-doubles.”

Finishing second in Race 3 capped off the near perfect night for the French rider.

Sexton finished third in the final race, which gave him second position overall in this format that combines the three events. The rider with the lowest average finish wins.

For Sexton, second-place may have felt almost as good as a win after several hard crashes earlier in the season has stranded him deep in the points in seventh. Most recently he hit the ground in the Detroit main and finished well down the order in 22nd.

Click here for complete 450 results

Eli Tomac had bad starts to his first two races, but in what has become commonplace for the championship leader, he easily rode into the top five in the first two races. He finally earned his first hole shot of the night in Race 3 over Musquin and beat him to the checkers.

Tomac saw a five-race winning streak come to an end with his third-place overall finish, but that was not the most important thing for the evening. Tomac finished ahead of the two riders closest to him in the standings – albeit by the smallest of margins.

Anderson’s 6-2-5 placed him fourth in the overall standings. His runner-up finish to Musquin in Race 2 was the difference between fourth and fifth in the final rundown. And that is where points are paid in the Triple Crown format.

Third in points, Justin Barcia went 5-5-4 to finish fifth overall.

Tomac now holds a 56-point lead over Anderson and is 62 ahead of Barcia with four rounds remaining. He can’t walk to the finish of the season, but he barely needs to jog.


The 250 East riders grabbed the spotlight after turning the track over the 250 West riders for the Seattle round.

Like Musquin, RJ Hampshire scored his first win of the season, but he needed to dig deep to get it. In fact, it was the first win of Hampshire’s 250 career.

“This is unreal,” Hampshire told NBC’s Daniel Blair. “I can’t even get words out. I bust my ass every day for this, I have to give it up to everyone on my team. My wife, and my daughter, I told her I’d have a good race. If she’s still awake this goes out to her.”

Hampshire closed the gap on second-place in the standings after Cameron McAdoo was unable to race this week due to injury, but he still trails Lawrence by 41 points as the 250 series heads into a part of the schedule that features two East / West Showdowns in the final four rounds.

Championship leader Jett Lawrence won the first two races and carried a two-position lead into the final race over Hampshire, who finished second in the first two races. Lawrence’s undoing was his starts. After completing Lap 1 of Race 1 in ninth, he raced through the field and won that feature. He wasn’t as fortunate in the third race. Dropping to 12th on the opening lap, he crashed hard into Jace Owens in the whoops as he tried to make up ground.

Lawrence remounted and climbed to fifth with torn riding pants. That was enough to earn second-place overall.

With a 3-3-4. Mitchell Oldenburg stood on the final step of the podium.

With a 4-4-3, Kyle Chisholm finished fourth with Phil Nicoletti rounding out the top five.

Click here for 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

ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown

ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins

ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac

ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record

ROUND 10, DETROIT: Tomac wins incident-filled, third consecutive

ROUND 11, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac extends lead as competition falters

ROUND 12, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac wins fifth straight and sets sights on 2022 championship

IndyCar has big plans on, off track for first test at Thermal Club: ‘It’s an amazing facility’

IndyCar Thermal Club test
Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. – Quantity isn’t a problem for NTT IndyCar Series drivers seeking source material for their first test on track at The Thermal Club. There’s plentiful video of the drivers making laps on the private track that bills itself as a world-class facility.

It’s quality that’s an issue with trying to do homework for their first (and possibly last) test on the 17-turn, 2.9-mile road course.

Thermal is billed as a motorsports country club of sorts, giving the rich and famous an opportunity to drive and store vintage cars at racing playground that has more than 200 members and $5 million, 30,000-square-foot homes sprouting constantly.

IndyCar’s arrival Thursday and Friday for its first full-field open test in the preseason since 2020 will mark a new era of professional racing at Thermal, which primarily has catered to amateurs (often in a fantasy camp-type setting).

Colton Herta tried doing some YouTube research on Thermal recently but gave up after watching the third lap of “some dude in a Ferrari” navigating the course that is nestled in the Coachella Valley just south of Joshua Tree National Park and north of the Salton Sea.

“It’s difficult to watch some of the onboards because it’s not really professional drivers, and they have like the cones set out on the track, where to turn in and where to get on the brakes, so it’s kind of irrelevant,” Herta said. “Yeah, I watched a little bit before I got too bored and turned away. But the track walk will be important. That’s going to be the biggest thing.”

The track walk happened Wednesday afternoon after two days of wall-to-wall media obligations at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Conor Daly and Scott McLaughlin were among many drivers who were antsy to head southeast to the ritzy track (where many drivers have been staying in high-end casitas on the 470-acre property this week). Herta said his main concern was having enough runoff area as drivers knock off the offseason rust because “you do tend to drop a wheel here and there, have a spin if you’re getting back in the car for the first time in a few months.”

“I sort of don’t really know where the track goes,” McLaughlin said. “I feel like I’m going to get lost out there.”

With IndyCar increasingly limiting test time, Daly said sessions such as Thermal “are really, really important. We can train all we want, but there’s nothing like getting in these cars to drive to really prepare yourself for the first race. It’s going to be important to try to do as many laps as possible.”

Of course, what makes Thermal even more rare is that it’s not on the IndyCar schedule nor has it been a testing venue in the past. Sebring International Raceway also doesn’t play host to a race, but it’s become a tried and true place for teams seeking to hone their setups.

An IndyCar Series hauler is unloaded Monday at The Thermal Club track ahead of preseason testing Thursday and Friday (Andy Abeyta/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY Sports Images).

Thermal will be the first time IndyCar is learning an entirely new track since the streets of Nashville nearly two years ago, but in this case, it’s unknown how applicable it’ll be in the future. Some drivers speculated that it could translate to Portland with its length (lap times are projected at more than a minute and 40 seconds), but it’s an unknown how slippery the surface will be for tire wear (probably 20-lap stints, which are relatively short).

“It’s hard when it comes to just two full days of testing because obviously some people will adapt to it quicker than others,” Daly said. “You might feel like a hero, then the next day you might feel like a zero because some people have caught up.

“But these days are important because hopefully it is an indication for us on all the permanent road circuits that we go: Mid-Ohio, Laguna Seca, Indy GP. Hopefully it’s helpful for us in all those scenarios. We’ll see what happens, I guess. It doesn’t matter to us how fast we go, as long as we get something out of it, right? How do we judge some changes? If that’s great for a certain section of the track, right, that could represent a section of another road track we go to. There’s a lot that we can learn, for sure. Realistically we kind of have to keep ourselves  in check with our expectations.”

Two-time series champion Josef Newgarden said drivers “probably shouldn’t come out of here either too excited or too demoralized depending on how it goes because it is not incredibly relevant when it comes to at-track performance. We’re never going to run here again. Well, I shouldn’t say that. We’re not going to run here this year for a points-scoring race. From that standpoint, it’s not relevant.

“What it is relevant for and what I’m excited about is just being on track. We definitely need it on the 2 car. We have a lot of new people. We’re going to maximize this time by just treating it like a race weekend in that we’re doing all the things we would do on a normal weekend to be fast and work well and efficient together. When we come out of the weekend we’ll have something to look at, what did we do well or not well. We have a good, relevant conversation piece to take into (the season opener at) St. Pete. From that standpoint it’s excellent. If we finish 15th on the charts, yeah, maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that.”

Said Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver Graham Rahal: “I’m not sure how much (the Thermal track) relates. We’re running a Barber tire, similar to the Laguna Seca tire. Who knows what the track grip is like in the desert here. If you look at a lot of the corners, a lot of hairpins, a lot of slow speed corners, but then you’ve got like the end of the back straight is quite a fast left-hander. But they’re varying shapes of corners, decreasing radius, on increasing radius. We don’t have any tracks that do that traditionally.

“We’ve got to pick and choose exactly what we get out of it, but I’m all on board for the Thermal thing, so I don’t want to sound like I’m not. I think it was great to have change. We’ve kind of gone to the same places time and time and time and time again. It’s good to see something new.”

IndyCar also will be measuring the results of the test beyond timing and scoring.

The Indianapolis Star reported there have been informal talks about having a pro-am event in the future. With the test closed to the general public but open to its high-dollar clientele, there could be potentially millions of liquid capital at stake for future team investment if the Thermal Club’s members take a shine to IndyCar.

Thermal was throwing a posh welcoming event Wednesday night that was expected to have drivers, series executives and residents mingling with dancing and drinks.

Simon Pagenaud, who has explored the concept of starting a motorsports country club in his native France, is intrigued by the long-term marriage of IndyCar and Thermal.

“This kind of racetrack — what they do with their members, the passion of cars —  is really something,” Pagenaud said.

Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson likes the appeal of testing in Southern California instead of Central Florida.

“This time of the year, it’s really hard to find places for us to go testing,” Ericsson said. “I’ve only been here for four years, starting my fifth year, and I feel like I’ve done I don’t know how many days of testing at Sebring.

“For me, this is a lot better to come here. I like the idea a lot of having the preseason testing back on the calendar to get all the teams and drivers together.”

Said Alexander Rossi, who will be making his debut in an Arrow McLaren Chevrolet this week: “It’s always a difficult situation in January, February, in the United States to find a track that has the appropriate climate. Not only do we have a beautiful place to come with seemingly good weather, but you’re introducing IndyCar to obviously a demographic that has an interest in racing, with some decent capital behind them. They may not know of IndyCar. They may have known of IndyCar but never seen it in person.

“We’re able to bring and showcase what we believe is the best series in the world in front of people who are passionate about motorsports, participate in motorsports themselves, and maybe haven’t seen it before.”

McLaren teammate Felix Rosenqvist already has been staying at the villas inside the track all week.

“It’s an amazing facility,” he said. “I’ve never been here before. I was really blown away by how neat and tidy everything looks.

“I don’t know if there’s ambitions to race here in the future. That could be an option. I’m just pumped to be in California in January. There’s worse places to be.”