Jason Anderson wins 2022 Supercross Round 14 in Atlanta; Hunter Lawrence wins East / West Shootout

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The Monster Energy Supercross series raced on a speedway infield course for the second time in 2022 and Jason Anderson won his fourth race of the season in Round 14.

For Anderson, it was a statement race. Eli Tomac has an almost unassailable lead in the championship standings with three rounds remaining, and the driver second in points knows the only thing he can do is keep the pressure on.

Anderson won his heat, which also had Tomac in the field. It is most likely a case of too little, too late but Anderson won the head-to-head matchup in both events.

“I’ve been better than I’ve ever been this year and to struggle and still get podiums and top-fives is crazy, “Anderson told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “All-in-all, I really wanted to get another win. That felt good.”

Tomac won the other speedway infield race in Daytona for a record sixth time and still boasts a two-win advantage over Anderson.

Tomac is now 53 points ahead of Anderson and could clinch the championship if he finishes ahead of his rival next week.

Click here for complete 450 results

Chase Sexton grabbed the early lead and was stalked by Justin Barcia. Both riders slipped back through the pack. Sexton was able to regroup and finish third in a tight battle with Cooper Webb.

Webb was forced to sit out last week after a crash in preliminaries. He rebounded to finish fifth at Atlanta.

Malcom Stewart earned his second top-five in the past four rounds, but has lost some of the consistency that marked the beginning of his season. He finished on the high side of the single digits in the other two races.

Earlier this week, Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis announced he will skip the remainder of the 2022 Supercross season to heal from a wrist injury and focus on defending his 2021 Motocross championship.

The 250 East and West riders squared off for the first time this year.

Hype surrounded the impending battle between the championship leaders Christian Craig and Jett Lawrence.

In the feature, Lawrence got a much better start than Craig. He might have chosen to ride a safe line and hope to keep his rival at bay – but that is not how Lawrence rides. On Lap 1, he tucked his wheel in the whoops and went down hard. Craig slipped past. So did 10 more riders and Lawrence dropped to 15th as Craig advanced to fifth.

Lawrence’s problems began early. He had a less-than-optimal gate pick after finishing fifth in his heat. Craig won the 250 West heat and established dominance early.

Another head-to-head matchup worthy of note was between the Lawrence brothers. Hunter crashed hard on media day and was riding sore.

Hunter took the early feature lead as Craig and Jett Lawrence struggled to start.

It’s impossible to keep Craig down, however, and he climbed to second at the end of the East/West Showdown to give the West riders the top spots.

Jett Lawrence surged through the field and caught Jo Shimoda with time running off the clock. Shimoda did not go down without a fight and tried to cross over, but in the end all three spotlight riders stood on the podium.

Jett came up on the short end of both head-to-head matchups, but salvaged third at the checkers and padded his points’ lead in the East over last week’s winner RJ Hampshire, who ended the race in eighth.

“I live for the night show,” Hunter Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “It’s what we train for and I’m stoked to have pulled this one off. … Jett’s on the box as well, which is so great for out family.”

Hunter closed the gap slightly on Craig, but still trails by 23. Craig was content with his result since he had his rival in sight.

“When I was that far back at the beginning, I got a little zoned out,” Craig told Will Christen. “Luckily I was able to get up to the leaders. When I got to second, Hunter had a good gap and I felt like we were yo-yoing for a little bit. He was riding really well, so props to him. That tip over in the back really stalled my momentum

Shimoda slotted into fourth with Nate Thrasher rounding out the top five.

Austin Forkner made his return to racing after breaking a collarbone in the Texas Triple Crown and he didn’t have miss a beat. He won his 250 East heat and rode to a top-10 finish in seventh.

“I was putting down laps and feeling really, really controlled out there,” Forkner said. “I was just giving it everything I had; that’s how I was working through the pack. To have come from that far back to win, that was pretty much all I had.”

Phil Nicoletti went down in his heat and broke his wrist.

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

ROUND 13, St. Louis: Marvin Musquin scores first win of 2022 in Triple Crown format

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

MORE: McLaren considering Kyle Busch for Indy 500

“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”