Jason Anderson wins Supercross Round 15 in Foxborough; Jett Lawrence wraps up 250 East

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Jason Anderson won his second consecutive and fifth overall race of the 2022 Supercross Season in Round 15 in Foxborough, Massachusetts to push the championship battle at least one more week. With two rounds remaining, he trails Eli Tomac by 43 points.

Tomac can wrap up the championship with a result of sixth or better next week if Anderson wins again. Tomac was seventh in Foxborough.

If not for an accident in Detroit, Anderson’s back-to-back wins at Atlanta and Foxborough would have made a much bigger difference in the championship battle. Anderson still has a chance to match Tomac in total win s for the season if he sweeps the final two rounds.

“It’s a bummer for me because I want to be in the position [Tomac] is in, or at least giving him a harder time,” told NBC’s Sports Will Christien. “But I’m going to make him take it another week and help him out and let him do it in his home state of Colorado.

“It’s a good win for me. I’m just trying to get better and better. I have goal in sight and I’m working towards it. It’s nice to see some of the success along the way.”

After a little contact between the two riders early in the race, Tomac rode cautiously. When it was apparent that he would not be able to erase his deficit and catch Anderson, he allowed a couple of riders to pass him in the closing laps and was the last rider on the lead lap.

Click here for complete 450 results

Chase Sexton had a chance to make himself part of the championship story. He stalked Anderson and closed the gap in traffic. With a three-point differential between first and second, Tomac would have been incentivized to make up a few more positions.

“I feel a lot better on the bike; I’m more comfortable,” Sexton said. “Jason was riding really well. We both had to deal with lappers and he got through them better than I did. It was a gnarly track; one that could bite you and you had to be on your toes. My fitness feels good and we have to keep grinding.”

Musquin rounded out the podium for his fourth such finish in last five races. Musquin is involved in a tight battle for third in the championship with a nine-point gap to Justin Barcia.

Two riders who were part of the championship battle early in the season, Malcolm Stewart finished fourth with Barcia fifth. For Stewart, it was his third top-five in the last four races.

Barcia has been the king of consistency with 11 consecutive results of sixth or better.


Jett Lawrence entered Round 15 with the opportunity to be the first rider to lock up a 2022 Supercross championship. He entered the race 47 points ahead of RJ Hampshire with two rounds remaining in a series that pays 26 points to the winner.

All Lawrence needed was to keep from crashing and finishing deep in the field. He did so much more.

A modest start put Lawrence fifth in the opening laps. If that was more traffic than Lawrence wanted to navigate, one would never know it as he settled in behind Austin Forkner and the two riders who were supposed to challenge for the title rode nose to tail for most of the race.

Forkner cleared the path; Lawrence followed him through and when the checkers waved, Forkner had his 12th career 250 win, which places him fourth on the all-time list.

In second, Lawrence secured the championship.

“I’ve dreamed of this since I was a little kid,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “All the hard work us and the team put in. All the hard times we’ve gone through. This is one night makes all that disappear. If I knew I was going to get a result like this, I’d do it all over again.”

When the dust settled over the 250 Main, Lawrence had a 53-point advantage on the strength of four wins to Hamsphire’s one.

“My brother back home was such a big part of this,” Lawrence said. “I am so pumped that he was able to help me and I was able to help him. I wouldn’t be here without him. I feel like he should get a Number 1 plate also, because he was such a big part of this.”

Hunter Lawrence was scheduled to ride in the 250 East division, but an off-season injury to Jett forced them to switch positions.

Hunter in embroiled in a battle with Christian Craig in the 250 West division, but trails by 23. He needs to finish ahead of Craig or within two points next week in Denver in order to push the championship to the season finale in Salt Lake City, Utah.

For Forkner, it was redemption after missing much of the season to an injury sustained in the Texas Triple Crown in Arlington after he and Lawrence had a mid-air collision that re-injured a broken collarbone.

“It’s been two years, maybe more since I won a Supercross race,” Forkner told Christien. “I had some injuries the past two years and it sucks. I had to miss some races and I was starting to think I may not have it anymore.

“I came back from this injury with so much momentum and motivation.”

Forkner’s last 250 win was in June, 2020 in Salt Lake City.

Forkner is ninth in the points and could potentially move up two more spots with one round remaining.

Pierce Brown established the lead early in the 250 East Main after winning his heat by four seconds over Lawrence. He withstood a hard charge from Hampshire, before getting overtaken by Forkner in the closing laps. He held on to stand on the podium.

Still trying to keep pressure on Lawrence for the title, or at least push the battle into one more week, Hampshire challenged Brown until he went down with four minutes remaining on the clock. The incident happened as the pair battled for the lead. Hampshire ended the day sixth.

Mitchell Oldenburg in fourth and Kyle Chisholm rounded 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

ROUND 13, ST LOUIS: Marvin Musquin scores first win of 2022 in Triple Crown format

ROUND 14, ATLANTA: Jason Anderson keeps the pressure on with win

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

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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