2022 Supercross Power Rankings after Round 15: Chase Sexton dethrones Eli Tomac


Chase Sexton has been the hottest rider in the Monster Energy Supercross 450 class during the past month and a half as he dethroned Eli Tomac from the top of the Power Rankings after Round 15. This ends an 11-round streak for Tomac that began after San Diego in Week 3.

Beginning with a second-place finish in his heat and a fourth in the main on his home state track in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sexton has a perfect streak of top-fives in both heats and features. He missed the races in Seattle, Washington after suffering a practice crash, but since then he has stood on the overall podium in three races and earned two heat wins and a Triple Crown feature. In a season of ‘what might have been,” Sexton’s surge at the end of the season looms large.

As Tomac closes in on the 2022 championship, he rode a safe race last week at Foxborough, Massachusetts and that cost him the top spot. Finishing seventh in the main is the first time in the past 45 days that he failed to finish in the top five, but he can wrap up the championship in his home state of Colorado with a solid finish of sixth or better.

MORE: Justin Anderson denies Eli Tomac his crown for one more week

To keep his championship hopes alive, Jason Anderson has earned back-to-back wins in the past two weeks. He surged three positions up the chart to tie Tomac for second in the Power Rankings. In the past 45 days, he has two sixth-place finishes, but that is offset by three heat wins and his recent trophies.

Marvin Musquin continues to be impressive with top-fives in every recent appearance except his 10th in the feature at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Four of his last five features ended on the podium, including his first 2022 win at St. Louis three weeks ago.

Rounding out the top five is Justin Barcia, who slipped from third. He also has a near-perfect record of top-five finishes in the past 45 days with only a sixth-place finish in the Atlanta feature holding him back.

450 Rankings

1. Chase Sexton (last week: 4); [1 feature win, 8 heat wins]
2. Eli Tomac (1); [7 feature wins, 6 heat wins]
2. Jason Anderson (5); [5 feature wins; 7 heat wins]
4. Marvin Musquin (2); [1 feature win, 2 heat wins]
5. Justin Barcia (3); [3 heat wins]
6. Cooper Webb (8); [3 heat wins]
7. Malcolm Stewart (6); [3 heat wins]
8. Justin Brayton (7)
9. Vince Friese (9)
10. Kyle Chisholm (10)
11. Brandon Hartranft (11)
12. Justin Bogle (12)
13. Dean Wilson (13)
14. Justin Starling (14)
15. Ryan Breece (15)
16. Cade Clason (16)
17. Henry Miller (NA)
18. Benny Bloss (18)
19. Alex Martin (20)
20. John Short (17)

Triple Crown wins included with Heat wins

With one standalone round and a combined shootout to go in the 2022 season for the 250 West riders, Christian Craig holds onto the top spot overall, but in a tight battle, Jett Lawrence could overtake him in the finale at Salt Lake City.

Lawrence has already snagged the red plate for 2023 with his second-place finish in both the Foxborough feature and heat. Last week, all he needed to do in order to secure the title was finish among the leaders, but he outperformed those expectations by a wide margin.

Kyle Chisholm advanced to second among the East riders and was fifth overall with a heat win and fifth-place finish in the feature. Chisholm has failed to crack the top five only twice this season in the 250 class with a 12th in the Detroit main as his low water mark.

Austin Forkner returned from injury two weeks ago and won his second heat of the season. He completed the comeback in Foxborough with a feature win ahead of champion Lawrence – adding another “what might have been” to 2022’s list.

Fourth in the East standings and 10th overall, Mitchell Oldenburg has been the model of consistency with results of sixth or better in 16 of his last 18 races this season.

Pierce Brown earned his third heat victory last week in Foxborough and rounds out the top five among the 250 East riders. He backed that up with his second overall podium of 2022.

250 Rankings

1. Christian Craig – W (1); [4 feature wins, 9 heat wins]
2. Jett Lawrence – E (2); [4 feature wins, 5 heat wins]
3. Hunter Lawrence – W (4); [3 feature wins, 2 heat wins]
4. Michael Mosiman – W (3); [1 feature win, 3 heat wins]
5. Kyle Chisholm – E (6); [1 heat win]
6. Jo Shimoda – W (8)
7. Austin Forkner – E (9); [1 feature win, 2 heat wins]
8. RJ Hampshire – W (5); [1 feature win, 3 heat wins]
9. Vince Friese – W (7); [1 heat win]
10. Mitchell Oldenburg – E (11)
11. Nate Thrasher – W (12)
12. Pierce Brown – E (14); [3 heat wins]
13. Garrett Marchbanks – W (10)
14. Jalek Swoll – W (18)
15. Jace Owen – E (15)
16. Jordon Smith – E (15)
17. Enzo Lopes – E (18)
18. Phil Nicoletti – E (17)
19. Carson Brown – W (23)
20. Chris Blose – W (13)

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: Tomac remains on top as competition levels

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 5 AT GLENDALE: Malcolm Stewart move up as Tomac stays No. 1

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 6 AT ANAHEIM: Jason Anderson closes the gap

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 7 AT MINNEAPOLIS: Jett Lawrence steps up to challenge Craig in 250s

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 8 AT ARLINGTON: Consistency once more give Tomac a Triple Crown win

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 9 AT DAYTONA: Tomac rides historic wave into the second half of 2022

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 10 AT DETROIT: Tomac holds position as Lawrence moves up


POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 12 AT SEATTLE: Stewart’s turn at second

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 13 AT ST LOUIS: Marvin Musquin’s win elevates rider

POWER RANKINGS AFTER ROUND 14 AT ATLANTA: East/West Shootout shakes up 250s

‘It’s gnarly, bro’: IndyCar drivers face new challenge on streets of downtown Detroit

IndyCar Detroit downtown
James Black/Penske Entertainment

DETROIT – It was the 1968 motion picture, “Winning” when actress Joanne Woodward asked Paul Newman if he were going to Milwaukee in the days after he won the Indianapolis 500 as driver Frank Capua.

“Everybody goes to Milwaukee after Indianapolis,” Newman responded near the end of the film.

Milwaukee was a mainstay as the race on the weekend after the Indianapolis 500 for decades, but since 2012, the first race after the Indy 500 has been Detroit at Belle Isle Park.

This year, there is a twist.

Instead of IndyCar racing at the Belle Isle State Park, it’s the streets of downtown Detroit on a race course that is quite reminiscent of the old Formula One and CART race course that was used from 1982 to 1991.

Formula One competed in the United States Grand Prix from 1982 to 1988. Beginning in 1989, CART took over the famed street race through 1991. In 1992, the race was moved to Belle Isle, where it was held through last year (with a 2009-2011 hiatus after the Great Recession).

The Penske Corp. is the promoter of this race, and they did a lot of good at Belle Isle, including saving the Scott Fountain, modernizing the Belle Isle Casino, and basically cleaning up the park for Detroit citizens to enjoy.

The race, however, had outgrown the venue. Roger Penske had big ideas to create an even bigger event and moving it back to downtown Detroit benefitted race sponsor Chevrolet. The footprint of the race course goes around General Motors world headquarters in the GM Renaissance Center – the centerpiece building of Detroit’s modernized skyline.

INDYCAR IN DETROITEntry list, schedule, TV info for this weekend

JOSEF’S FAMILY TIESNewgarden wins Indy 500 with wisdom of father, wife

Motor City is about to roar with the sound of Chevrolet and Honda engines this weekend as the NTT IndyCar Series is the featured race on the nine-turn, 1.7-mile temporary street course.

It’s perhaps the most unique street course on the IndyCar schedule because of the bumps on the streets and the only split pit lane in the series.

The pit lanes has stalls on opposing sides and four lanes across an unusual rectangular pit area (but still only one entry and exit).

Combine that, with the bumps and the NTT IndyCar Series drivers look forward to a wild ride in Motor City.

“It’s gnarly, bro,” Arrow McLaren driver Pato O’Ward said before posting the fastest time in Friday’s first practice. “It will be very interesting because the closest thing that I can see it being like is Toronto-like surfaces with more of a Long Beach-esque layout.

“There’s less room for error than Long Beach. There’s no curbs. You’ve got walls. I think very unique to this place.

PRACTICE RESULTS: Speeds from the first session

“Then it’s a bit of Nashville built into it. The braking zones look really very bumpy. Certain pavements don’t look bumpy but with how the asphalt and concrete is laid out, there’s undulation with it. So, you can imagine the cars are going to be smashing on every single undulation because we’re going to go through those sections fairly fast, and obviously the cars are pretty low. I don’t know.

“It looks fun, man. It’s definitely going to be a challenge. It’s going to be learning through every single session, not just for drivers and teams but for race control. For everyone.

“Everybody has to go into it knowing not every call is going to be smooth. It’s a tall task to ask from such a demanding racetrack. I think it’ll ask a lot from the race cars as well.”

The track is bumpy, but O’Ward indicated he would be surprised if it is bumper than Nashville. By comparison to Toronto, driving at slow speed is quite smooth, but fast speed is very bumpy.

“This is a mix of Nashville high-speed characteristics and Toronto slow speed in significant areas,” O’Ward said. “I think it’ll be a mix of a lot of street courses we go to, and the layout looks like more space than Nashville, which is really tight from Turn 4 to 8. It looks to be a bit more spacious as a whole track, but it’ll get tight in multiple areas.”

The concept of having four-wide pit stops is something that excites the 24-year-old driver from Monterey, Mexico.

“I think it’s innovation, bro,” O’Ward said. “If it works out, we’ll look like heroes.

“If it doesn’t, we tried.”

Because of the four lanes on pit road, there is a blend line the drivers will have to adhere to. Otherwise, it would be chaos leaving the pits compared to a normal two-lane pit road.

“If it wasn’t there, there’d be guys fighting for real estate where there’s one car that fits, and there’d be cars crashing in pit lane,” O’Ward said. “I get why they did that. It’s the same for everybody. I don’t think there’s a lot of room to play with. That’s the problem.

“But it looks freaking gnarly for sure. Oh my God, that’s going to be crazy.”

Alex Palou of Chip Ganassi Racing believes the best passing areas will be on the long straights because of the bumps in the turns. That is where much of the action will be in terms of gaining or losing a position in the race.

“It will also be really easy to defend in my opinion,” Palou said. “Being a 180-degree corner, you just have to go on the inside and that’s it. There’s going to be passes for sure but its’ going to be risky.

“Turn 1, if someone dives in, you end up in the wall. They’re not going to be able to pass you on the exit, so maybe with the straight being so long you can actually pass before you end up on the braking zone.”

Palou’s teammate, Marcus Ericsson, was at the Honda simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana, before coming to Detroit and said he was shocked by the amount of bumps on the simulator.

Race promoter Bud Denker, the President of Penske Corporation, and Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix President Michael Montri, sent the track crews onto the streets with grinders to smooth out the bumps on the race course several weeks ago.

“They’ve done a decent amount of work, and even doing the track walk, it looked a lot better than what we expected,” Ericsson said. “I don’t think it’ll be too bad. I hope not. That’ll be something to take into account.

“I think the track layout doesn’t look like the most fun. Maybe not the most challenging. But I love these types of tracks with rules everywhere. It’s a big challenge, and you have to build up to it. That’s the types of tracks that I love to drive. It’s a very much Marcus Ericsson type of track. I like it.”

Scott Dixon, who was second fastest in the opening session, has competed on many new street circuits throughout his legendary racing career. The six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion for Chip Ganassi Racing likes the track layout, even with the unusual pit lane.

I don’t think that’s going to be something that catches on where every track becomes a double barrel,” Dixon said. “It’s new and interesting.

“As far as pit exit, I think Toronto exit is worse with how the wall sticks out. I think in both lanes, you’ve got enough lead time to make it and most guys will make a good decision.”

It wasn’t until shortly after 3 p.m. ET on Friday that the IndyCar drivers began the extended 90-minute practice session to try out the race course for the first time in real life.

As expected, there were several sketchy moments, but no major crashes during the first session despite 19 local yellow flags for incidents and two red flags.

Rookie Agustin Canapino had to cut his practice short after some damage to his No. 78 Dallara-Chevrolet, but he was among many who emerged mostly unscathed from scrapes with the wall.

“It was honestly less carnage than I expected,” said Andretti Autosport’s Kyle Kirkwood, who was third fastest in the practice after coming off his first career IndyCar victory in the most recent street race at Long Beach in April. “I think a lot of people went off in the runoffs, but no one actually hit the wall (too hard), which actually surprised me. Hats off to them for keeping it clean, including myself.

“It was quite a bit less grip than I think everyone expected. Maybe a little bit more bumpy down into Turn 3 than everyone expected. But overall they did a good job between the two manufacturers. I’m sure everyone had pretty much the same we were able to base everything off of. We felt pretty close to maximum right away.”

Most of the preparation for this event was done either on the General Motors Simulator in Huntersville, North Carolina, or the Honda Performance Development simulator in Brownsburg, Indiana.

“Now, we have simulators that can scan the track, so we have done plenty of laps already,” Power told NBC Sports. “They have ground and resurfaced a lot of the track, so it should be smoother.

“But nothing beats real-world experience. It’s going to be a learning experience in the first session.”

As a Team Penske driver, Power and his teammates were consulted about the progress and layout of the Detroit street course. They were shown what was possible with the streets that were available.

“We gave some input back after we were on the similar what might be ground and things like that,” Power said.

Racing on the streets of Belle Isle was a fairly pleasant experience for the fans and corporate sponsor that compete in the race.

But the vibe at the new location gives this a “big event” feel.

“The atmosphere is a lot better,” Power said. “The location, the accessibility for the fans, the crowd that will be here, it’s much easier. I think it will be a much better event.

“It feels like a Long Beach, only in a much bigger city. That is what street course racing is all about.”

Because the track promoter is also the team owner, Power and teammates Scott McLaughlin and Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden will have a very busy weekend on the track, and with sponsor and personal appearances.

“That’s what pays the bills and allows us to do this,” Power said.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500