Marco Andretti will return to SRX to defend title; Ryan Hunter-Reay joins series full time

SRX Andretti Hunter-Reay
Dylan Buell/SRX/Getty Images

Joined by former IndyCar teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, defending SRX champion Marco Andretti will return to Superstar Racing Experience, the all-star series created by Tony Stewart.

Andretti, whose only professional racing title came last year, was among five IndyCar drivers named Tuesday to the series, which last week confirmed Stewart would return to run the full six-race season. Stewart won the inaugural SRX championship in 2021.

Andretti, who also plans to enter the Indianapolis 500 again this year, is an original SRX full-time competitor and returns for the third season of the series. SRX raced its first two years on Saturday nights but moves to ESPN this summer on Thursday nights for a recreation of the network’s original “Thursday Night Thunder” motorsports programming.

“My Thursday nights are a lot more interesting this year and looking forward to driving against even more of my fast friends this season,” Andretti said. “Can’t wait to have a shot at trying to win it again. I’m feeling more and more comfortable in the Cup guy’s sandbox.”

The Ray Evernham-designed cars used in SRX are more suited for drivers with a NASCAR background, which is why it has taken all-stars from the open-wheel disciplines a bit longer to compete for wins. But it hasn’t stopped the interest, and the crop announced Tuesday includes current IndyCar driver Josef Newgarden, Indianapolis 500 entrant Tony Kanaan, 2014 Indy 500 winner Hunter-Reay and SRX resident villain Paul Tracy, who will return for a third season.

After making his SRX debut last year, Hunter-Reay will race full time this year with his former Andretti Autosport teammate.

Helio Castroneves, a four-time winner of the Indy 500, had previously announced he’ll run three races this summer.

Newgarden, a two-time IndyCar champion, will race at the Motor Mile Speedway in Virginia on July 27. Kanaan will race at Stafford Speedway in Connecticut, Thunder Road Speedway in Vermont and Stewart-owned Eldora Speedway in Ohio.

“One of the most appealing things to me about competing in SRX is the ability to run at some of these historic short tracks where some of the legends of motorsports have competed,” Newgarden said. “Motor Mile Speedway is another historic track that has hosted racing for decades. I’ve heard it’s a true short track with demanding racing and lots of paint swapping. It should be a great race.”

SRX previously has announced planned participation from NASCAR stars Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Clint Bowyer, who will all be newcomers to the all-star series. SRX pits drivers from various disciplines in identically prepared cars.

2023 Schedule

July 13: Stafford Motor Speedway (Stafford Springs, CT)
July 20: Thunder Road Speedbowl (Barre, VT)
July 27: Motor Mile Speedway (Radford, VA)
Aug. 3: Berlin Raceway (Grand Rapids, MI)
Aug. 10: Eldora Speedway (New Weston, OH)
Aug. 17: Lucas Oil Speedway (Wheatland, MO)

Eli Tomac wins Seattle Supercross, ties Cooper Webb in championship points


In the past two weeks, Eli Tomac lost his momentum and with it the Monster Energy Supercross red plate to Cooper Webb, but a gutsy performance in Seattle gave him a sixth win of the season as he and the series heads into an off week tied. Tomac is currently tied in the points with Webb.

With this win, Tomac also ties James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list at 50 with six rounds remaining in 2023.

“I needed that bounce back,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It was almost like I was in a little bit of a slump in the past couple of weeks; just a little bit off. I’m feeling much better now. That track raced really cool. There were a lot of different lines out there.

“It was obviously very dicey early on. I got passed and then had to make those passes back.”

Tomac suffered with a stiff neck in Indianapolis two weeks ago when he lost the red plate to Webb for the first time in 2023. In that race, he scored his worst finish of the season in eighth. He lost more points in Detroit after finishing a distant third behind Chase Sexton and Webb. This is the fifth time this season that Tomac and Webb finished 1-2 in a race. Tomac has won them all, but Webb has been more consistent.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Seattle

Webb was disappointed to lose the ground to Tomac, but he will enter the Glendale, Arizona race with a red plate and a share of the points’ lead.

“It was overall a great night to get up front and get a second was great,” Webb said after the race. “Those few spots where I would get close to Eli and then make a mistake.

“The track was gnarly. It was no joke. It was cat and mouse as to who could ride the cleanest race and pick the line. I got off to a decent start, but Chase and Eli were ahead of me and I had some catchup to play and got into a good position.”

Early in the race, Sexton was indeed ahead of Webb and the remainder of the field. Another costly mistake sent Sexton to the ground. He battled back to finish fifth but is now 22 points out of the lead and in jeopardy of dropping out of championship contention unless Tomac and Webb have problems.

Rounding out the podium was Justin Barcia, who scored the third-place finish on his birthday

“Awesome ride,” Barcia said. “It was a lot of fun. I’m sure we kept the fans on their feet tonight. The track was gnarly. […] We’re searching; we’re so close to having that speed. We want it so badly. We’ll keep pushing hard and going for that win.”

Sexton’s mistake kept the three top points’ earners of 2023 from sharing the podium for the sixth time in 11 rounds, but the trio finished 1-2-3 in Heat 2 with Webb first, Sexton second and Tomac third.

The 250 West contenders were back in action after giving the last four rounds over to the East riders and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left off in Oakland: In Victory Lane. Lawrence scored his fourth win in five 250 West rounds. Last week his brother Hunter Lawrence tied Jett with 10 wins, but everyone knew it would not take long for Jett to regain the advantage.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but one race each in their respective divisions.

Lawrence rode a patient race in the Main. He settled in behind Stylez Robertson and concentrated on navigating the ruts mistake-free. He could not afford to be patient any longer when Cameron McAdoo caught up to the leaders. Lawrence found a second gear and gapped the battle for second.

An incident in their main made the battle between Lawrence and McAdoo more dramatic. While racing for second, the pair of riders ran out of room in the rhythm section. Both crashed but had a large enough lead over fourth to maintain their positions.

“It was a very eventful day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’s Daniel Blair, answering a question about the earlier contact. “[…] It’s good to be back racing. It’s been a while. I feel like I’ve had another offseason. Glad to get out in one piece tonight.”

Lawrence now has a 23-point advantage over the field with four rounds remaining.

Click here for full 250 Main Results

RJ Hampshire finished second in his race and is second in the points after a seesaw affair that produced the final pass for position just before the white flag was displayed.

“I felt like I had a pretty good pace going for a little bit,” Hampshire said. “I closed the gap and then had a couple of big mistakes that almost put me on my head. I backed it off a little bit.

“Cam actually gapped me a little more than I would have wanted. I knew I could get a push there at the end. I thought that was the last lap, which is why my pass was a little more aggressive than it should have been, but I’m stoked to be able to close the gap a little bit.”

McAdoo took the final spot on the podium. This is the fourth time in 2023 these three riders have shared the box and if not for a sixth-place finish in Anaheim 2, he would be mounting a much more formidable challenge for the points’ lead.

“The track was really demanding tonight,” McAdoo said. “It did change a lot and the key thing was to get off the rhythms every time. We were swapping back and forth.”

Enzo Lopes in fourth and Max Vohland rounded out the top five.

Robertson had the early lead but when he lost the top spot to Jett he cross rutted on the next lap, crashed hard and failed to finish.

2023 Race Recaps

Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points