IndyCar Power Rankings: Marcus Ericsson on top as Ganassi, Penske assert strength


Three races into the season, and the NTT IndyCar Series power rankings are settling into the expected power structure.

The top 10 drivers represent what many would consider the four best teams in IndyCar: Chip Ganassi Racing, Team Penske, Arrow McLaren and Andretti Autosport.

Both Ganassi and Penske have all three of their full-time drivers rated (with championship points leader Marcus Ericsson and Alex Palou leading the way for Ganassi), and Andretti has three of its drivers represented as first-time winner Kyle Kirkwood entered the rankings for the first time.

INDYCAR AT BARBER: How to watch, schedules, start times for the race weekend

Pato O’Ward is the lone driver from Arrow McLaren. After opening 2023 with consecutive runner-up finishes, the Mexican star dropped from first to fourth in the NBC Sports Power Rankings after a disappointing Long Beach.

Heading into the Children’s of Alabama Indy Grand Prix on Sunday at Barber Motorsports Park, here’s NBC Sports’ assessment of the current top 10 drivers through three of 17 races this year (with previous ranking in parenthesis):

NBC Sports’ IndyCar Power Rankings

1. Marcus Ericsson (5) – Three races, two podiums and one long-term contract extension that the 2022 Indy 500 winner still needs to have signed by Chip Ganassi Racing. What are you waiting on, Chip?

(But congratulations are in order for the points leader: Though still expecting an offer from his team, Ericsson did sign a lifetime deal with Iris Tritsaris Jondahl last week.)

2. Alex Palou (2) – The 2021 IndyCar champion quietly is putting together a championship-caliber season just as he did in his first season at Ganassi. Just missing a victory so far this year.

3. Josef Newgarden (3) – He put up a fight after impressively working his way to the front at Long Beach before a mysterious fade in the second half (apparently because Chevrolet’s fuel mileage was lagging behind Honda).

4. Pato O’Ward (1) – After a strong Friday practice that he paced, Long Beach was mostly forgettable — from a disappointing qualifying lap to a mistake and multiple incidents during the race.

5. Romain Grosjean (9) – The Long Beach runner-up is the only driver in IndyCar with a legitimate case that he could have opened the 2023 season with three consecutive wins.

6. Kyle Kirkwood (NR) – Flawless in his first career IndyCar victory from his first pole position. In only his second year, Andretti’s budding star is emerging as one of the series’ most unflappable.

7. Scott McLaughlin (6) – Made the most of what he had during a mostly subpar weekend for Chevy teams; Team Penske driver is seeking to recapture his speed from St. Pete at Barber.

8. Colton Herta (9) – If he had qualified higher, he might have been celebrating at Long Beach instead of his teammate. But the solid weekend catapulted him into the top 10 of the points standings.

9. Scott Dixon (4) – The promise of qualifying fifth ended abruptly in a collision with O’Ward that Dixon didn’t appreciate. The shunt snapped his impressive streak of consecutive laps completed that had dated to August of 2021.

10. Will Power (NR) – Easily his cleanest race weekend of the 2023 season even despite a surprising first-round qualifying knockout. Defending series champ rebounded well from a terrible Texas.

Falling out: David Malukas (10), Callum Ilott (7).


PRESEASON: Josef Newgarden is a favorite to win third championship

RACE 1: Pato O’Ward to first; Newgarden drops out after St. Pete

RACE 2: O’Ward stays firmly on top of standings after Texas

Beta Motorcycles joins SuperMotocross in 2024, Benny Bloss named first factory rider

Beta Motorcycles 2024 Bloss
Beta Motorcycles

Benny Bloss will race for the factory Beta Motorcycles team in 2024 as that manufacturer joins SuperMotocross as the ninth brand to compete in the series. Beta Motorcycles will make their debut in the Monster Energy Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California in January.

Benny Bloss finished among the top 10 twice in Pro Motocross, in 2016 and 2018. – Beta Motorcycles

“The wait is over and we can finally share everything we have been working towards,” said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager in a press release. “It has been a great experience being a part of this development and seeing the progression. The only missing part was finding a rider that would mesh well with our Beta Family.

“After a one phone call with Benny, we knew it would be a good fit for him, and for us. We are happy to have him on board for the next two years and can’t wait to see everyone at Anaheim in January.”

Bloss debuted in the 450 class in 2015 with a 15th-place finish overall at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Bloss has a pair of top-10 rankings in the division with a sixth-place finish in the Pro Motocross Championship in 2016 and a seventh in 2018. His best Supercross season ended 15th in the standings in 2018.

“I’m extremely excited to join the Beta Factory Racing team,” Bloss said. “It’s cool to see a brand with such a rich history in off-road racing to come into the US Supercross and Motocross space. I know this team will be capable of great things as we build and go racing in 2024.”

Bloss is currently 22nd in the SuperMotocross rankings and has not raced in the first two rounds of the Motocross season.

Testing for Beta Motorcycles is scheduled to begin in August and the team expects to announce a second rider at that time.

The family-owned brand adds to the international flare of the sport. The company was founded in Florence, Italy in 1905 as Società Giuseppe Bianchi as they built handmade bicycles, The transition to motorcycle production in the late 1940s.

Beta Motorcycles competed and won in motocross competition in the late 1970s and early 1980s with Jim Pomeroy and other riders.

Beta will join Triumph Motorcycles as a second historic brand to join the sport in 2024. First established in 1902, Triumph has won in nearly every division they have competed in, dating back to their first victory in the 1908 Isle of Man TT. Triumph will debut in the 250 class in 2024 and plans to expand into 450s in 2025.