2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Supercross finale: Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence end with wins


The 2023 Monster Energy Supercross champions topped the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings after the season finale with wins in Round 17 for Chase Sexton in the 450 class and Jett Lawrence in his 250s’ swan song.

SuperMotocross Rankings season finale
Adam Cianciarulo ended the 2023 season with back-to-back top-five finishes. – Feld Motor Sports

After Round 10 in Detroit, it was obvious Sexton needed a little help to win the championship. But to even be in a position to capitalize on that help, he needed to eliminate the costly mistakes that put him in third place, trailing Eli Tomac by 17. He gave up more points the following week with a fifth in Seatle before settling into a near-perfect run to end the season.

Sexton finished second in Glendale and then won four of the final five races. The only time he stumbled was in the mud race in New Jersey but even then, he survived the conditions to score a top-five.

MORE: Chase Sexton ends season in style with three wins

Dramatic injuries altered the final two rounds. Eli Tomac ruptured his Achilles tendon in Denver and Cooper Webb suffered a concussion in Nashville, which opened the door for Sexton, but he did all he could by winning both rounds. Even with the injury and 22-place finish in Denver and after missing the season finale, Tomac ended 2023 the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings second. Webb fell to sixth.

In Salt Lake City, Ken Roczen had an opportunity to overtake Webb for third in Supercross championship points; all he needed was to earn two points in Round 17. On Lap 1, Roczen hyper extended his knee and rode to the medical trailer. Earning just one point on the day, he failed to move up the chart. Roczen has committed to being a Supercross specialist and even without the injury was unlikely to show up in two weeks at Pala, California for the start of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season.

Adam Cianciarulo scored a dramatic podium two weeks ago in Denver. That was not only his first podium of the season, it was his first top-five after finishing between sixth and 10th in 10 of his previous 12 rounds. Granted, the field had thinned appreciably by that point, but the third-place finish that week gave the rider confidence entering the Supercross season finale and has allowed him to rise to third among active riders in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

A rash of injuries opened the door for other riders to climb up the ranks.

Dean Wilson finished outside the top 10 in his first 11 rounds, but he finally cracked that mark in Glendale, Arizona. He stayed in the front half of the field for the next four weekends and finally earned a top-five in Salt Lake City. The NBC Power Rankings looks back at the last 45 days, which places Wilson seventh overall with three injured riders above him. His average for the entire season would be 17th.

Justin Hill is another rider who kept getting better as the season progressed. Thirteenth or worst in the first six rounds, he improved to score six top-10s in the next eight. He was fifth in Nashville with his first top-five of the year and improved in each successive round until he finally scored his first career podium in the season finale at Salt Lake City and ended the season fifth among uninjured riders in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

450 Rankings

Driver Percentage
1. Chase Sexton 90.57 1 0
2. Eli Tomac
81.00 3 1
3. Ken Roczen 80.14 2 -1
4. Justin Barcia
79.40 4 0
5. Adam Cianciarulo 77.00 5 0
6. Cooper Webb
74.78 6 0
7. Dean Wilson 67.86 8 1
8. Justin Hill 67.57 7 -1
9. Aaron Plessinger 66.63 9 0
10. Colt Nichols 62.08 10 0
11. Kyle Chisholm 58.36 11 0
12. Shane McElrath 54.93 13 1
13. Josh Hill 54.93 14 1
14. Jason Anderson
54.60 12 -2
15. Grant Harlan 46.43 16 1
16. Benny Bloss 44.44 15 -1
17. Kevin Moranz 43.57 17 0
18. Tristan Lane 42.22 20 2
19. Justin Starling 42.14 21 2
20. Devin Simonson 41.11 24 4

Supercross 450 Points

From the moment Jett Lawrence clinched the 250 West championship in Denver, he insisted his mind was on the impending move to the 450 class. He wasn’t going to worry about the final East/West Showdown and the opportunity to faceoff against his brother Hunter Lawrence for one last time. In the Supercross season finale, it actually wasn’t the battle with Hunter that kicked Jett’s competitive juices into overdrive, but when he saw his closest West competitor RJ Hampshire ahead of him, he had to get that final win and move up in the NBC SuperMotocross Power Rankings.

SuperMotocross Rankings season finale
Jett and Hunter Lawrence each had No. 1 plates in Salt Lake City after winning their divisions. – Feld Motor Sports.

Hunter Lawrence clinched the 250 East title one week previously in Nashville with his seventh win of the season. To that point, he had a perfect record of podium finishes and in several races was forced to overcome poor starts. Salt Lake City proved to be too much. Hunter was involved in a Lap 1 accident that landed him to 10th on a rain-slicked track. He climbed to sixth at the checkers, but that was enough to drop him to second in the Power Rankings. Hunter will race a 250 in the Motocross portion of the season, so it’s inevitable that he will rise to the top again.

After finishing second to Jett five times in the first seven rounds of the 250 West schedule, Hampsire finally beat his rival in Denver. The win was one of the sweetest of his career. He wanted to close out the season with a pair of victories. When he looked over his shoulder on Lap 1 in Salt Lake City, he knew he was in for a long race; Jett was on his back tire. Finishing second to the 250 West champion for the sixth time, Hampshire earned his seventh podium of 2023, which makes him best-in-class. The Lawrence brothers were in a league of their own in 2023.

Supercross 250 Points

Levi Kitchen closed out his season on a high note. His only podium in the first five rounds was an overall win in the Anaheim 2 Triple Crown, but for most of the opening rounds he was prone to making mistakes. He finished third in Glendale, struggled in the mud race in New Jersey, but then finished off the season with back-to-back podiums at Denver and Salt Lake City, solidifying him fourth among uninjured riders in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after the season finale.

It will be interesting to see how high Jo Shimoda can climb in the Power Rankings when the Motocross season starts at Pala. He missed most of the opening rounds to injury and then roared back with a top-five finish in his first race of 2023. Shimoda finished fourth on the tough Atlanta Motor Speedway infield track and earned three top-fives in the four rounds he made. Given his success on the hybrid track and his second-place standing last year in Motocross points, he is certainly a driver to watch.

250 Rankings

Driver Percentage
1. Jett Lawrence – W 90.43 2 1
2. Hunter Lawrence – E 89.94 1 -1
3. RJ Hampshire – W 86.64 4 1
4. Cameron McAdoo – W
86.25 3 -1
5. Levi Kitchen – W 82.71 6 1
6. Nate Thrasher – E
81.42 5 -1
7. Jo Shimoda – E 81.38 7 0
8. Haiden Deegan – E 78.44 8 0
9. Jordon Smith – E 77.41 11 2
10. Pierce Brown – W 77.00 10 0
11. Enzo Lopes – W 75.64 9 -2
12. Max Anstie – E 73.56 12 0
13. Chris Blose – E 70.06 15 2
14. Max Vohland – W 69.77 14 0
15. Jeremy Martin – E 69.31 13 -2
16. Mitchell Oldenburg – W 67.42 16 0
17. Carson Mumford – W 64.58 19 2
18. Tom Vialle – E 62.44 17 -1
19. Chance Hymas – E 61.33 18 -1
20. Michael Mosiman – E 59.83 20 0

* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days for the 450 class and last 90 days for 250s (because of the split nature of their season).

POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 13 AT ATLANTA: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big 3
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Roczen moves up, Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage

‘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

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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