Full-field Indianapolis 500 practice yields some interesting possibilities for race day


INDIANAPOLIS – Team Penske driver and 2018 Indy 500 winner Will Power said he never has raced closer behind another car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

That is why he expects Sunday’s 107th Indianapolis 500 to be tighter and closer than ever.

“Oh, it’s going to be easy to pass, not in the pack but at the front, because you’ve added downforce,” Power told NBC Sports after Monday’s two-hour practice. “You actually haven’t added much drag. The cars are about the same speed because they’re very efficient, aero bits or strakes and some floor stuff, so it’s not big draggy wicker on the wing or anything. It’s the closest I’ve ever been able to run to a car at this place without an issue.

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“I think, yeah, the front three will race pretty hard. It would be ridiculous to have enough downforce for everyone to pass, but the one thing there is, is there’s tire deg, so I think that will create good racing in the pack.”

Power was the fastest driver in Monday’s two-hour, full-field practice session at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the best lap of the day, 229.222 mph around the 2.5-mile oval. The driver of the No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet ran 88 laps.

Six-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon was second at 229.184 mph in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. He is the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Dixon ran a total of 67 laps.

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato was third at 228.382 mph in the No. 11 Deloitte Honda for Chip Ganassi Racing. He lapped the track 58 times. His teammate, 2023 Indy 500 pole-sitter and 2021 IndyCar Series champion Alex Palou, was fourth at 227.392 mph. He ran 53 laps.

Arrow McLaren Racing driver and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan rounded out the top five at 227.094 mph in the No. 66 Chevrolet.

Christian Lundgaard of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing ran 90 laps, the most of any driver on Monday. He was 17th fastest in race trim.

PRACTICE SPEEDS: Monday’s session l Combined

The full field completed 2,005 laps in the two-hour session that was halted for about 20 minutes after Katherine Legge and Stefan Wilson had the first crash of this year’s Indianapolis 500 preliminaries.

Wilson was taken to IU Health Methodist Hospital and ruled out of the race with a fractured vertebrae. Legge was treated and released from the IU Health Infield Hospital at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Power used Monday’s test session as a simulation of Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 to see what his Team Penske Chevrolet is capable of doing in the race.

“We learned a lot, actually,” he said. “We’ve been having vibration problems. I think we got somewhat on top of that, ran at the front, ran in the middle, ran in the back. I think the car is pretty good.

“I think we’re in a good spot, really good spot.

“I think Chevy has a bit of an advantage on the power, as well. I feel like we have good horsepower, and I think we’re in good shape. A lot of people who are extremely good, a lot of teams.

“It’s almost going to be a day of no mistakes in the pits and just keeping out of trouble on track to give yourself a shot at the end.

“The package I have, you can run on the gearbox.”

Power starts 12th in Sunday’s 107th Indy 500 and is the only Team Penske driver that made Sunday’s “Fast 12” in qualifications. Teammates Scott McLaughlin starts 14th and Josef Newgarden 17th.

Power is the only driver at Team Penske that has won the Indy 500.

Because Power is starting 12th, he positioned himself in that position during Monday’s runs to see how the car will handle being that far back in the opening laps of the race.

“You try to be about 12 cars back, knowing where you’re starting, hoping that you maintain or maybe go forward a bit,” Power explained. “You just sit behind a car leading to kind of see where you can run and where the air is, so you spend a few laps behind someone.

“Just finding where the wake is good and bad.”

With 30 of the 33 cars in the starting lineup all over 230 miles per hour in qualifications, the boost level drops back to the normal settings from qualification weekend. But Power expects the actual race pace to be extremely tight, especially with the changed IndyCar has made to the aerodynamic package for this year’s race.

The cars now have more lower downforce and more drag, which allows the cars to run closer together and potentially make passing a car in front easier.

“You’ve got to be on your toes always,” Power said. “You can never relax. It’s so fast. It’s so easy to get a push-off, so easy to sort of clip a wall. Someone has a mistake in front of you, it’s just a fast place. It’s really — everything happens extremely quick.

“It’s actually a really good package. That’s why no one has really crashed, which means it’ll be a very fierce race. I think it’ll be very tight. Maybe there’s more accidents in the race.

“IndyCar, they want to switch and back, no one leading; that’s what it is. It’s going to be a good battle.

“I think it makes for better racing. It needed some deg. Yeah, a good hot day, I think it’ll be a good race. Colder day would be pretty tight.”

Marco Andretti starts his 18th Indianapolis 500 in 24th position. He was seventh in Monday’s final practice session and explained the dramatic difference between the way his car felt in qualifications and in the race setup.

“Well, qualifying is mostly just speed and how fast your car is going to go,” Andretti said. “The race is running in traffic. It’s a different beast.

“My car goes when it’s behind other cars, but when nobody is there to tow me in qualifying, we’re slow. It’s comfortable and we can run a lot of throttle in race situations.

“Yeah, I guess if I had to pick, I’d rather have a race car than a qualifying car. However, it’s become more of a track position race in the past five years.

“I think we’re pretty good, actually. Third year in a row with no track position, but I think if it’s able to materialize with strategy and stuff like that, I think we have a car to stay there.

“Yeah, it’s pretty tough to pass three or four back. I’m sure there’s been a theme. I’m not sure what is actually causing that, but I think to be honest, the new aero rules just allow that snake to be even closer, so when you get the runs on people, you pop into clean air and drag, and the car you’re trying to pass has a 20-car draft, so he beats you to the corner. So, it makes it very tough to pass.

“I think adding the downforce made that snake on the straightaway that you see even closer.

“It makes it pretty difficult to make hay, but it is 500 miles, and we’ve seen this race end up crazy. We’re ready to fight. We have a car to fight.”

There is no track activity for the next three days. The next time the Indy cars are on track is the last time they hit the Speedway before Sunday’s race. That is the final two-hour practice session on Carb Day.

“I hate Carb Day, man,” Andretti said. “I think it’s fun for the fans. That’s about it. Carb Day you always seem to just question everything, all the work you’ve done for months.

“I like to use it as like a reaffirmation of being decent. I don’t like really chasing the track. I don’t like changing things on Carb Day because I don’t know, you always end up chasing your tail.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500 

Motocross 2023: Results and points after season opener at Fox Raceway


It was not the first time it has been done, but a rider winning in his Motocross debut is rare as the results show Jett Lawrence swept the motos at Fox Raceway in Pala, California and took the early points lead.

Dylan Ferrandis may not be quite 100 percent yet, but he was good enough to finish on the podium at Fox Raceway – Align Media

Lawrence became the 16th rider to win in his Motocross debut and was the 10th rider to do so in the season opener, At 19, he wasn’t the youngest to perform the feat; Rick Johnson was 17 in 1982 when he won the lidlifter at Hangtown, the site of next week’s race, but Lawrence’s inaugural win bodes well. The last time a rider performed this feat, Dylan Ferrandis went on to win the 2021 Motocross championship as a rookie in 2021.

Ferrandis did not sweep the motos that season while Lawrence’s performance on Saturday was perfect. He paced both practice sessions, earned the holeshot in each race and finished first in both motos after leading every lap to score maximum points. Lawrence started the weekend needing 85 points to climb into 20th in the combined SuperMotocross standings for the 450 class. Earning 50 with his perfect Motocross results at Fox Raceway, he is nearly 60 percent of the way to his goal.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Results; Click here for 250 Results

Chase Sexton was second across the board. He qualified in the second position and finished 2-2 in his motos. In the first race, he was a relatively distant runner-up behind Lawrence, crossing the finish line a little more than 10 seconds ahead. He got a great start in Moto 2 and pushed Lawrence for the entire race, never getting further back than three seconds. He tried to pressure Lawrence into making a mistake, but both riders hardly put a wheel wrong and they finished within a second of one another.

Returning from a concussion suffered in the Houston Supercross race earlier this season and exacerbated at Daytona, Ferrandis finished third in both motos to take third overall. His most important task at hand this week was to avoid trouble and start the Motocross season healthy at Fox Raceway so he can begin to accumulate strong results and move up in SuperMotocross points.

Ferrandis entered this round 25th in the standings and left Pala in 19th. With that position, he has an automatic invitation to the feature starting grid in the SuperMotocross World Championship as long as he does not fall back.

Click here for 450 Moto 1 [Lap Chart] | Moto 2 [Lap Chart] | Consolation Race

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb both ended the race with 34 points, but Plessinger had the tiebreaker with a better finish in the second race. Notably, both riders sustained injury sometime during the season, but Plessinger had an advantage by coming back a week sooner in Salt Lak City for the Supercross finale. He finished second in that race.

Webb was cleared late in the week by doctors after being on concussion protocol from a vicious strike to his helmet in a Nashville Supercross heat race late in the season. He made a beeline to the track to run the Motocross opener. After missing last year’s outdoor season, he wanted to make certain that did not happen again. He still has a solid opportunity to catch Sexton for the No. 1 overall seed in the SuperMotocross standings., but he will need to make up 78 points.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

For the first time in history, Pro Motocross results from Fox Raceway show brothers as winners on the same day.

Battling a rib injury suffered practicing earlier in the week, Hunter Lawrence got a poor start to Moto 1 and had to overcome his 10th-place standing at the end of Lap 1. He methodically worked his way toward the front but might have settled for a position off the podium if not for heavy traffic in the closing laps. Lawrence was able to get through the field quicker than Justin Cooper and Jo Shimoda to finish third.

Hunter Lawrence overcame sore ribs to score the overall 250 win at Fox Raceway – Align Media

Lawrence’s second moto was much stronger. He earned the holeshot and led all 15 laps of the race to win by a more than eight seconds.

Haiden Deegan didn’t feel any pressure heading into this round. No one expected much in his third Motocross National and he would have been happy with anything in the top five. At least that’s what he said in the post-race news conference. Deegan said similar things after finishing fourth in his first Supercross race this season. In a stacked field of 40 riders at Fox Raceway, “Danger Boy” finished sixth in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2 for the second-place finish overall.

Click here for 250 Moto 1 [Lap Chart] | Moto 2 [Lap Chart] | Consolation Race

In only his third Pro Motocross National, Haiden Deegan finished second overall. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire had an eventful weekend. He dominated Moto 1 and won by a healthy margin, making a statement about how he will race now that Jett Lawrence is no longer in the field. He was a victim of mayhem in Turn 2 of Moto 2, which forced him to the ground. Another crash on an uphill portion of the track later that same lap put him in 39th. Hampshire salvaged as many points as he could and finished 11th in the second race to stand on the final box of the podium.

Tom Vialle came within a lap of scoring his first career podium. He had the position based on a tiebreaker over Justin Cooper and Maximus Vohland until Hampshire passed two riders on the final lap and earned one point more than that threesome. Instead, Vialle settled for his first podium in an individual moto with a 7-3 in the two races. More accustomed to this style of racing, Vialle will be a factor in the coming rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Cooper finished with a 5-4 in the two motos to sweep the top five and take fourth-place overall. Cooper started five rounds in the 450 class in Supercross this season and none on a 250, so he is starting with zero points in the SuperMotocross seeding, but with runs like this it won’t take long to make up the 89 he needs to climb to 20th.

One of the best performances of the weekend was put in by Vohland. He finished second in Moto 1 and had to withstand pressure from Lawrence in the closing lap. A poor start of 16th in the second race forced him to play catchup and he could only climb to ninth at the checkers.

2023 Supercross Results

Round 17: Chase Sexton, Jett Lawrence win
Round 16: Chase Sexton, RJ Hampshire win
Round 15: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 14: Justin Barcia, Max Anstie win
Round 13: Chase Sexton, Hunter Lawrence win
Round 12: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Eli Tomac, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Round 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 16: Chase Sexton takes SX title
Week 15: Eli Tomac is back on top
Week 14: Justin Barcia, most of top 20, hold steady
Week 13: Barcia leapfrogs the Big Three
Week 12: Eli Tomac gains momentum
Week 11: Cooper Webb, Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
Week 10: Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Sexton unseats Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s