Honda needed 45 seconds to approve Graham Rahal racing a Chevrolet in the Indy 500

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INDIANAPOLIS – The initial approval from Honda Performance Development for Graham Rahal to race a Chevy in the 107th Indy 500 took less than a minute.

“I got asked and said it was OK,” HPD president and technical director David Salters told NBC Sports in a Thursday interview at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “So it was pretty easy.”

After being bumped from the Indy 500 by teammate Jack Harvey in a tense Last Chance Qualifying session Sunday, Rahal surprisingly re-entered the field two days later when he replaced Stefan Wilson (who was ruled out with a fractured vertebrae after a practice crash Monday with Katherine Legge, Rahal’s teammate).

When first contacted by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing/Cusick Motorsports about driving the No. 24 Chevrolet, Rahal was skeptical as a Honda driver for all 249 starts during his 15 seasons in the NTT IndyCar Series. In a Tuesday news conference, he characterized crossing manufacturer lines as “massive” hurdles and initially told co-owner Dennis Reinbold, “I don’t want to waste your time.”

But Rahal was stunned by how quickly his father, Bobby, worked out a deal with Reinbold and the blessing of Honda and Chevy.

Salters said Honda considered the big picture when approving the unusual arrangement.

“This is still a sport, and you have athletes competing,” Salters said. “If we can help an athlete compete at the highest level and Graham has been part of the family. If we can help Graham, good. If we can help the sport, good. We want to see 33 cars on the grid.

“So after that, it was a pretty easy, grown-up decision. Let’s just look after the sport. When you watch the Indy 500, particularly if you come here, it’s incredibly special. There’s nothing quite like it. I’ve done a lot of racing, luckily. I’ve been fortunate enough to spend 15 years in F1, many years (in IndyCar) now, IMSA sports cars. They’re all different. I love the sports car stuff. I love the Formula One stuff. And coming to the Indy 500 is incredibly special. Everyone has to come once, don’t they? So to help contribute in a sporting way to that felt quite nice.”

“Honda is a racing company, so we appreciate going racing. We also are very proud of our racing heritage and what we do. Our brand all goes into that. But it was a nice way to be sporting.

“It’s a sport. Let’s be sporting where we can. You’re still trying to fight each other. We’re still doing all the things we normally do, which brings brilliant competition to the fans. But in this case, it was a little bit different, and it’s a sporting thing, so it wasn’t hard.”

After being contacted by Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing about making the move, Chuck Schifsky, the manager for Honda & Acura Motorsports, called Salters for “literally a 45-second conversation.

“David said, ‘Yep, we should do this; it’s the right thing to do,’” Schifsky said. “I said, ‘All right, it’s done. Now what?’ That was literally it.”

In all major league racing series, manufacturers generally are leery about allowing drivers to align with a rival. Beyond the potential dissemination of competitive secrets, automakers also invest millions in branding their stars as spokespeople.

“You put a lot of effort into it,” Salters said. “You’re protective of your IP. But this transcended a bit of that, I think. Because it is the Indy 500 and it’s a sporting thing, and all that sort of stuff. Yeah, where you can, you’ve got to weigh it out. But this seemed the right thing to do in this particular case.”

Rahal will complete his first install laps today in the No. 24 Chevy ahead of Carb Day final practice Friday.

Wilson underwent successful surgery Wednesday night and shared a video update via social media.

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