There was no shortage of quality racing this past weekend: the Verizon IndyCar Series’ two-day round Barber Motorsports Park, NHRA’s return to the lanes in Houston, the American Rally Association season opener in Oregon, and a thrilling finish between Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac in Monster Energy Supercross action at Gillette Stadium. Whether you were watching two wheels or four, chances are you got your money’s worth out of your tickets or an entertaining show on TV.
So who were the most impressive drivers (and riders) in this weekend’s action? We highlight four of the top performances of the weekend—and they didn’t always necessarily come from race winners:
Verizon IndyCar Series: Josef Newgarden
Newgarden became IndyCar’s first repeat winner of the season in Alabama, successfully repeating last year’s win at Barber by leading almost the entire race over its two-day duration. The defending series champion extended Team Penske’s series records of 199 all-time victories and six wins in nine tries at the track. Newgarden’s win also made him the first three-time winner at Barber and enabled him to reclaim the points lead by 13 over Long Beach winner Alexander Rossi.
American Rally Association: Jeff Seehorn
No disrespect intended to David Higgins and Craig Drew, who returned to the top step of the ARA podium this weekend, but Seehorn and Karen Jankowski excelled on the way to both the Limited 4WD class victory and second place overall. Most impressive was the fact that they were nearly three minutes closer to the overall lead than they were last year; they finished only six minutes and three seconds behind the Subaru Rally Team USA superpower, and beat Ken Block’s much-discussed Ford Escort Cosworth and Barry McKenna’s turbo Ford Fiesta S2000 in the process.
Monster Energy Supercross: Jeremy Martin
No, Martin didn’t win (or even crack the podium) at Gillette Stadium in the 250SX class, but he showed that he was one of the most impressive riders in the field in other ways. After posting the top qualifying time and winning his heat, his hopes for a race victory went down when he did on the first lap. But coming from last place, he made an astounding comeback in the 15-minute final, climbing all the way to fourth at the checkered flag. There’s nothing more impressive than a Supercross rider on a mission.
NHRA: J.R. Todd
Two weeks after Steve Torrence became the first repeat winner of 2018 in the Top Fuel class, Todd became the first back-to-back winner of the season with a Funny Car victory at Royal Purple Raceway. Coming into the weekend, the Kalitta Motorsports driver had never even made it to back-to-back finals; on Sunday, he stared down top qualifier Robert Hight in the final round after beating Tommy Johnson Jr., Jeff Diehl, and Tim Wilkerson in the first three rounds of eliminations. Todd beat Hight to the finish line by .038 seconds to take home the Wally.