Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen may be rookies to the 450 Class, but they’ve looked like seasoned pros all year long on the track.
Roczen, the current points leader in the 450 Class, has excelled throughout the season, while Tomac has finished on the podium at all three rounds he’s raced since returning from a broken collarbone last month. They had some great battles in the 250 Class last season, but for the first time in their 450 Class careers, they went head-to-head for a moto win in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship today at Spring Creek.
After a lengthy duel, Tomac finally passed Roczen with about four minutes left on the countdown clock and immediately put a gap on him. The GEICO Honda rider went on to take the checkered flag and earn the first moto win of his career in the 450 Class.
“For me, my goal was to come into these last rounds and do this right here,” Tomac said after the race. “To meet this expectation is awesome, and I just need to do it one more time and get this overall [win].”
For full highlights from 450 Moto 1 at Spring Creek, watch the video at the top of the page.
The second 450 Class moto will be streaming live on ProMotocross.com and NBC Sports.com Live Extra at 4:00 PM E.T., followed by the second 250 Class moto. Click here to access the Live Extra stream.
Second motos in both classes will also be televised on NBCSN later tonight starting at 6:00 PM E.T.
Carlos Sainz Jr.
Teams: Scuderia Toro Rosso (1-16), Renault (17-20)
Car No.: 33
Best Finish: P4 (Singapore)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 9th
Carlos Sainz Jr. has always been compared to Max Verstappen given their relative rise and stint together at Toro Rosso, but the Spaniard began to forge his own impressive path through 2017, securing himself a works drive with Renault in the process.
Alongside the struggling Daniil Kvyat for much of the season, Sainz led Toro Rosso’s charge, scoring 48 of its 53 points with a string of impressive drives. His headline moment came in Singapore when he matched Verstappen’s best result in Toro Rosso colors by finishing fourth, capitalizing on the start-line crash and the wet weather with a strong display.
Sainz’s displays led to a call from Renault, who announced just two days before his star display in Singapore he would be joining up for 2018 on loan from Red Bull. However, the deal was accelerated after a deal was brokered to secure Jolyon Palmer’s departure, allowing Sainz to join up from the United States GP onwards.
Sainz made an immediate impression, completing a perfect race en route to seventh on debut for Renault to secure six points that would prove crucial in the final constructors’ championship standings as the French team beat Toro Rosso to P6 in the standings at the last race of the year.
Red Bull retains an option on Sainz’s future beyond 2018, making him a candidate for a seat with its senior team should Daniel Ricciardo opt to leave. Failing that, Renault could offer Sainz the platform he needs to continue his rapid rise in F1 and establish himself at the front of the pack for many years to come.
Season High: Finishing fourth in Singapore after dodging the start-line drama.
Season Low: Crashing out in his final Toro Rosso appearance on the first lap at Suzuka.