Supercross Preview: Justin Barcia leads riders to Glendale

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On Saturday, Jan. 12 Justin Barcia and the rest of the Monster Energy Supercross riders head to State Farm Stadium in Glendale Ariz. for the second round of the 2019 season.

Barcia and Colt Nichols will bolt on red plates as the points leaders after scoring victories last week in Anaheim, Calif.  For Barcia, this is the first time in his career that he has been decked out in red.

With a retractable roof on State Farm Stadium, there will not be a repeat of last week’s muddy conditions, but Barcia has a good opportunity to replicate his performance and keep the top spot after finishing second in last year’s Glendale round.

Long whoops sections will require riders to triple-jump coming and going with sharp 180 degree turns providing dramatic passing zones.

Ken Roczen is looking for his first win in two years with his last coming in San Diego on Jan. 14, 2017. Roczen has four podiums in his last six events, including last week. He also stood on the podium last year in Glendale with a third-place finish.

Last year’s champion Jason Anderson struggled in the mud at Anaheim and dropped from third at the gate to 14th at the checkers. He finished fourth at Glendale last year, but it was a distant fourth nearly 12 seconds behind Eli Tomac and 15.355 seconds off the lead.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 3:00 pm on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 9:00 on NBCSN, or stream live by clicking here

Last Week:

Justin Barcia beat Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac in the 450 class.
Colt Nichols beat Dylan Ferrandis and Shane McElrath in the 250 class.

Last year:

Eli Tomac beat Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Aaron Plessinger beat Shane McElrath and Adam Cianciarulo in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Justin Barcia (26)
Ken Roczen (23)
Eli Tomac (21)
Dean Wilson (19)
Cooper Webb (18)

250s:
Colt Nichols (26)
Dylan Ferrandis (23)
Shane McElrath (21)
RJ Hampshire (19)
Adam Cianciarulo (18)

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Five things to watch for in Bommarito Auto Group 500 at Gateway

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There have been five different winners in the last five weeks of the NTT IndyCar season and driver that kicked off that streak in Elkhart Lake is in desperate need of a victory to help close the points gap to the leader. After being involved in the Lap 1 accident at Pocono Raceway last week, Alexander Rossi sits 35 points behind Josef Newgarden. Rossi’s two victories this season have come on road courses.

This week’s Bommarito Auto Group 500 the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway is the third race on this track since IndyCar first revisited it in 2017. Newgarden took the checkers in 2017; Will Power grabbed the glory last year. Gateway also hosted races from 2001-2003.

Here are some of the storylines to watch this Sunday:

  1. For most of the drivers in the field, this will mark only their third time to race at Gateway, but two drivers were around in 2003 when IndyCar visited this track previously. Scott Dixon finished 15th in that race. He found the handle when Indy returned in 2017 to finish second and then third last year. Tony Kanaan was second in 2003; unfortunately he went the other direction and has not scored a top-10 at Gateway since.
  2. If one is looking for perfection on this track type, Simon Pagenaud is the only driver to sweep the top 10 on ovals in the past two years. In his last 10 starts on them, he has garnered an average finish of 5.2; his last five attempts have been sixth or better including a win in this year’s Indy 500. Pagenaud finished third at Gateway in 2017 and was fourth last year.
  3. The top two drivers in the points standings should also challenge for a top-five this week. Rossi was perfect alongside Pagenaud on ovals until his accident last week at Pocono with a sweep of the top 10 and seven top-fives in his last nine races. Newgarden also has nine top-10s and a worst of 13th on ovals in the past two years.
  4. Don’t count Dixon out of the points battle yet. While he currently sits 52 points out of first, Dixon is the hottest driver on the circuit with a current streak of five top-fives to his credit including his victory at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago. His oval record is a little spottier with two runner-up finishes and two 17th-place finishes in the last four races.
  5. Last week’s first-lap carnage ended Rossi’s top-10 streak at seven, but one other driver was able to sneak through and extend his. Graham Rahal will vie for his ninth consecutive top-10 this week, but that success is questionable in light of his Gateway record. Rahal finished 12th in 2017 and was barely able to crack the top 10 in 10th last year.

See More: IndyCar championship contenders seeing fortunes rise and drop

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