Supercross Preview: Three races, three winners – will Oakland make four?

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Three weeks have produced three different winners in the 450 and 250 classes in Monster Energy Supercross competition and with the absence of some big names on the top step of the podium, Oakland might well produce another unique victor.

That is especially likely in 450s, where two of the three winners in 2019 have scored their first career wins. Blake Baggett ascended to the top for the first time In Glendale, Ariz. Last week, Cooper Webb grabbed his first win in the second Anaheim race. Even Justin Barcia in Round 1 had only two previous wins to his credit.

Take last year’s champions Jason Anderson out of the mix after a practice crash early in the week left him with a broken arm, cracked rib and lengthy recovery, and it’s anyone’s race to win. Anderson will be out for an estimated eight weeks as he recuperates.

The course this week will be made up of mostly doubles including one on which the riders will get major air before slamming into a hairpin that leads the whoops, another 180 and the finish line.

Ken Roczen keeps the red plate for the second week, but he’s still looking for his first win since his injury. Last week, it appeared he was on his way to a great event when he led 13 of 14 laps in the first Main of the Triple Crown only to be passed by Webb on the final lap. In the second and third Mains, he finished fifth and fourth to get an overall finish of fourth.

Colt Nichols also hangs onto his red plate for another week. His overall finish of third last week was just enough for a two-point advantage over the Anaheim II winner Shane McElrath.

During the week, Barcia was evaluated for a bruised tailbone after he took a hard landing and was helped from the track in the third Main at Anaheim II. He is expected to ride at Oakland.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 4 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 9 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold (Replay: Jan. 27, 3 p.m. on NBCSN)

Last Week:

Cooper Webb beat Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac in the 450 class.
Shane McElrath beat Dylan Ferrandis and Colt Nichols in the 250 class.

Last year:

Jason Anderson beat Ken Roczen and Blake Baggett in the 450 class.
Aaron Plessinger beat Joey Savatgy and Justin Hill in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)
[1] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II)

250s:
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

Points Leaders

450s:
Ken Roczen (63)
Eli Tomac (61)
Cooper Webb (57)
Justin Barcia (56)
Marvin Musquin (56)

250s:
Colt Nichols (70)
Shane McElrath (68)
Dylan Ferrandis (63)
Adam Cianciarulo (62)
RJ Hampshire (57)

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Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.