Round 5 of the 2019 Supercross season came down to who made the least costly mistake. Eli Tomac got hung up on a tough block with three laps remaining and lost 10 seconds while he extricated himself. Fortunately, he had a 26 second lead at the time and held his advantage. His trouble wasn’t over yet, however; on the final lap, he also had to avoid a fallen Alex Ray before he was able to ascend to the top step of the podium.
Marvin Musquin took advantage of a bobble by Roczen on the final straight of the final lap to score his third consecutive runner-up finish.
Roczen grabbed the hole shot, but gave the lead away when he fell off the first tabletop. Roczen recovered and climbed to second until Musquin passed him on the final lap. He crossed under the checkers third, to score his fifth top-five in five races this season.
“I got a perfect start,” Roczen told NBCSN after the race. “I really jumped out of the gate – hooked up great. Almost went down in the first turn. It was really slippery. I threw it away in the second turn over there. I couldn’t believe it because having a clear track there would have really helped.”
Mud is a great equalizer and it contributed to a pair of best season finishes for the drivers finishing fourth and fifth. Fourth-place Justin Bogle’s previous best this year was a 10th in last week’s Oakland race. Chad Reed finished fifth after scoring ninths at Anaheim in the opener and again at Oakland.
Rain pelted San Diego before the race began making this the muddiest weekend of the season. As a result of the conditions, the Main events for both the 450 and 250 class were shortened by five minutes.
In total, more than half the field scored or tied their best result of the season including sixth-place Aaron Plessinger and seventh-place Joey Savatgy.
Justin Hill crashed in qualification. He was taken to the hospital to evaluate whether he sustained a rib injury.
On Lap 6, Cooper Webb went down while running fifth. Webb got hard on the brake when Musquin stopped abruptly in front of him. Webb fell to eighth in the rundown and lost his points lead. Webb left San Diego fourth in the standings – eight markers behind Tomac.
It is important to get an early lead with a heavy track – especially in a shortened Main. By Lap 3, Adam Cianciarulo had a 12-second lead over Dylan Ferrandis. With his sizeable lead, Cianciarulo was able to ride a smart race and finished 8.574 seconds ahead of Garrett Marchbanks to score his third victory of the season. With that win, he took the points lead as the West division takes a couple of weeks off.
Marchbank’s second-place finish was a career best.
James Decotis scored his best finish of the season in third. It was his second top five, following a fifth at Glendale.
Shane McElrath had a terrible weekend. He dropped to 16th in his heat and had to use the LCQ to advance. He fell again early in the Main and was forced to work his way from 20th on Lap 1. McElrath climbed all the way to fourth and missed the podium by one position.
Jess Pettis rounded out the top five in fifth and scored his best career result.
Colt Nichols entered San Diego with the points lead by three over Cianciarulo. He was a victim of the mud on the opening laps and dropped to 15th-place position at the end of Lap 3. He finished 10th and lost three positions in the standings.
On the last lap, Dylan Ferrandis got stuck in the mud and could not make his way to the finish line. He dropped from second to seventh with the incident.
450 Heat 1: Ken Roczen needed the confidence that comes with a heat win – and he got it. … Points leader Cooper Webb had a promising start to the weekend with his second place finish. … Joey Savatgy rounded out the top three. … Justin Barcia won the opening round of the Supercross season in the mud at Anaheim; he finished fourth in his Round 5 heat.
450 Heat 2: Eli Tomac took the lead from Aaron Plessinger on the final lap of the heat as the two riders finished 1-2. … Plessinger and Justin Bogle swapped the lead on Lap 1. … Marvin Musquin finished third. … Bogle went down twice midway through the heat. He recovered with the lead after the first fall; he was less fortunate with the second trip to the ground while trying to clear his clutch handle of mud. Bogle faded to fifth, but finished in a transfer position.
450 Last Chance Qualifier: Ben Lamay made his third Main of the season; he finished 18th in both Anaheim races. … Lamay beat Theodore Pauli, Alex Ray and Carlen Gardner, who also transferred. This is Pauli’s first Main.
250 Heat 1: Dylan Ferrandis mastered the mud in the first heat and beat Adam Cianciarulo by .774 seconds. Enzo Lopes finished a distant 30 seconds behind in third. In the six-minute, heat only seven riders finished on the lead lap. … On the opening lap, Jerry Robin caught the edge of a jump and ate the landing.
250 Heat 2: RJ Hampshire found the inside rut in Turn 1 of Lap 1 and grabbed the lead over points leader Colt Nichols; they held their positions until the checkers. It was the second heat win of the year. … James Decotis rounded out the top three. … Shane McElrath – who was third entering the event – got mired behind Hampshire at the gate drop and fell back early. He kept falling and finished 16th in the 20-bike field.
250 Last Chance Qualifier: Garrett Marchbanks scored his first LCQ victory over Shane McElrath. Deegan Vonlossberg and Chris Howell also advanced to the Main.
Eli Tomac (106) (1 win)
Marvin Musquin (102)
Ken Roczen (102)
Cooper Webb (98) (2)
Blake Baggett (80) (1)
Dean Wilson (80)
Defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence is a proud Texan who hates to lose. But if there’s one person Torrence likely doesn’t mind seeing win if he can’t reach the winner’s circle – particularly if it’s on home turf – it’s father Billy.
Steve was cheering his father on as the latter boosted his own championship hopes Sunday by winning the Top Fuel category in the final eliminations of the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in the Dallas suburb of Ennis, Texas.
Billy Torrence (3.775 seconds at 319.67 mph) defeated Jordan Vandergriff (4.299 seconds, 246.03 mph in his first career final round) for his fourth win of the season, including his second win in the first four races of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. With the fifth Top Fuel triumph of his career, the elder Torrence moved into fourth in the Top Fuel standings, just 71 points behind his son with two races remaining in the Countdown.
Even though Billy’s son lost in the opening round Sunday, he still leads the Top Fuel standings, holding a 33-point lead over second-ranked Doug Kalitta and a 46-point lead over third-ranked and the weekend’s No. 1 qualifier, Brittany Force.
Sunday marked the third consecutive win in this year’s playoffs for the father-son combo and their second straight triumph at Dallas (Steve won there last year as part of an unprecedented sweep of the six-race Countdown en route to the championship).
“It’s home turf and we love to race here,” Billy Torrence said after visiting the winner’s circle. “We’ve raced here our whole career and we have a lot of fans here. There’s no better place to race than Dallas, Texas, and we did have the best car today.
“It has been very humbling, and we’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have the success we’ve had. We’ve got a great group of guys on both cars and our success is just a testament to the work these guys do. I think that we’re probably the second-best car in the country, with Steve having the best. We’ve had a stellar season.”
In Funny Car: Matt Hagan (3.909 seconds at 327.59 mph) roared to his third win of the season – as well as his third at the Motorplex – and the 32nd victory of his career, defeating Bob Tasca (3.928 seconds at 323.12 mph). Hagan also moved up to fourth in the standings.
“We had a great race car today,” Hagan said. “Qualifying was pretty tough, but to turn on four win lights was pretty huge. (Tasca) is a great driver and those guys are good, so I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
“We’re just trying to keep some momentum going, keep doing our job and control what we can control. It was a pretty special weekend. We’ve just got to keep digging and keep working. I love this sport and it’s been a big part of my life for 10 years. I knew (crew chief Dickie Venables) was tuned in and you could see he was confident, and that builds confidence in me.”
Robert Hight continues to lead the Funny Car standings, followed by Jack Beckman (70 points back) and No. 1 qualifier John Force (74 points back).
In Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (6.609 seconds at 209.75 mph) defeated longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.610 seconds at 207.56 mph) to earn his third win of the season, fifth of his career at the Motorplex and 94th of his overall Pro Stock career.
It was the 102nd time Anderson and Coughlin, who qualified No. 1 for the weekend, have met each other in a race, including the 21st time in the final round.
“We’ve had so many titanic clashes with so much on the line, and I knew it would be close,” said Anderson, who is seventh in points. “It’s a total team effort and that’s what it takes to win a national event in Pro Stock right now. You’ve got to have perfection every time out there.
“We made a lot of changes this week and we hit on it. It showed it on Saturday and I knew coming into today we had a chance. Now it’s a matter of if I can drive the car well enough. I can’t tell you who’s going to win this thing because everybody right now can beat everybody else.”
Erica Enders held on to her lead in the category, but saw the margin over second-ranked Matt Hartford drop to only 28 points. Coughlin is third (-65 points) and Anderson is seventh (-99 points).
In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jerry “Alligator Farmer” Savoie (6.881 seconds at 195.90 mph) took a big step towards potentially earning his second PSM championship in the last three seasons, defeating three-time champion Eddie Krawiec (6.901 seconds at 195.62 mph).
It was Savoie’s third win of the season and 12th of his career. It’s also his second win in the first four playoff races and fifth straight appearance in the final round at the Motorplex. He’s now third in the PSM standings, 94 points behind five-time champion Andrew Hines.
“It was a great day and we knew we had a good bike coming in,” Savoie said. “We said if we held our composure we could win this thing. For the most part, tracks favor certain riders and we’ve been blessed here. It’s a great place and today was great.
“Bottom line, I want a championship just as bad as anybody else, so whoever is in my way I’m going to do everything I can to try and beat them. I felt good and we’ve got a great team. To me, this win gives you more hope and means a lot. This gives you that window of opportunity where you could win a championship again.”
NOTES: Only two races remain this season: Las Vegas in two weeks (Oct. 31 – Nov. 3) and Pomona, California four weeks from now (Nov. 14 – 17).
TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Jordan Vandergriff; 3. Brittany Force; 4. Austin Prock; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Antron Brown; 7. Shawn Reed; 8. Lee Callaway; 9. Steve Torrence; 10. Terry McMillen; 11. Doug Kalitta; 12. Kebin Kinsley; 13. Mike Salinas; 14. Cameron Ferre; 15. Clay Millican; 16. Richie Crampton.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. John Force; 4. Robert Hight; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 6. J.R. Todd; 7. Jack Beckman; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Paul Lee; 12. Blake Alexander; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Jeff Arend; 16. Jonnie Lindberg.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Jeg Coughlin; 3. Deric Kramer; 4. Matt Hartford; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Chris McGaha; 7. Aaron Stanfield; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Jason Line; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 11. Val Smeland; 12. Kenny Delco; 13. Shane Tucker; 14. Fernando Cuadra; 15. Alex Laughlin; 16. Richie Stevens.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Angelle Sampey; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Steve Johnson; 6. Karen Stoffer; 7. Scotty Pollacheck; 8. Matt Smith; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Ryan Oehler; 11. Angie Smith; 12. Hector Arana Jr; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Michael Ray; 15. Jianna Salinas.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 2,437; 2. Jack Beckman, 2,367; 3. John Force, 2,363; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,325; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,315; 6. Ron Capps, 2,302; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,274; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,243; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,239; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,188.
PRO STOCK: 1. Erica Enders, 2,395; 2. Matt Hartford, 2,367; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 2,330; 4. Jason Line, 2,327; 5. Deric Kramer, 2,323; 6. Bo Butner, 2,321; 7. Greg Anderson, 2,296; 8. Alex Laughlin, 2,239; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,217; 10. Val Smeland, 2,124.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,464; 2. Karen Stoffer, 2,383; 3. Jerry Savoie, 2,370; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,365; 5. Matt Smith, 2,297; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,274; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,248; 8. Angie Smith, 2,181; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,159; 10. Hector Arana, 2,128.