Supercross Preview: Eli Tomac bids for back-to-back wins

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After sweeping the top five in the first four rounds, Eli Tomac earned his first win of the 2019 Supercross season at San Diego last week. And with an average finish of third so far this year, he grabbed the lead from Cooper Webb who struggled to an eighth-place finish.

Last year’s Minneapolis race was a Triple Crown event with Tomac taking the overall victory on the strength of a win in the first race. This could afford him the opportunity to pad his advantage. Marvin Musquin won race two with Jason Anderson taking the third race of the weekend.

Another couple of pre-season favorites lined up behind Tomac in San Diego with Musquin earning his third consecutive runner-up finish and Ken Roczen completing his own season sweep of the top five with a third.

Mud was a great equalizer, however, and more than half of the 450 class earned season-best results including fourth-place Justin Bogle and a fifth-place for mud-specialist Chad Reed.

The open question this week will be whether some of the early season dark horses can ride back to the front or whether the favorites will maintain their positions. Minneapolis is a straightforward track with a lot of rhythm sections, some interesting combinations, and only one set of whoops. Veterans should quickly find the groove.

A long straight leading into a sweeping left-hand turn will allow riders to go side by side into the first rhythm section.

In the 250 class , the East hosts its first race so the riders will be fresh and ready to roll.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 2 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 8 p.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports, Gold

Last Week:

Eli Tomac won over Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo won his second consecutive race and third of the season over Garrett Marchbanks and James Decotis in the 250 class.

Last year:

Eli Tomac beat Jason Anderson and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Jeremy Martin beat Zach Osborne and Jordon Smith in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[2] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)
[1] Eli Tomac (San Diego)

250 West:
[3] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale, Oakland, San Diego)
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (5)
Eli Tomac (5)
Marvin Musquin (4)
Cooper Webb (3)
Dean Wilson (2)
Blake Baggett (2)
Justin Barcia (1)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Chad Reed (1)

250 West:
Shane McElrath (5)
Adam Cianciarulo (5)
Colt Nichols (4)
RJ Hampshire (3)
Dylan Ferrandis (3)
James Decotis (2)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (106)
Marvin Musquin (102)
Ken Roczen (102)
Cooper Webb (98)
Dean Wilson (80)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (114)
Shane McElrath (105)
Colt Nichols (104)
Dylan Ferrandis (102)
RJ Hampshire (75)

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

Live race coverage of IMSA’s Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCsports.com and the NBC Sports app with an encore presentation of the race airing later in the evening at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter