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Eli Tomac, Austin Forkner win Daytona Supercross

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On a monster of a track that rewards stamina above all else, Eli Tomac scored his third Daytona win by nearly seven seconds over Cooper Webb in Round 10 of the Monster Energy Supercross season.

“(I) went huge off the wall to finish the pass (on Blake Baggett) and then after that I felt really good,” Tomac told NBCSN after the race.

Feeling good, Tomac settled into a comfortable rhythm in the second half of the race.

Tomac jumped from fourth to second in the standings. And while the win shaved only three points off a points lead for Webb that currently stands at 19, it was the type of moral victory needed for the Cortex, Colo. native after an up and down season that has seen him win three times, but has also seen him finish worse than fifth on three occasions.

Webb lost much of his ground in the second half of the race as he was pestered relentlessly by teammate Marvin Musquin. The rider of the No. 25 was pressuring Webb with two laps to go – trying to get his less experienced rival to make a mistake. Instead, it was Musquin that bobbled when he bogged down in the sand and lost five seconds. Musquin held onto to finish third.

That Musquin could challenge for second was an accomplishment. He had to overcome an off track excursion early in the race. On Lap 6 while riding third, he rode off course and then stalled his bike in the next corner, losing two positions in the process.

Blake Baggett took the early lead and held if for three laps until Tomac got around. He fell Webb on Lap 5 and Musquin on Lap 10 of 18 before finishing fourth.

Joey Savatgy was fifth to earn his third top five of the season.

Ken Roczen was a victim of the sand and it caused him to miss the top five for the first time this year. He wrecked on Lap 1 and fell to 19th. Roczen mounted a charge, but once he got to eighth, he could go no further. It was a bitter disappointment for a rider who should have been one of the favorites on the tough track.

In his first 450s race of the season, Shane McElrath finished 12th.

On Lap 5 Aaron Plessinger had a hard dismount on the pit road rhythm section and limped off the track. Lying on the ground, he motioned feverishly toward his leg calling for medical support. He finished last, and later revealed on Instagram that he suffered a broken heel in the incident.

Complete Results
Points Standings

250s

Austin Forkner added another milestone to his 2019 season. Beating Chase Sexton to the line by nearly six seconds, he won his fourth win at the place where the Supercross series began. Unlike much of the season, Forkner was not entirely uncontested this time. Exiting Turn 1 on Lap 1 he was in second after Kyle Peters blasted around Forkner and Sexton in the first hairpin.

Peters led for the first two laps as Forkner was embroiled in a spirited battle with Sexton. It took a lap to resolve that issue and then Forkner bided his time before outpowering Peters down the pit road rhythm section.

“This was one of the ruttiest tracks I’ve ridden all year,” Forkner told NBCSN after the race. “They’ve all been pretty gnarly – East Coast dirt tends to do that – but this one specifically (was) – especially with the sand, was tough.”

Sexton held onto second.

“I’ve just got to get that win,” Sexton said. “It hurts watching Austin beat me every race now, so I’ve got just get out there and get ahead of him.”

Justin Cooper was never out of contention for a podium finish. Riding no worse than fourth during the 14-lap feature, he settled into a comfortable spot and beat fourth-place Mitchell Oldenburg by 13 seconds.

Alex Martin rounded out the top five.

Peters faded to seventh at the finish.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Heat 1: Eli Tomac grabbed the early lead  and took an easy win over Ken Roczen and Dean Wilson. … Zach Osborne braked a little too hard on the final lap and got his weight over the bars. He crashed and was not able to keep the pressure on fourth-place Chad Reed. Osborne finished fifth. …
250 West rider Shane McElrath advanced to his first 450 feature with an eighth-place finish.

450 Heat 2: Blake Baggett rode past Cole Seely midway through the heat and held on to win. … Cooper Webb got a slow start and entered the first hairpin third in line. He went down, but got back up and maintained a transfer position through Lap 1. He was seventh at the time, but rode like a man possessed and charged past Seely in the final turn to grab second. … Webb’s pass on Seeley put the rider of the No. 14 in a precarious position that allowed Joey Savatgy to ride past after a little contact. … Seely went from second to fourth in that last turn.

450 Last Chance Qualifier: Mike Alessi passed won the LCQ and advanced to his 123rd career feature, passing James Stewart on the all time start list. … He beat Kyle Chisholm and Chris Blose. … The final transfer spot was not decided until the finish line. Scott Champion and Dakota Alix drag raced to the line with Champion prevailing by .084 seconds.

250 Heat 1: To no one’s surprise, Austin Forkner ran away from the field and beat Alex Martin to the checkers by 17.623 seconds. Mitchell Oldenburg rounded out the top three. … Joshua Cartwright buried his front wheel early in the heat and took a while to right his bike; he finished 14th.

250 Heat 2: Justin Cooper took the lead from Jordan Bailey on Lap 3 and held on to the end to earn his first heat win of the season. … Bailey maintained second, but narrowly held off Brandon Hartranft by .574 seconds. … The dramatic run of the heat was put in by Chase Sexton. He got the holeshot, but took the first sandy hairpin aggressively, clipped a tough block and laid his bike down in front of the entire field. He dropped to 14th at the end of Lap 1, but rebounded to eighth by Lap 2 – ultimately finishing the race in fourth.

250 Last Chance Qualifier: Lorenzo Locurcio got the holeshot twice and led till the end of the LCQ. … He beat Steven Clarke by nearly eight seconds. TJ Albright rounded out the top three. … A ferocious battle for fourth and the final transfer spot resolved in Luke Neese’s favor on Lap 3. … A full restart was necessary following a crash in Turn 1 involving Lane Shaw and Joshua Cartwright among others. Cartwright restarted

Points Leaders

450s
Cooper Webb (222) (5 wins)
Eli Tomac (203) (3 wins)
Marvin Musquin (203)
Ken Roczen (201)
Blake Baggett (161) (1 win)

250s West
Adam Cianciarulo (140 points) (4 wins)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123) (1)
Colt Nichols (120) (1)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250s East
Austin Forkner (125 points) (4 wins)
Justin Cooper (102)
Chase Sexton (102)
Alex Martin (78)
Martin Davalos (71)
Brandon Hartranft (71)

Top 5s

450 top 5s
Ken Roczen: 9
Marvin Musquin: 8
Cooper Webb: 8
Eli Tomac: 7
Blake Baggett: 6
Joey Savatgy: 3
Dean Wilson: 2
Chad Reed: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Barcia: 1
Justin Bogle: 1
Justin Brayton: 1
Aaron Plessinger: 1

250 West top 5s
Adam Cianciarulo: 6
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 4
Dylan Ferrandis: 4
RJ Hampshire: 3
James Decotis: 2
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1

250 East top 5s
Austin Forkner: 5
Justin Cooper: 5
Chase Sexton: 5
Jordon Smith: 3
Martin Davalos: 2
Alex Martin: 2
Mitchell Oldenburg: 1

Next race: March 16, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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View from the pits: Reporters’ picks for the 103rd Indianapolis 500

INDYCAR / Jason Porter
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It’s Race Day in Indianapolis, and for the first time, the Indianapolis 500 will be on NBC.

Time will tell what impact Mother Nature has on today’s 103rd Running of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. But no matter what, prerace coverage begins today on NBCSN at 9 a.m. ET, then transitions over to NBC at 11 a.m. ET.

All month long, the INDYCAR on NBC pit reporters have been bringing you the latest breaking news and stories for the Brickyard. Now, Kevin Lee, Kelli Stavast and Marty Snider share their insights from pit road. Read on …

KEVIN LEE

Throughout the last two weeks, one common theme has been, “Don’t crash.” There were five crashes, and four of those teams/drivers ended up in the Last Row Shootout. Two of the three bumped (Patricio O’Ward and Fernando Alonso) were in backup cars following heavy impacts.

Several drivers have consistently been among the strongest. Simon Pagenaud (pictured, left) not only starts on pole but has been strong in race trim as well. All three Ed Carpenter Racing cars are fast and appear good in traffic. Alexander Rossi looks like he can put his car wherever he wants, and Scott Dixon has five championships and 44 IndyCar wins, so he must be watched.

In order, my picks for most likely to drink the milk are Pagenaud, Rossi, Ed Carpenter, Will Power and Dixon.

KELLI STAVAST

A week ago, no one could have predicted that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso and McLaren Racing would be bumped from the Indy 500 by a single-car, part-time effort of Juncos Racing and its driver, Kyle Kaiser (pictured, right).  But it happened, and Kaiser now occupies the 33rd and final spot in the Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

So what next?  I spoke with Kyle five days after the dramatic qualifying effort, and he told me he has never been happier to finish last and that he is still “buzzing” from that experience—an energy he hopes to carry straight through to the race.  He also told me that the response from fans has been positive with people stopping him in public (including at Chipotle) to hug him and congratulate him on making the Big Show.

But reality might have set in for the Californian who now lives in Indy.  During Carb Day’s final practice, the team struggled to get a good handling car for Kyle, who described the day as “challenging.”  But Kaiser also acknowledged that the team made some progress throughout the practice and at the very least collected some data that might help for the 500-miler on Sunday.

Whether he finishes 1st or 31st on Sunday, Kyle Kaiser and Juncos Racing will have plenty of fond memories to carry with them from the 103rd Indy 500.

MARTY SNIDER

First, we cannot wait to bring you guys the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500. It’s an honor for our entire group to broadcast such an amazing event.

So what do we expect? I have no idea, to be honest. The weather will be a huge factor today. It might be a race to halfway if rain is forecast.  If it’s cooler (mid 70’s ambient, which it looks like it’s going to be), Alexander Rossi (pictured, left) was unstoppable in those conditions last Monday.

But Rossi was very unhappy with his car on Carb Day. For that matter, most teams were. But Rob Edwards of Andretti Autosport explained a few things to Rossi about all of the experimenting they were doing in final practice, and I think that team is in a much better frame of mind heading into the race.

I find it interesting that Simon Pagenaud’s team scuffed in literally every set of tires they will use for today’s race. The No. 22 camp is convinced (and they’re not wrong) that one of the keys to Will Power’s 2018 win was his ability to gain time on out laps after pit stops. Scuffing in tires helps that out lap time. It also allows teams to do a balance check on tires. Good thing they did: Kyle Moyer of Team Penske found two sets that had vibrations, which would have been bad in the race.

Bottom line, I haven’t seen anyone really stand out and show me they can beat Alexander Rossi yet. So I’m going with Rossi to win his second Indy 500.

Enjoy the show friends. It’s going to be a fantastic race!