Supercross Preview: Cooper Webb’s rivals need to make a stand in the West

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Round 12 of the Supercross season heads back to the West Coast for a trip to CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. and the separation among the top four in the 450 class is becoming the top storyline.

Despite an impressive showing in the first weeks of the season, Cooper Webb was unable to create much of a gap over his three closest contenders. The red plate changed hands several times in the opening rounds and at one point, fewer than five points separated the top four. If Webb can extend his points lead at Seattle, his fate is in his own hands and he could run the table with second-place finishes to win the championship.

Marvin Musquin has 14 points to make up to catch Webb. Eli Tomac needs 22 points. Both riders have won, but have not been nearly as productive as the leader. Meanwhile, with back-to-back eighth-place finishes and no wins, Ken Roczen has all but fallen out of tittle contention.

The 250 class is back in action this week and the burning question there is whether Adam Cianciarulo can pick up where he left off. With the exception of the East/West Showdown in Round 5 at San Diego. With four wins to his credit so far this week, he has a chance to catch 250 East rider Austin Forkner for the most victories in class.

MORE: Marvin Musquin’s Indy win may have come too late

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 7 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and 11 p.m. on NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac climbed to second in the points with his third win of the year over Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner remains perfect in the East with a win over Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper.

Last Year:

Marvin Musquin won over Dean Wilson and Justin Brayton in the 450 class.
In 250s, Jeremy Martin won over Adam Cianciarulo and Luke Renzland in the 250 class in an East/West Showdown.

Winners

450s:
[5] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Atlanta)
[3] Eli Tomac (San Diego, Detroit and Daytona)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)
[1] Marvin Musquin (Indianapolis)

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

250 East:
[5] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington, Detroit, Daytona and Indianapolis)

Top-5s

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

250 West:
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:
Austin Forkner (6)
Justin Cooper (6)
Chase Sexton (6)
Jordon Smith (3)
Martin Davalos (3)
Alex Martin (2)
Mitchell Oldenburg (2)

Points Leaders

450s:
Cooper Webb (243)
Marvin Musquin (2229)
Eli Tomac (222)
Ken Roczen (216)
Blake Baggett (184)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (140)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123)
Colt Nichols (120)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (151)
Chase Sexton (125)
Justin Cooper (123)
Alex Martin (92)
Martin Davalos (89)

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Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.