Supercross Preview: Pressure builds heading into Nashville Supercross

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Marvin Musquin is applying pressure and Cooper Webb is feeling it heading into Round 14 of the 2019 Supercross season.

When Webb took the red plate early in the season, the first question was whether he could maintain his composure until the end of the year. He answered that with victories and podiums every week, even in events where he struggled in timed qualification.

Even when Webb stumbled and finished off the podium with a fourth at Seattle, he failed to lose points because his closest championship rival, Musquin, was penalized for failing to roll safely through a crash site where medical attention was being administered.

Musquin’s back-to-back wins at Indianapolis and Seattle put pressure on Webb, however, which was noticeable by the aggressive way he treated his teammate at Houston. Webb won the day, but Musquin (2nd in points, -17) is determined that the war isn’t over.

Eli Tomac (3rd in points, -26) and Ken Roczen (4th in points, -36) are hoping the two KTM factory riders get so focused on one another that they make a mistake which turns this two-man battle into something more.

Now the series rolls into a new market for an inaugural race. Long straights and big jumps will play into Webb’s favor. If he gets off to a slow start, which he has on several occasions this season, he has ample space to make up ground.

After two weeks off, the 250 East riders will be back in action and the question on everyone’s mind in that division is whether anyone can beat Austin Forkner. With the exception of the first East/West Showdown in Atlanta, he’s won every race – and in that event, he was the top-finishing East rider.  A precedent has been set as Dylan Ferrandis has finally been able to cut into Adam Cianciarulo’s lead in the West.

MORE: The Supercross champion will have a tale of perfection to tell 

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 8 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Cooper Webb swept the podium in three Mains last week at Houston to take his sixth win of the year over Marvin Musquin and Dean Wilson.
In 250s, Dylan Ferrandis made it back-to-back wins over RJ Hampshire and Colt Nichols.

Last Year:

This will be the inaugural race in Nashville.

Winners

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

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

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

Top-5s

450s:
Marvin Musquin (11)
Cooper Webb (11)
Ken Roczen (10)
Eli Tomac (10)
Blake Baggett (7)
Joey Savatgy (4)
Dean Wilson (3)
Chad Reed (2)
Justin Barcia (2)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Justin Brayton (1)
Aaron Plessinger (1)
Cole Seely (1)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (8)
Dylan Ferrandis (6)
Shane McElrath (5)
Colt Nichols (5)
RJ Hampshire (4)
James Decotis (4)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)
Michael Mosiman (1)
Chris Blose (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 (288)
Marvin Musquin (271)
Eli Tomac (262)
Ken Roczen (252)
Blake Baggett (215)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (182)
Dylan Ferrandis (177)
Colt Nichols (142)
RJ Hampshire (126)
Shane McElrath (123)

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

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)