Eli Tomac wins Denver Supercross, Cooper Webb slices through field

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Even if the picture went black on the television set, one would have known the moment Eli Tomac took the lead in Round 15 of the 2019 Supercross season at Denver. On Lap 7, Colorado native Tomac blazed past Marvin Musquin and rode off into the sunset with his fifth win of the year and second consecutive.

Once he snatched the lead from Musquin, Tomac steadily improved his lead – doing all in his power to turn the 450SX championship into a battle.

“That’s like what I dreamed of,” Tomac told NBCSN after the race. “That was by far the coolest crowd. The best atmosphere. They were so loud. … Coming over the triple there, battling for the lead, it was the loudest I’ve ever heard. I was so special. Frickin’ cool.”

But once again, Cooper Webb showed the composure that championships require, as he has all year long.

With less than five minutes remaining in the race, he chased down Musquin and earned his 10th podium finish of the season. Musquin was forced to settle for third and lost two more points to Webb.

Webb entered Denver with a 21-point advantage over Tomac and his teammate Musquin. On Lap 1, Webb was outside the top five. Panic could have caused him to make a mistake, but he set his sights on the top five while his two principal challengers settled into the top two spots.

Webb passed Justin Bogle for fourth on Lap 6, then had to show some patience when he caught Joey Savatgy on Lap 12. He challenged hard but smartly and climbed to the final step of the podium on Lap 13.

Bogle held on to finish fourth with Savatgy rounding out the top five.

Dean Wilson crashed on Lap 10 to bring out the red cross flag. He walked to the Medical Mule under his own power.

Complete Results
Points Standings

In 250SX, the athletes from the West had their last chance to battle without the East riders potentially clogging up their standings in the season finale East/West Showdown at Las Vegas.

The points battle is down to a two-man show between Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis, but Michael Mosiman did not let that keep him from grabbing the holeshot or riding Cianciarulo hard over the first seven laps.

On the seventh circuit around the track, the two swapped the lead several times before Cianciarulo was finally able to get the point with nine minutes remaining in the feature. He watched Mosiman make life difficult for the second-place rider, as Cianciarulo scored his fifth win of the year and heads to Nevada with a lead of eight points.

“The first obstacle was to get the start out of the way,” Cianciarulo told NBCSN after the win. “Michael Mosiman was rim riding so good the last couple of weeks. Shout out to him. Man, he really battle me for that win – a little bit more than I wanted him to, but it was great to see him not scared and not backing down.

“I’m always at my best when my back is to the wall.”

That allowed Dylan Ferrandis to make up ground lost on Lap 1. On the first lap around the Denver track, Ferrandis fell to fifth. By the time Cianciarulo settled his difference with Mosiman, the Frenchman had climbed to third and had his sights set on the runner-up position.

But Mosiman was an equal opportunity beast – challenging Ferrandis just as hard as he had the points leader.

By the time Ferrandis got around, he was nearly seven seconds behind the leader with five minutes on the clock and no chance of making up the ground. The pair were three seconds behind Cianciarulo when they began their battle; Ferrandis lost four seconds making the difficult pass.

Mosiman laid his bike down as the clock ran out and the final lap began. Colt Nichols took advantage of the fall to climb to third.

RJ Hampshire slipped past on the white flag lap with Mosiman rounding out the top five.

After fighting so hard to get into the Main with his LCQ win, Garrett Marchbanks went down hard on Lap 1 to finish 22nd.

Complete Results
Points Standings

450 Heat 1: Justin Bogle jumped out from the fifth spot on the gate to take the early lead. … Blake Baggett stayed within two seconds, but never seriously challenged and was passed for second by Zach Osborne as time was running off the clock. … Baggett held on for third. … The biggest battle of the heat was deeper in the field as Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin battled for fourth and fifth with Roczen getting the advantage at the end,

450 Heat 2: Cole Seely rode to an easy win as the battle for supremacy heated up behind him. … Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb went handlebar to handlebar early in the heat as Tomac pushed Webb a little wide. Webb survived in third, but as he caught Joey Savatgy, he bobbled on a triple jump and made the race for second into a three-man show. … When the dust settled, Tomac grabbed second, Webb was third and Savatgy settled for fourth.

450 Last Chance Qualifier: Alex Ray got the holeshot and held the advantage throughout the LCQ. … He beat Carlen Gardner to the line by a little under two seconds. … John Short slipped around Charles Lefrancois on as time was running off the clock with a short battle. … Adam Enticknap was 2.765 seconds behind the final transfer.

250 Heat 1: Colt Nichols grabbed the lead at the start and ran away with the win. … James Decotis finished nearly four seconds behind. … Chris Blose ran into the back of Cameron McAdoo, but McAdoo got back up quickly and recovered to finish third. … Blose finished 10th and failed to transfer. … Derek Kelley was in a transfer position until he crashed in the rhythm section with time running off the clock. He finished 17th.

250 Heat 2: Points leader Adam Cianciarulo snatched the lead from RJ Hampshire on Lap 4 and stretched his lead to more than three seconds at the end. … Hampshire grabbed the holeshot over the two title contenders with Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis falling into second and third on Lap 1; he held on for second. … Ferrandis was able to close the gap on Hampshire in the final laps, but settled for third. … Logan Karnow took ninth and the final transfer spot. 

250 Last Chance Qualifier: Garrett Marchbanks rode to an uneventful win over Chris Blose. … Third-place Enzo Lopes was a distant 7.65 seconds behind with Blaine Silveira nearly nine second behind Lopes (20.4 behind Marchbanks)

Points Leaders

450SX
Cooper Webb (332) (6 wins)
Eli Tomac (314) (5 wins)
Marvin Musquin (309) (2 wins)
Ken Roczen (283)
Blake Baggett (255) (1 win)

250SX West
Adam Cianciarulo (208 points) (5 wins)
Dylan Ferrandis (200) (2 wins)
Colt Nichols (163) (1 win)
RJ Hampshire (145)
James Decotis (128)

250SX East
Austin Forkner (151 points) (5 wins)
Chase Sexton (148)
Justin Cooper (144)
Martin Davalos (115) (1 win)
Mitchell Oldenburg (105)

Top 5s

450SX
Cooper Webb: 12
Marvin Musquin: 11
Eli Tomac: 11
Ken Roczen: 9
Blake Baggett: 8
Dean Wilson: 4
Joey Savatgy: 4
Chad Reed: 2
Justin Barcia: 2
Justin Bogle: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Brayton: 1
Aaron Plessinger: 1
Cole Seeley: 1
Zach Osborne: 1

250SX West
Adam Cianciarulo: 9
Dylan Ferrandis: 7
Shane McElrath: 5
Colt Nichols: 6
RJ Hampshire: 5
James Decotis: 4
Jacob Hayes: 1
Garrett Marchbanks: 1
Jess Pettis: 1
Michael Mosiman: 1
Chris Blose: 1
Michael Mosiman: 1

250SX East
Austin Forkner: 6
Justin Cooper: 7
Chase Sexton: 7
Jordon Smith: 3
Martin Davalos: 4
Alex Martin: 2
Mitchell Oldenburg: 2
Kyle Peters: 1
Brandon Hartranft: 1

Next race: April 27, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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New study surveys drivers’ opinions on crashes, concussions, more

James Black/IndyCar
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Auto racing safety has continued to improve through the decades, but the sport remains inherently dangerous, according to a new survey.

At the close of 2018, a new organization called Racing Safety United emerged with the intention of reducing drivers’ risk of being harmed.

RSU is made up of more than 30 members including former NASCAR Cup Series competitor Jerry Nadeau, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Randy LaJoie, NHRA team owner Don Schumacher and motorsports journalist Dick Berggren.

One of RSU’s first initiatives was to determine what current drivers thought of racing safety. The organization developed a 14-question survey and promoted it on select motorsports websites and forums. 

Participants were given the opportunity to disclose their identity or remain anonymous, and those who provided contact information were entered to win a $500 prize (for anonymous participants, the prize funds would be donated to a motorsports charity). 

More than 140 individuals participated in the survey over the course of 12 months. Below are the results of the survey:

Driver status

The vast majority of survey participants (60%) were amateur racers, while 26% of the participants were classified as Semi-Pro/Professional racers. The remaining 14% consisted of other individuals involved in the sport such as team owners and crew chiefs. 

When asked how frequently they race, 58% of driver respondents averaged 10 or more times per year on track, while 42% averaged 10 times or less.

The top five tracks respondents said they raced most often: Road Atlanta (21 votes), Watkins Glen (17 votes), Virginia International Raceway (16 votes), Mid-Ohio (16 votes), and Road America (13 votes).

Vehicular damage, injuries common

Over a third of respondents said they had been injured while racing, and almost two-thirds sasid they had suffered severe vehicle damage while racing

Driver error was cited as the top cause of vehicle damage (42 mentions), followed by concrete walls (26 mentions), mechanical failures (24 mentions), and other drivers (19 mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for better driver training/coaching, energy absorbing walls, and more technical inspections.

Almost a quarter of drivers said they had experienced racing-related concussions, and nearly half the respondents said one or multiple concussions would affect their decision to race in the future. 

Drivers primarily influenced by peers 

Roughly half the drivers said they would consider adopting new safety equipment if influenced by another driver (51 total mentions) and/or if recommended by a sanctioning body (47 total mentions). The study concluded those results indicated a need for drivers to become safety advocates and educate other drivers and for sanctioning bodies to mandate safety equipment. 

Drivers concerned with concrete walls

Approximately three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said they believed certain race tracks were more dangerous than others. Nearly half the drivers surveyed believe that concrete walls were the primary cause of damage to drivers and vehicles. 

Drivers willing to help

Just more than three-quarters of the drivers surveyed said that they would be willing to join a safety alliance to advocate for safer tracks. Two-thirds of drivers said that they also would be willing to contribute to a motorsports safety fund.

Click here for the full results of RSU’s survey

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