Las Vegas Supercross Preview: Cooper Webb wants to win in style

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Last week’s race at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey was a microcosm of the 2019 450 Supercross season. Cooper Webb struggle early, but had strength and luck on his side once points were on the line.

Webb was only fifth fastest in combined qualification, but when it came time to race he picked up the pace. He finished second in his heat. He lacked dominance in the first few laps of the Main, allowing first Eli Tomac and then Zach Osborne around him. But he stayed close enough to both riders to force them to ride just a little harder than they wanted.

Webb watched as the riders around him made mistakes and easily rolled past them to score his seventh win of the season.

The 2019 season began with a winless Webb. It didn’t take long for him to establish himself as a favorite with a victory in the Triple Crown Anaheim II race. He’d go on to win three more times in the next four rounds. Since his win at Minneapolis in Round 6, he’s failed to stand on the podium only one time and that was a fourth at Seattle.

Now all Webb needs to do in Las Vegas is finished 20th or better to claim his first championship.

Tomac has one shot to win the championship – and it’s a longshot.

Tomac must win while Webb finishes 21st or worse. A second-place finish – even if Webb crashes in prelims and fails to advance to the Main – would result in a tie that would be broken by the most wins. Webb’s seven victories this season is guaranteed to be the most. Tomac enters Vegas with five wins.

Everyone else was mathematically eliminated from competition last week.

Webb’s incredible season overshadows his competition, but notably five riders have scored top-fives in more than half the events this year. Webb’s 14 leads the pack, followed by 13 for Tomac and Marvin Musquin, 10 for Ken Roczen and nine for Blake Baggett.

The difference in the championship has come down to consistency. While Webb has been on his current 11-race, top-five streak Tomac finished outside that mark three times in a span of four races from Minneapolis through Atlanta. Musquin finished sixth at Detroit and Nashville. Meanwhile, Roczen has only one top-five in the last seven Rounds of the season.

Zach Osborne got around Cooper Webb for the lead at New Jersey, but rode too hard into a corner a few laps later. SupercrossLIVE

MORE: Austin Forkner out for the season

Schedule:

Qualifying: 4 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 10 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and USA Network

Last Week:

Cooper Webb scored his seventh win of the season over Zach Osborne and Eli Tomac.

Last Year:

Eli Tomac ended the season with a win over Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett

Winners

[7] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, Atlanta, Houston, and New Jersey)
[5] Eli Tomac (San Diego, Detroit, Daytona, Nashville and Denver)
[2] Marvin Musquin (Indianapolis and Seattle)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)

Top-5s

Cooper Webb (14)
Marvin Musquin (13)
Eli Tomac (13)
Ken Roczen (10)
Blake Baggett (9)
Joey Savatgy (5)
Dean Wilson (4)
Chad Reed (2)
Justin Barcia (2)
Justin Bogle (2)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Brayton (1)
Aaron Plessinger (1)
Cole Seely (1)
Zach Osborne (2)

Points Leaders

Cooper Webb (358)
Eli Tomac (335)
Marvin Musquin (327)
Ken Roczen (300)
Blake Baggett (274)

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IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.