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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Red Bull driver Verstappen wins Formula One’s Brazilian GP

NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images
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Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won Formula One’s Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday for his eighth career victory in a race which ended disastrously for both Ferrari drivers.

Verstappen controlled nearly all the race at Interlagos, which saw a dramatic late collision between Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc when they fought for the fourth position. Both failed to finish.

Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly got his first F1 podium after finishing second ahead of six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver was third but faces an investigation after an incident that caused Red Bull’s Alexander Albon to spin.

Hamilton, who won at Interlagos in 2018, said Verstappen was “just quicker than us on the straights” and “there was nothing more we could do.”

Dutch driver Verstappen said “Lewis was very quick so I had to keep pushing… we had two good moves with him, and from there onward I could control the race.”

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was fourth, and could be promoted to third if Hamilton is punished.

The Brazilian GP on Sunday was the penultimate race of the season, with only Abu Dhabi left on Dec.1.

Hamilton had already secured the season title in the previous race in the United States. His Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, who did not finish the race, had also secured the runner-up spot.