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Las Vegas 250 Supercross Preview: Two championships on the line

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Unlike the 450 class, which is all but wrapped up with Cooper Webb’s massive lead, the Supercross 250s have much tighter battles on the line and both championships will be decided this week in Las Vegas during the second East/West Showdown of the year.

In the West, Adam Cianciarulo holds an eight-point advantage over Dylan Ferrandis.

In the East, Chase Sexton has an advantage of nine points over Justin Cooper.

In both, it’s a two man battle, but since this is an East/West Showdown with both divisions on track at the same time, there will be four riders to watch Saturday night.

Cianciarulo’s magic number is fifth. If he finishes there or better, it’s Cianciarulo’s title no matter what Ferrandis does. In the last East/West Showdown at Atlanta, Cianciarulo and Ferrandis finished first and second.

Cianciarulo got where he is by winning five races and sweeping the top five. Ferrandis has two wins and five runner-up finishes, but he lost significant ground in Glendale during Round 2 and in the mud at San Diego three weeks later when he finished outside the top five.

Sexton’s safety valve is sixth or better. Even if Cooper wins and ties Sexton with one win apiece, Sexton has three second-place finishes to Cooper’s one and so he holds the tiebreaker.

With the dominance of Austin Forkner, Sexton has been the forgotten man. He finished fourth in the last Showdown at Atlanta, but that was one of only two times that he failed to stand on the podium. A sixth-place finish is not a foregone conclusion, but one would be hard-pressed to bet against Sexton.

Like Sexton, Cooper has a perfect record of top-fives but his average finish lags behind Sexton has an average of 2.75; Cooper’s is 3.25.

With two division on track, finishing among the top six is not a foregone conclusion. Eat coast rider Mitchell Oldenburg has three top-fives in his last four starts including a second last week in New Jersey. Colt Nichols has third-place finishes in his last two attempts and he won the season opener in Anaheim.

MORE: Austin Forkner out for the season
MORE: Cooper Webb wants to win in style

Schedule:

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

Last Week:

Chase Sexton scored his first win of the East season over Mitchell Oldenburg and Justin Cooper.

Last Year:

Adam Cianciarulo won over Jordan Smith and Shane McElrath

Winners

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

East:
[5] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington, Detroit, Daytona and Indianapolis)
[1] Martin Davalos (Nashville)
[1] Chase Sexton (New Jersey)

Top-5s

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

East:
Justin Cooper (8)
Chase Sexton (8)
Austin Forkner (6)
Martin Davalos (5)
Jordon Smith (3)
Mitchell Oldenburg (3)
Alex Martin (2)
Brandon Hartranft (2)
Kyle Peters (1)

Points Leaders

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (208)
Dylan Ferrandis (200)
Colt Nichols (163)
RJ Hampshire (145)
James Decotis (128)
Cameron McAdoo (128)

250 East:
Chase Sexton (174)
Justin Cooper (165)
Austin Forkner (152)
Martin Davalos (134)
Mitchell Oldenburg (128)

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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.