Las Vegas 450 Supercross: Tomac wins the battle; Webb wins the war

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Eli Tomac did all he could Saturday night in Las Vegas. He jumped out to an early lead and stretched his advantage seemingly every lap, ending the night more than 12 seconds ahead of Marvin Musquin.

Heck, Tomac did all he could for the last four rounds of the Supercross season – sweeping the podium and winning back to back races at Nashville and Denver.  It just wasn’t enough to catch Cooper Webb for the championship.

“It was all I could do tonight, was to control my destiny,” Tomac said after the race. “Getting out front early with the holeshot and really rode a clean race. Better than that heat race.  More mistake free.”

Tomac’s comfortable lead over the field allowed him to stay focus. On several occasions during the past few rounds, he’s had to overcome accidents and mental errors that kept him from being even more dominant that his four-race podium streak suggests.

But, just as he’s done all year long, Cooper Webb refused to go bobble. Finishing third on the night, he scored his 12 consecutive top five dating back to Minneapolis in Round 6 – all but one of these was a podium.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Webb said after the race on USA Network. “The change this year. I was a washed up 10th-place guy last year and this KTM team believed in me … and transformed me and got me back to what I always knew I could be.

“I really can’t believe it. This year was really not expected at all.”

Musquin’s second-place finish was enough to secure third in the standings. In another year, his season might have been enough to claim the Number 1 plate. He scored 14 top-five finishes in 17 rounds, but with teammate Webb winning more often and scoring an average finish of 2.88 to Musquin’s 3.44, he had to settle for a simply great season instead of a near-perfect one.

Fittingly, the rider who was fourth in the standings finished fourth in the race as well. All season long the battle has belonged to Webb, Tomac, Musquin and Ken Roczen, but in recent weeks Roczen has faded with six results outside the top five in the last seven rounds. That was a stark reversal of fortune for the rider who started the season with nine top-fives. He has the consolation of ending on a high note.

The winner of Heat 1, Zach Osborne rounded out the top five to earn his third such finish in the last four weeks. Those are also his only top-fives this season.

Complete Results
Points Standings

Heat 1: After scoring top-fives in two of his last three Mains, Zach Osborne is on a roll. He earned the holeshot and led flag to flag. … Marvin Musquin pressured him hard on the last lap, but rode him clean and settled for second. … Blake Baggett rounded out the top three. … Back in ninth, Adam Enticknap grabbed the last transfer spot. … Joan Cros was the first rider of the outside looking in.

Heat 2: Eli Tomac needed to make a statement in his heat. He took second on Lap 3. One lap later, he charged Cooper Webb hard and tapped his wheel, but the pressure got to Tomac and like he’s done on several occasions in the past few weeks, he nearly crashed in the rhythm section. Tomac momentarily gave up the spot to Cole Seely, but regrouped and grabbed the lead just as they took the white flag. … Webb let him go and finished second. … Seely held onto third. … Carlen Gardner grabbed the final transfer spot in ninth.

Last Chance Qualifier: Alex Ray made a power move on the high speed section outside of the stadium and took the lead from Scott Champion – who held on to finish second. … Tevin Tapia was two seconds back in third with Charles Lefrancois in fourth. It was a night of near misses for Joan Cros, who finished just one spot outside the transfer spot in both his heat and the LCQ.

Points Leaders

450SX
Cooper Webb (379) (7 wins)
Eli Tomac (361) (6 wins)
Marvin Musquin (350) (2 wins)
Ken Roczen (319)
Blake Baggett (290) (1 win)

Top 5s

450SX
Cooper Webb: 15
Marvin Musquin: 14
Eli Tomac: 14
Ken Roczen: 11
Blake Baggett: 9
Joey Savatgy: 5
Dean Wilson: 4
Zach Osborne: 3
Chad Reed: 2
Justin Barcia: 2
Justin Bogle: 2
Jason Anderson: 1
Justin Brayton: 1
Aaron Plessinger: 1
Cole Seeley: 1

Next race: Lucas Oil Motocross Championship, May 18, Hangtown, Rancho Cordova, Calif.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.