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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.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Top Fuel driver Austin Prock earns 2019 NHRA top rookie honors

NHRA
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Having just completed a promising first year in NHRA Top Fuel competition, Austin Prock is on the road to even greater drag racing success in his career.

That’s why it’s not surprising that Prock was named the winner of the 2019 Auto Club Road to the Future Award during Monday night’s annual NHRA Awards dinner at the Ray Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.

The Road to the Future Award is NHRA’s version of Rookie of the Year, and Prock was among the brightest young stars on the circuit this past season, including winning his first national event at the Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in suburban Seattle, the 16th race on the 24-race schedule.

What made that first win all the more sweeter is it came at the same event that his boss, legendary 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, captured his milestone 150th career win.

One month ago, Prock set a personal best run of 3.688 seconds at 334.40 mph over veteran driver Doug Kalitta in the first round of eliminations at the AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals three weeks ago in Ennis, Texas (suburban Dallas).

“I am proud of the season this Montana Brand / Rocky Mountain Twist team put together,” Prock said in a media release. “My guys worked their asses off all season long to give me the opportunity to win the Auto Club Road the Future Award. I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I would have never been here without John Force and Robert Hight (president of John Force Racing). They gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream and I owe the world to them. I hope I made them proud.”

Prock became only the 10th rookie in the history of the NHRA pro ranks to both win a race in their first season and also go on to win the Road to the Future award. He also was the 13th rookie in the sport’s history to qualify for the Countdown to the Championship, NHRA’s six race playoffs.

Prock becomes the sixth John Force Racing driver to earn the Road to the Future Award, joining Tony Pedregon (1996), Hight (2005), Ashley Force-Hood (2007), Mike Neff (2008), Courtney Force (2012) and Brittany Force (2013).

Austin Prock is the son of veteran crew chief Jimmy Prock, who tuned Hight to his third career NHRA Funny Car championship this past Sunday.

Follow @JerryBonkowski