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Rain shakes up Motocross, Supercross kickoffs

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When rain began to fall on the Hangtown Classic to kick off the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season, there was a strong sense of déjà vu.

Rain soaked January’s Monster Energy Supercross season opener in Anaheim as well, and provided a lineup that at the time seemed to have some surprise contenders.

Justin Barcia won that race, denying second-place Ken Roczen an opportunity to snap his long winless streak.

Barcia earned only one more top-5 during the season. Roczen would earn three more runner-up finishes, but was forced to a winless season.

A privateer at the time, Dean Wilson finished fourth at Anaheim I, but scored only three more top-5s before getting sidelined to injury following the Denver race.

No one expected what they would eventually see from fifth-place finisher Cooper Webb, who went on to dominate the Supercross season on his way to the championship. Surprise finish aside, three of the top-5 in that race finished the season within the top-5 in points.

While Roczen finishing up front at Hangtown is not entirely surprising – he did, after all, begin the Supercross season with nine consecutive top-fives – he had come close to winning without success on so many occasions since returning from a pair of injuries, that many questioned when he would actually break back into Victory Lane.

After Roczen announced he was dealing with an unknown health issue that drained his energy and caused him to finish outside the top five in six of the last eight Supercross rounds, a heavy track is not where most expected him to excel.

One of the biggest shake ups last week may have come in what didn’t happen instead of what did. Eli Tomac was a heavy favorite entering the race, having won the last two Hangtown Classics on his way to dominating the 2017 and 2018 Motocross seasons. A bad start mired Tomac deep in the pack, but with 30 minutes on the clock, he should have been able to ride back to the front. Instead, he finished fourth and barely grabbed that position from Zach Osborne with time off the clock.

Tomac needed the mud to give him the advantage. Moto 1 began on a dry track that was only starting to get heavy. The track was sloppy for Moto 2 with ruts that could swamp a bike, and that was when Tomac’s conditioning took over.

The rain shook up the lineup throughout the field. While the top five from Moto 1 all finished sixth or better in Moto 2, Roczen was the only rider who stood on the podium twice.

What remains to be seen is just how prophetic the remainder of the top-5 will be. Jason Anderson’s third overall marked his return to racing after getting sidelined before Supercross Round 3 in Oakland.

Fourth-place Osborne missed the first six rounds of Supercross and did not score a top-5 finish until Nashville with three races remaining. He ended the year with three top-5s in the last four rounds.

Meanwhile, who was lurking in fifth in the Hangtown Classic? Webb – in exactly the same spot he started the Supercross season.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Rolex 24 update: Scott Dixon leads eight hours in

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We’re just past the eight hour mark in the 2020 edition of the Rolex 24, and darkness has descended over the Daytona International Speedway.

Scott Dixon is the current overall leader, while Harry Tincknell runs in the second position.

As of 10:15 pm ET, the leaders are:

DPi:

  1. No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing, Cadillac DPi, Scott Dixon
  2. No. 55 Mazda Team Joest, Mazda DPi, Harry Tincknell
  3. No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing, Cadillac DPi, Felipe Nasr

LMP2:

  1. No. 81 Dragonspeed USA, ORECA LMP2 07, Ben Hanley
  2. No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, ORECA LMP2 07, Simon Trummer
  3. No. 8 Tower MotorSport by Starworks, ORECA LMP2 07, David Heinemeier Hansson

GTLM:

  1. No. 912 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19, Earl Bamber
  2. No. 24 BMW Rahal Letterman Lanigan, BMW M8 GTE, Augusto Farfus
  3. No. 911 Porsche GT Team, Porsche 911 RSR-19, Fred Makowiecki

GTD:

  1. No. 48 Paul Miller Racing, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Madison Snow
  2. No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 R, Zacharie Robichon
  3. No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan, Lexus RC F GT3, Frankie Montecalvo

Live coverage of the Rolex 24 at Daytona will return to NBCSN at 11 p.m. ET. Fans can also watch all remaining coverage on NBC Sports Gold’s Trackpass.