RedBud Preview: Eli Tomac commands as MX heads into second half

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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season heads into its second half and a clear leader has only recently emerged. Eli Tomac looks to extend his advantage, while Marvin Musquin has more momentum than anyone in the field.

For the first four weeks of the season, Tomac and Ken Roczen swapped the lead and split the victories evenly between them. The past two weeks have gone to Musquin as now three riders have two wins apiece.

Tomac is finally showing the type of dominance that was expected of him at the start of the year, but he’s done so on the backs of other riders’ mistakes. Currently second in the points, Musquin gave up a lot of ground at Hangtown in the opener, then Thunder Valley and High Point in the first half of June.

After sweeping the podium in the first four weeks, Roczen has fallen precipitously in the last two rounds with a sixth overall at WW Ranch and last week’s ninth at The Wick.

Meanwhile, Tomac has held steady with a sweep of the overall podium in the first six weeks – but he has experienced trouble in individual Motos to a degree that says this championship is far from settled.

Track conditions will be one of the keys this week. Over the past several years, the surface has been reworked and many think it has become a course with sand-like tendencies. That could favor Musquin for a third consecutive week and if Tomac gets off to another slow start in Moto 1, it could allow second-place to close the gap.

Last week Zach Osborne won his first career Moto and came frustratingly close to the overall win. He will try to keep his momentum intact and could play the role of spoiler.

Dean Wilson will debut in the 2019 season this week after missing the final rounds of the Supercross season with a shoulder injury. His last start resulted in a 20th-place finish at Denver. Wilson’s last start at RedBud ended ninth in 2017.

In 250s, Joey Crown will make his debut at RedBud. He missed the first six rounds with a back injury (two compressed vertebrae).

MORE: Spreading the Motocross Wealth

Schedule:

Qualifiers: 10:15 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold
Race: Live, 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold (Moto 1), Moto 2 at 3 p.m. ET on NBC (250 Moto 2, re-air at 7 on NBC).

June 29 – 2019; The Wick 338

450: Marvin Musquin (1-2) won over Zach Osborne (3-1) and Eli Tomac (2-3)
250: Adam Cianciarulo (1-2) won over Dylan Ferrandis (3-1) and Justin Cooper (2-3)

July 7 – 2018; RedBud 

450: Marvin Musquin (2-1) won over Ken Roczen (1-3) and Justin Barcia (4-2)
250: Aaron Plessinger (1-1) won over Alex Martin (4-3) and Dylan Ferrandis (3-4)

Overall Wins

450:
[2] Ken Roczen (Hangtown, Thunder Valley)
[2] Eli Tomac (Pala, High Point)
[2] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch, Southwick)

250:
[5] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown, Pala, Thunder Valley, High Point, Southwick)
[1] Justin Cooper (WW Ranch)

Moto Wins

450:
[5] Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch I)
[3] Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II)
[2] Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, Southwick I)
[1] Blake Baggett (High Point I)
[1] Zach Osborne (Southwick II)

250:
[5] Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley II, High Point II, Southwick I)
[3] Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
[2] Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, Southwick II)
[1] Hunter Lawrence (High Point I)
[1] Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)

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Karam, Daly get IndyCar rides with Carlin for Iowa

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NEWTON, Iowa – Sage Karam returns for the second-straight race and Conor Daly is back for another race with Carlin Racing at this weekend’s Iowa 300 NTT IndyCar Series race at Iowa Speedway.

For Karam, it’s his third start of the 2019 season and his second straight with Carlin. In his five starts at Iowa Speedway dating back to 2010, Karam has never finished outside of the top three, recording four wins (USF2000 – 2010, Indy Pro 2000 – 2011 and 2012, Indy Lights – 2013) and scoring his first NTT IndyCar Series podium in 2015 with a third-place finish.

“I’m really excited to be back again this weekend with Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for the Iowa 300. Iowa Speedway has always been a good track for me in the past, so I’m really looking forward to getting back to work there,” Karam said. “Coming off of a very productive weekend in Toronto, I’m looking forward to applying everything I’ve learned and continuing to work with the team to get the best results possible. A huge thank you to everyone at Carlin and SmartStop Self Storage for a great opportunity to race at one of my favorite tracks.”

Daly is back in a second Carlin entry. Earlier this year, the popular driver finished 11th for Carlin in the DXC Technology 600 at Texas Motor Speedway on June 8. At Iowa, he will drive the team’s No. 23 Gallagher Chevrolet.

Daly finished 10th in the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge for Andretti Autosport.

Daly raced at Iowa in 2016 for Dale Coyne Racing (finishing 21st) and in 2017 for A.J. Foyt Racing (finishing 19th).

The combination gives Carlin two more drivers to gather additional feedback on the car. Max Chilton remains the team’s primary driver but announced recently that he will forego all oval races to concentrate on street and road courses.

That created opportunities for Karam and Daly.

“We were very impressed with Sage’s steady progression throughout the Toronto race weekend and his willingness to learn and adapt,” said Carlin Team Principal Trevor Carlin. “The fact that he hadn’t been on a street course since 2015 and was still able to come right out of the gate confident and constantly improving every session was extremely impressive.

“The SmartStop Self Storage Chevrolet looked great out on track and their group has been a pleasure to work with, so we couldn’t be more pleased to have them back this weekend in Iowa. Sage has done really well in Iowa in the past, so hopefully we can use his experience and our past success at Iowa Speedway to come away with a good result for the team and our partners at SmartStop Self Storage.”

The Iowa 300 at Iowa Speedway will take place on Saturday, July 20th at 7:15 pm ET and will be televised on NBCSN.