Jeff Kardas, ProMotocross

Head to head: Eli Tomac vs. Marvin Musquin at Washougal

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With each passing week, the ticking noise in Marvin Musquin’s head gets louder. Four rounds remain in the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship and with a 38-point deficit to first, that means Musquin needs to gain nearly five points per moto (9.5 points per weekend) on Eli Tomac during the next four weekends.

In professional racing, anything can happen. That is what makes the sport so exciting. But this is a steep hill to climb. It matters not, however, because this might well be the most competitive round of the season between Tomac and Musquin.

If history is a indicator, here is what will happen: Tomac and Musquin will battle at the head of the pack in both motos. They will both stand on the podium. One of them will win.

Oh yeah: And the clock in Musquin’s head will continue increase in volume.

Washougal MX Park has been the battleground for some epic contests between Tomac and Musquin throughout their careers. Dating back to 2013, one of them has won each year with a single exception and all of those victories came after dominant performances.

In 2013 Tomac scored his first win on this track in the 250 class. The pattern of dominance began with a sweep of the motos en route to the the overall victory. Not far behind in either race, Musquin finished third overall with a 3-4. That was the worst performance by either rider in the past six seasons.

In 2014 Musquin responded with a 250 class win (1-1) as Tomac graduated to 450s. That year, Tomac (2-2) finished second to Ryan Dungey on the more powerful bikes.

The 2015 season marks the only time in the last six years that neither Tomac nor Musquin won. Musquin was second overall (1-2) in the 250s while Tomac was sidelined in the 450 class. Dungey posted back to back wins in 450s with Cooper Webb taking the 250 win.

The seesaw continued in 2016. This time it was Tomac’s turn to win and with a 2-1, he beat Ken Roczen (1-2) with Musquin in third overall (3-3).

Musquin returned the favor in 2017 with a sweep of the motos and the overall win. Tomac was second in both motos.

Last year, Tomac swept the motos again – once more beating Roczen (3-2) in second and Musquin (2-3) in third.

If the pattern holds, it is time for Musquin to win, but he will probably not gain many points on his rival. In the last three seasons as they have raced head-to-head neither rider has failed to stand on the podium in either moto. Tomac has the edge in terms of average finish, however, with a 1.5 to Musquin’s 2.2.

With a worst moto finish of second for Tomac in the past three years, Musquin is looking at a most likely scenario of gaining no more than six points on his rival which will be short of the 10 he needs to keep the relative margin intact.

Head to Head Comparison

2018: Eli Tomac wins with a 1-1; (Musquin third with a 2-3)
2017: Marvin Musquin wins with a 1-1; (Tomac second with a 2-2)
2016: Eli Tomac wins with a 2-1; (Musquin third with a 3-3)
2015: Musquin finished second in 250s with a 1-2; Tomac was sidelined in 450s.
2014: Marvin Musquin wins in 250s with a 1-1; Tomac was second in 450s with a 2-2.
2013: Eli Tomac wins in 250s with a 1-1; (Musquin 3-4)

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WATCH LIVE: IndyCar practice and qualifying at Laguna Seca

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For the first time in 15 years, Indy cars will be racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the stakes have never been higher.

Tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Monterey is the final race of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season, and with four drivers mathematically eligible for the series championship, there will be plenty of story lines to follow.

Current series points leader Josef Newgarden enters this weekend with a 41-point lead over second-place Alexander Rossi.

A California native, Rossi attended his first IndyCar race with his father as child at Laguna Seca when he was three years old.

He now hopes to win his first IndyCar championship at the track where he fell in love with the sport, but after suffering a broken bolt in practice 1 yesterday, he will need to find speed in P3 and qualifying today in order to put himself in the best position to fight for the title.

Simon Pagenaud and Scott Dixon are also in contention to win the championship this weekend, and another title would only add to their already illustrious IndyCar careers.

Leigh Diffey, Paul Tracy and Townsend Bell will call today’s on-track action from the booth, while Marty Snider, Jon Beekhuis, Kevin Lee and Robin Miller will report from the pits.

Here is today’s schedule:

(All times are Eastern)

Saturday 9/21, 1 p.m. ET, IndyCar Practice 3, NBC Sports Gold 

Saturday 9/21, 4:30 p.m. ET, IndyCar Qualifying, NBCSN and NBC Sports Gold

Saturday 9/21, 6 p.m. ET, Indy Lights Race 1, NBC Sports Gold 

 

For sessions on NBC Sports Gold, be sure to have your username and password handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.