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Countdown to The Ironman: It’s Tomac’s to take

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There are not very many off weeks in the Lucas Oil Motocross and Supercross seasons, but with three events remaining the riders get a chance this weekend to decompress and work around the shop.

Eli Tomac will be looking at his record at the end of the 2018 season while Marvin Musquin can only hope that Tomac has more trouble in the final six motos of this season than he has had for the entire year.

Here is how the points break down. Tomac holds an advantage of 50 points over Musquin in second and 57 over Ken Roczen.

Tomac’s magic number is fourth. If he finishes that well in the next six motos, Musquin cannot catch him because he needs to make up 8.3 points per race. Roczen must gain 9.5 points per race.

This assumes two things: that either Musquin or Roczen is perfect and Tomac consistently finishes off the podium with at least one terrible moto per event.

In the final six motos of the 2018 season, Roczen struggled in one event. Finishing seventh overall at Unadilla with a 7-7, he scored only 28 points. He rebounded the following week at Budds Creek to win Moto 1 and swept the podium in the last three motos of the season – but that was a far cry from perfection.

With only one overall podium in the last five weeks of this season, Roczen does not have the momentum on his side to launch the type of attack needed. For now, barring a miracle Roczen can be disregarded.

In the final six motos of 2018 Musquin also had only one win. He took the overall at Unadilla with a 2-1, which was followed by two more top-three finishes in the next two races. Musquin was not perfect, but he scored a worst finish of fourth in those last six races.

Of course Musquin does not need to be perfect in the final three events if Tomac stumbles. But therein lies the problem. Tomac refuses to stumble.

In the final six motos of 2018 Tomac stood on the podium five times with two victories. The only time he failed to finish that well was in the final moto of the season when he finished ninth.

Tomac has gotten off to some spectacularly slow starts in many of the first nine rounds, but he has been able to rebound immediately.

For Musquin to have a shot at Tomac, he needs a season’s worth of bad luck in the final three rounds. Actually make that more than a season’s worth of bad luck. In 18 motos run this year, Tomac has finished worse than fourth only three times. He was fifth in Moto 1 of Thunder Valley and seventh in Moto 1 of WW Ranch. In both of those rounds, he came back to win Moto 2.

At Spring Creek two weeks ago, Tomac showed his only sign of weakness with a 2-5 and overall finish of third. Part of the reason for Tomac finishing modestly in that round was because he had Musquin behind him on both motos with a 3-7 and overall of fourth.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.