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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.

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.