Ken Roczen scored his third overall victory of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at Unadilla, NY, while deep in the field the championship battle intensified.
Eli Tomac scored the hole shot in Moto 1, but it did not take long for Roczen to get around the points leader. Once in the lead, he scooted out to a comfortable lead and was not challenged for the remainder of the race. Roczen built an advantage of nearly 20 seconds during that moto and finished more than 15 seconds ahead of Marvin Musquin.
Roczen scored his first moto win in six weeks. He did not have to wait as long for his next moto victory and scored a perfect finish of 1-1.
“Honestly I haven’t done anything in the last two weeks,” Roczen told NBC Sports Gold after the race. “Obviously I want the season to be done so I can give my body a rest.”
Roczen has been struggling with fatigue all season and practiced only twice during the previous two weeks.
Tomac enter the weekend with a considerable lead of 50 points. With that, he had a full race weekend advantage over the field. But he squandered it in the first moto.
When caught by Roczen, Tomac did not put up much of a fight. He was not particularly scrappy when challenged by Musquin – nor when he succumbed to Zach Osborne and Justin Barcia a little bit later. On the final lap, Tomac was passed by teammate Joey Savatgy and fell to seventh. That matches his worst moto finish of the season.
Tomac rebounded with a third in Moto 2 that was enough for fourth overall. This is only the second time this season that he has not stood on the overall podium.
“My body was better (in the second moto),” Tomac said. “The first moto, I struggled with my body and I got really tight. I was kind of just along for the ride. I guess it’s a good thing we had those 50 points coming into here.”
Musquin was poised to win Moto 2 and the overall until the middle of the race. He lead early until a stuck throttle sent him momentarily off course and allowed Roczen to sweep past. Musquin settled into second and with a 2-2 scored 44 points to trim 10 off Tomac’s lead.
With a 4-4, Osborne’s consistency was enough to give him third overall.
“I felt really good today,” Osborne said. “This track was exceptionally gnarly. It’s always pretty gnarly, but today was hardest I’ve ever ridden it.”
Behind Tomac, Jason Anderson (5-5) rounded out the top five.
In Moto 1, Cooper Webb took a hard landing as he tried to avoid a slower rider. Injuring his knee, he was not around for the second race because he was on his way to the hospital for an MRI.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Dylan Ferrandis earned his fourth overall victory, but he failed to make up any points on the championship leader.
“Today the track was difficult,” Ferrandis said. “Was firm, a really nice motocross track but it was rough with ruts. One of the most difficult dry tracks I’ve ever ridden. The setup was not perfect in the first moto and we improved a little bit in the second one and I think that was a big help.
“I took the holeshot. That was also a big help.”
In order to have a shot at the championship, Ferrandis needed to be perfect in the final three rounds and watch Adam Cianciarulo have a little trouble.
Ferrandis did his part. Finishing second in Moto 1 and winning the second race for his seventh moto win of the season, he was as close to perfection as can reasonably be expected. It was Ferrandis second straight win at Unadilla. He now needs to make up 28 points in the final two rounds to win the title.
Where Ferrandis came up short is where he had no control.
Cianciarulo served notice immediately that he will not make things easy on Ferrandis. Also winning his seventh moto of the season with the first race victory, he then finished second in Moto 2. In the second race, he matched Ferrandis lap for lap. In fact, the best lap time for both riders was identical to the thousandth of a second.
“There were a lot of ‘moments’ – in every moto, I think you guys know by now, but I just tried my best,” Cianciarulo said after the conclusion of Moto 1. “It was super important. I knew Dylan was going to be behind me and I wanted to get around Justin. He made a mistake. I almost did the same thing in the same spot. The track is pretty treacherous.”
In Moto 1, Justin Cooper took the early lead, but was passed by Cianciarulo and Ferrandis with 19 minutes remaining when he went down in the rollers.
Chase Sexton took the final step on the podium with a 3-3 finish.
Justin Cooper (4-4) and Colt Nichols (5-6) rounded out the top five.
 Eli Tomac (Hangtown II, Pala I & Pala II, Thunder Valley II, WW Ranch II, RedBud I, Washougal I & II)
 Ken Roczen (Hangtown I, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, Unadilla I & II)
 Marvin Musquin (WW Ranch I, The Wick I, RedBud II)
 Cooper Webb (Spring Creek I & II)
 Blake Baggett (High Point I)
 Zach Osborne (The Wick II)
 Adam Cianciarulo (Hangtown II, Pala II, Thunder Valley I, High Point II, The Wick I, Spring Creek II, Unadilla I)
 Dylan Ferrandis (WW Ranch II, The Wick II, RedBud I & II, Washougal I & II, Unadilla II)
 Justin Cooper (Hangtown I, Pala I, Thunder Valley I)
 Hunter Lawrence (High Point I, Spring Creek I)
 Chase Sexton (WW Ranch I)
Next race: Budds Creek Motocross Park, Mechanicsville, MD, August 17
Defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence is a proud Texan who hates to lose. But if there’s one person Torrence likely doesn’t mind seeing win if he can’t reach the winner’s circle – particularly if it’s on home turf – it’s father Billy.
Steve was cheering his father on as the latter boosted his own championship hopes Sunday by winning the Top Fuel category in the final eliminations of the 34th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals in the Dallas suburb of Ennis, Texas.
Billy Torrence (3.775 seconds at 319.67 mph) defeated Jordan Vandergriff (4.299 seconds, 246.03 mph in his first career final round) for his fourth win of the season, including his second win in the first four races of the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs. With the fifth Top Fuel triumph of his career, the elder Torrence moved into fourth in the Top Fuel standings, just 71 points behind his son with two races remaining in the Countdown.
Even though Billy’s son lost in the opening round Sunday, he still leads the Top Fuel standings, holding a 33-point lead over second-ranked Doug Kalitta and a 46-point lead over third-ranked and the weekend’s No. 1 qualifier, Brittany Force.
Sunday marked the third consecutive win in this year’s playoffs for the father-son combo and their second straight triumph at Dallas (Steve won there last year as part of an unprecedented sweep of the six-race Countdown en route to the championship).
“It’s home turf and we love to race here,” Billy Torrence said after visiting the winner’s circle. “We’ve raced here our whole career and we have a lot of fans here. There’s no better place to race than Dallas, Texas, and we did have the best car today.
“It has been very humbling, and we’ve been very blessed and fortunate to have the success we’ve had. We’ve got a great group of guys on both cars and our success is just a testament to the work these guys do. I think that we’re probably the second-best car in the country, with Steve having the best. We’ve had a stellar season.”
In Funny Car: Matt Hagan (3.909 seconds at 327.59 mph) roared to his third win of the season – as well as his third at the Motorplex – and the 32nd victory of his career, defeating Bob Tasca (3.928 seconds at 323.12 mph). Hagan also moved up to fourth in the standings.
“We had a great race car today,” Hagan said. “Qualifying was pretty tough, but to turn on four win lights was pretty huge. (Tasca) is a great driver and those guys are good, so I’m glad things turned out the way they did.
“We’re just trying to keep some momentum going, keep doing our job and control what we can control. It was a pretty special weekend. We’ve just got to keep digging and keep working. I love this sport and it’s been a big part of my life for 10 years. I knew (crew chief Dickie Venables) was tuned in and you could see he was confident, and that builds confidence in me.”
Robert Hight continues to lead the Funny Car standings, followed by Jack Beckman (70 points back) and No. 1 qualifier John Force (74 points back).
In Pro Stock: Greg Anderson (6.609 seconds at 209.75 mph) defeated longtime rival Jeg Coughlin Jr. (6.610 seconds at 207.56 mph) to earn his third win of the season, fifth of his career at the Motorplex and 94th of his overall Pro Stock career.
It was the 102nd time Anderson and Coughlin, who qualified No. 1 for the weekend, have met each other in a race, including the 21st time in the final round.
“We’ve had so many titanic clashes with so much on the line, and I knew it would be close,” said Anderson, who is seventh in points. “It’s a total team effort and that’s what it takes to win a national event in Pro Stock right now. You’ve got to have perfection every time out there.
“We made a lot of changes this week and we hit on it. It showed it on Saturday and I knew coming into today we had a chance. Now it’s a matter of if I can drive the car well enough. I can’t tell you who’s going to win this thing because everybody right now can beat everybody else.”
Erica Enders held on to her lead in the category, but saw the margin over second-ranked Matt Hartford drop to only 28 points. Coughlin is third (-65 points) and Anderson is seventh (-99 points).
In Pro Stock Motorcycle: Jerry “Alligator Farmer” Savoie (6.881 seconds at 195.90 mph) took a big step towards potentially earning his second PSM championship in the last three seasons, defeating three-time champion Eddie Krawiec (6.901 seconds at 195.62 mph).
It was Savoie’s third win of the season and 12th of his career. It’s also his second win in the first four playoff races and fifth straight appearance in the final round at the Motorplex. He’s now third in the PSM standings, 94 points behind five-time champion Andrew Hines.
“It was a great day and we knew we had a good bike coming in,” Savoie said. “We said if we held our composure we could win this thing. For the most part, tracks favor certain riders and we’ve been blessed here. It’s a great place and today was great.
“Bottom line, I want a championship just as bad as anybody else, so whoever is in my way I’m going to do everything I can to try and beat them. I felt good and we’ve got a great team. To me, this win gives you more hope and means a lot. This gives you that window of opportunity where you could win a championship again.”
NOTES: Only two races remain this season: Las Vegas in two weeks (Oct. 31 – Nov. 3) and Pomona, California four weeks from now (Nov. 14 – 17).
TOP FUEL: 1. Billy Torrence; 2. Jordan Vandergriff; 3. Brittany Force; 4. Austin Prock; 5. Leah Pritchett; 6. Antron Brown; 7. Shawn Reed; 8. Lee Callaway; 9. Steve Torrence; 10. Terry McMillen; 11. Doug Kalitta; 12. Kebin Kinsley; 13. Mike Salinas; 14. Cameron Ferre; 15. Clay Millican; 16. Richie Crampton.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Matt Hagan; 2. Bob Tasca III; 3. John Force; 4. Robert Hight; 5. Tommy Johnson Jr.; 6. J.R. Todd; 7. Jack Beckman; 8. Shawn Langdon; 9. Tim Wilkerson; 10. Ron Capps; 11. Paul Lee; 12. Blake Alexander; 13. Cruz Pedregon; 14. Jim Campbell; 15. Jeff Arend; 16. Jonnie Lindberg.
PRO STOCK: 1. Greg Anderson; 2. Jeg Coughlin; 3. Deric Kramer; 4. Matt Hartford; 5. Erica Enders; 6. Chris McGaha; 7. Aaron Stanfield; 8. Bo Butner; 9. Jason Line; 10. Fernando Cuadra Jr.; 11. Val Smeland; 12. Kenny Delco; 13. Shane Tucker; 14. Fernando Cuadra; 15. Alex Laughlin; 16. Richie Stevens.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Jerry Savoie; 2. Eddie Krawiec; 3. Angelle Sampey; 4. Andrew Hines; 5. Steve Johnson; 6. Karen Stoffer; 7. Scotty Pollacheck; 8. Matt Smith; 9. Hector Arana; 10. Ryan Oehler; 11. Angie Smith; 12. Hector Arana Jr; 13. Kelly Clontz; 14. Michael Ray; 15. Jianna Salinas.
FUNNY CAR: 1. Robert Hight, 2,437; 2. Jack Beckman, 2,367; 3. John Force, 2,363; 4. Matt Hagan, 2,325; 5. Bob Tasca III, 2,315; 6. Ron Capps, 2,302; 7. J.R. Todd, 2,274; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., 2,243; 9. Shawn Langdon, 2,239; 10. Tim Wilkerson, 2,188.
PRO STOCK: 1. Erica Enders, 2,395; 2. Matt Hartford, 2,367; 3. Jeg Coughlin, 2,330; 4. Jason Line, 2,327; 5. Deric Kramer, 2,323; 6. Bo Butner, 2,321; 7. Greg Anderson, 2,296; 8. Alex Laughlin, 2,239; 9. Chris McGaha, 2,217; 10. Val Smeland, 2,124.
PRO STOCK MOTORCYCLE: 1. Andrew Hines, 2,464; 2. Karen Stoffer, 2,383; 3. Jerry Savoie, 2,370; 4. Eddie Krawiec, 2,365; 5. Matt Smith, 2,297; 6. Hector Arana Jr, 2,274; 7. Angelle Sampey, 2,248; 8. Angie Smith, 2,181; 9. Ryan Oehler, 2,159; 10. Hector Arana, 2,128.