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Riders attempt Supercross holeshot with Anaheim win

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The long wait is over as the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship gets underway at Angel Stadium in Anaheim on January 4 as 44 riders attempt to holeshot the season. Eight months to the day that Supercross hosted their last event of 2019 on May 4, the riders return to their seats in an effort to establish early dominance over the field.

It’s not as easy as putting in a fast, clean ride. In fact ‘clean’ was hard to come by in 2019.

Last year a muddy track in the first Anaheim race shuffled the standings early and gave surprise wins to Justin Barcia in the 450 class and Colt Nichols in 250 West. Barcia would go on to finish 13th in the standings; Nichols finished third, while the eventual champions Cooper Webb finished fifth in 450s and Dylan Ferrandis was second in the 250 class.

That should not be an issue this year as the forecast early in the week called for a 0% chance of rain.

A Supercross season is intense, comprising 16 races in consecutive weeks. There is no time to waste. An injury can wipe out the entire season. The last two championships have gone to riders no one predicted during in the opening round. And yet the season often has the same personality as an individual race. Getting the holeshot does not guarantee success, but it makes it easier to manage the rest of the year.

Webb scored his first 450 class win in Anaheim II. He would go on to win six more overalls, but the real key to his success was his ability to finish in the top five. He did that in all but two races.

Eli Tomac won six overalls last year – often in dramatic fashion – but was outside the top five three times. He lost most of his ground with one truly bad run in Dallas when he finished 12th.

For complete coverage of the 2020 Supercross season practices, heats and features, check out the Supercross Gold Pass.

Adam Cianciarulo will make a much anticipated debut in the 450 class after winning the Monster Energy Cup last October. He took the victory by winning the final moto in what became a winner-take-all scenario. Teammate Eli Tomac finished second overall in that race and the pair served notice before the season even began that they will be the team to beat in the opening rounds.

Max Anstie was scheduled to make his return to Supercross for the first time since 2013, but will miss the first part of the season with an ankle injury, according to the team.

In 250s, 42 riders were entered at the beginning of the week, headed by Ferrandis with the No. 1 plate on his Yamaha.

Nichols will be on hand to defend his 2019 victory as will Shane McElrath giving all three podium finishers a chance to get off to the same great start. Last year’s fourth-place finisher RJ Hampshire will run the 250 East division this year, but teammate Michael Mosiman will be on hand to compete for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna factory team.

More: Adam Cianciarulo enters 2020 as a lighter man
More: Jason Anderson rolls into 2020 with an agenda
More: Adam Enticknap paves the way for the ‘Other 19’

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Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 10 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and NBCSN

Last Race:

Eli Tomac won at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas May 4, 2019 over Marvin Musquin and the 2019 champion Cooper Webb.
In the 250 Showdown race, Dylan Ferrandis won over RJ Hampshire and Cameron McAdoo

Last Year:

Justin Barcia won on a muddy track over Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac
In 250 West, Colt Nichols won over Dylan Ferrandis and Shane McElrath

Lucas Oil Late Models, All Star Sprints postpone April events

Lucas Oil Dirt
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In separate press releases, the Lucas Oil Late Model series and the All Star Circuit of Champions announced the postponement of their April schedules.

Both releases cite extended federal social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for the postponements and cancelations.

For the Lucas Oil Late Model series, the extension affects races at Hagerstown Speedway (originally scheduled for April 18), Port Royal Speedway (April 19), Tri-City Speedway (April 24), and Macon Speedway (April 25). The series hopes to resume the original schedule on May 1st at Ponderosa Speedway and May 2nd at Florence Speedway.

Port Royal Speedway’s Rumble by the River, originally scheduled for April 19th, has been postponed until Thursday, August 27th.

The Nininger Tribute at Hagerstown Speedway, scheduled for April 18th, has now been canceled. Also canceled are the Budweiser 50 at Tri-City Speedway scheduled for April 24th and the April 25th event at Macon Speedway.

At this time, races are set to resume on May 1 at Ponderosa Speedway in Junction City, Kentucky. Backup dates have been announced for Ponderosa (September 4) and Florence Speedway (August 12) should they be needed.

The events affected for the All Star Circuit of Champions include Attica Raceway Park’s Spring Nationals (April 10-11), Thursday Night Thunder at Virginia Motor Speedway (April 16), the Tommy Hinnershitz Classic at Williams Grove Speedway (April 17), the Keith Kauffman Classic at Port Royal Speedway (April 18), the Johnny Grum Classic at Bedford Speedway (April 19) and the season’s first visit to Wayne County Speedway (April 25).

Series and track officials are working together to find suitable make-up dates.

“We are all in the same boat with every other sanctioning body and sports league in America right now and we want to be part of the solution and abide by state orders and federal guidelines,” said Tony Stewart, owner of the All Stars in a press release. “Originally, we were going to take a week-to-week approach, but with the stay at home orders in certain states and social distancing guidelines, it made sense to postpone the month of April. We aren’t going to put anyone on the road and at risk until we are given the green light by state and federal officials. Thank you to the tracks for the open lines of communication over the past few weeks. We hope to reschedule as many dates as possible once we are able to return to racing.”

Conditions permitting, the All Star Circuit of Champions will begin their 2020 championship point season on Friday and Saturday, May 1-2, with visits to Lernerville Speedway and Sharon Speedway, respectively.

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