Eli Tomac, Dylan Ferrandis get first wins at Anaheim 2

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Round 3 of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. looked eerily familiar. The top three riders in 2019 points reprised their battle at the head of the pack for the first time this year. Eli Tomac’s cold start to the 2020 season finally heated up with a convincing win over Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb.

As for the race, it was another slow start for Tomac. Riding 10th at the end of Lap 1, Tomac came from the middle of the pack once again, but this time he knew he could catch the leaders.

“That was a big push,” Tomac said after the race. “Luckily I was able to get the insides in the first few corners there and then it was game on. It was realistic to catch to front today. I was riding way better and was more comfortable on my motorcycle.”

With his win, Tomac jumped two positions in the standings to third in points.

Second-place finisher Roczen was disappointed after giving up the race lead, but was consoled by the points’ lead.

“I grabbed a super great start,” Roczen said. “I made it around the first turn and had a good gap going, but to win this Main event I had to skim the whoops. I made some adjustments from the heat race, but I wasn’t that comfortable out there.”

Roczen led early but was soon challenged. Blake Baggett slipped past Roczen and then immediately fell in the next turn. Baggett ended the race in 14th.

Webb took the final spot on the podium, but after battling the flu and strep for the past two weeks, he was happy to feel healthy.

The points’ leader entering the race, Barcia had a tough outing. He was outside the top 10 in the first five minutes and managed to climb as high as seventh before dropping to ninth in the final rundown. He lost the lead to Roczen and now trails by six.

Zach Osborne and Jason Anderson rounded out the top five.

Dylan Ferrandis survived multiple incidents at Anaheim 2 to earn his first win in 2020. Feld Entertainment Inc.

Dylan Ferrandis took the checkers first in a race that threatened to end under review. That speaks volumes about the intensity of the 250 West Main.

The incident that brought about the potential review came halfway through the Main when Ferrandis made heavy contact with Christian Craig as the pair battled for second place. Ferrandis catapulted Craig off his bike as both riders fell. Ferrandis was quick to reclaim his seat and continued on his quest to catch the leader.

“From my perspective, I scrubbed really fast past the finish line. … We made contact, but I feel like I was a little bit in front of him,” Ferrandis said from the top spot on the podium with boos raining down. “It’s not the kind of racing I want to do, but otherwise I give everything I have and a win is awesome.”

More drama was set up late in the race.

The leader, 16-year-old Jett Lawrence was gifted an 11-second lead with Ferrandis and Craig’s incident. It wasn’t enough.

With four minutes on the clock, Lawrence fell and allowed last year’s 250 West champion to close within two seconds. Lawrence regained his composure and maintained a steady advantage for the next two minutes until a bobble brought Ferrandis into contact.

The final lap shaped up to be a classic battle. Ferrandis took the lead with time running off the clock. Struggling to catch him, Lawrence endoed hard into a jump. His bike followed him into the crash scene and slammed into him. Lawrence was helped off the track by the Alpine Medical team. At the conclusion of the night, the team announced Lawrence suffered a broken collarbone.

Justin Cooper inherited second and maintained his points’ lead.

On the heels of his first podium finish last week at St. Louis, Brandon Hartranft scored another and solidified his position of third in the standings.

A night that started out with so much promise for Honda teammates Craig and Lawrence ended with neither rider on the lead lap. They earned a three-second lead over Austin Forkner early in the race. Forkner was running third when he landed awkwardly and laid his bike down. Forkner had trouble restarting his Kawasaki and finished 17th.

Lawrence finished ninth as the first rider one lap down.

450s

Heat 1: Eli Tomac finally looked like Eli Tomac; he took the heat win by nearly 10 seconds over the field. … Tomac and Cooper Webb needed to get out of the gate fast. They have not shown the level of strength necessary to contend for the championship and in a 17-race season, there is not much time to find one’s rhythm. … Webb finished second. … Dean Wilson rounded out the podium … Justin Brayton was involved in a Turn 1 accident, but he climbed back onto his steed and rode into a transfer position with his seventh-place finish. … Chad Reed was in the final transfer position until the next to last lap; he was run down and passed by Justin Hill, who was forced to come from the back after he was also involved in the Turn 1 incident. | Heat 1 Results

Heat 2: Ken Roczen picked up where he left off in St. Louis with a win in his heat. … He did not walk away with the victory uncontested, however. He was embroiled in a fierce battle with Adam Cianciarulo in the early laps … Cianciarulo got a fast, aggressive start and held the advantage for half of the heat before succumbing to the veteran. Once he fell behind, AC went to school on Roczen. Based on that observation, Cianciarulo said he lost the majority of his time in the whoops. … Jason Anderson took the final spot on the podium. … Malcolm Stewart finished fourth. … Zach Osborne took the final transfer spot over Chris Blose. | Heat 2 Results

LCQ: After getting edged on the next-to-last lap of his heat, Chad Reed paced the field to win the Last Chance Qualifier over Chris Blose. … Ryan Breece advanced with his third-place finish, but it came with a little drama: Breece muscled Jason Clermont out of the lead and off of the track halfway through the race. … Alex Ray grabbed the final transfer spot. | LCQ Results

250s

Heat 1: Austin Forkner walked away with the win by nearly 11 seconds over Mitchell Oldenburg. “I really wanted to try and crush these guys in this heat race and make a statement.” Forkner declared from the top step of the podium. … Justin Cooper rounded out the top three. … The final transfer spot went to Lorenzo Camporese, edging out Taiki Koga. … Alex Martin was also sent to the LCQ after crashing early in the rhythm section. | Heat 1 Results

Heat 2: Christian Craig got the early jump and maintained it through the heat as Jett Lawrence and Dylan Ferrandis were forced to come through the field. It wasn’t simple. Craig had to battle a loose seat. … Ferrandis and Lawrence were jammed up in the opening lap and the pair had to come blazing through the field. … Logan Karnow took the final transfer over Michael Mosiman. | Heat 2 Results

LCQ: Michael Mosiman put two fast straights together on the opening lap and blasted past Alex Martin. … That’s how they finished the LCQ with Mosiman holding a more-than seven-second lead. … Luke Clout finished third with Robbie Wageman taking the final transfer spot. | LCQ Results

Click here for 450 Overall Results | Season Points
Click here for 250 Overall Results | Season Points

Next race: January 25, State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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Tom Blomqvist keeps eye on IndyCar during impressive rise: ‘ I would love to give it a go’

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – In between two of his latest superstar-driver-in-waiting performances, Tom Blomqvist walked through the Daytona International Speedway garage in anonymity.

“Nobody knows who the (expletive) I am,” he said to a team member with a laugh (and without a trace of being miffed), evincing the cheeky humor of someone born in England, raised in New Zealand and also of Swedish descent.

The lack of recognition in the garage might have been because he was clad in a relatively nondescript shirt, hat and sunglasses instead of a colorful firesuit covered by sponsor logos. But he also was on the way to a Friday race eve media availability where his entrance was greeted by only one reporter (after a few minutes).

During a news conference a day earlier, he sat patiently on the dais while his Indy 500-winning teammates and car owner fielded nearly all the questions – even though Blomqvist had turned maybe the most impressive lap of the month to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position in the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category.

The Meyer Shank Racing driver still might lack the attention commensurate with his already world-class CV (which expanded Sunday with his second consecutive Rolex 24  victory for MSR), but Blomqvist, 29, clearly isn’t bothered by it.

He carries the quiet confidence of knowing his immense talent will ensure results that will make him impossible to ignore.

“To a degree, I guess, it’s definitely ramped up a lot for me,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports. “In America, I’m starting to get a lot more (attention). In the last year, I’ve quite often got a lot of maybe what you’d call the glory moments. It’s been fun. And within the paddock, there’s a lot of respect for me anyway. It’s been good.”

There have been several moments of acclaim since he joined MSR barely a year ago in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. In his first start for the team at last year’s Rolex 24, Blomqvist turned in a Herculean performance to position the No. 60 Acura for the victory (giving way to Helio Castroneves because he was too “cooked” to complete the last 74 minutes).

He was even better this year at Daytona.

He ripped off a monster “one and done” pole-winning lap to beat the clock in qualifying on the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course. During the race, Blomqvist was as dominant in his first stint as his last in the ARX-06 while taking the checkered flag. He set the mark for the fastest time on Lap 6 that no one topped over the final 755 laps.

The 10 fastest laps in the race belonged to Blomqvist, carrying over his speed from the 2022 when he won the Petit Le Mans season finale to clinch the premier prototype championship at Michelin Road Atlanta.

A year earlier at the same track, he had burst onto the radar of car owner Mike Shank, who was intrigued by Blomqvist’s results as a BMW factory driver in the Formula E and DTM series. In 2014, Blomqvist also finished between second in F3, between champion Esteban Ocon (now with Alpine’s F1 team) and Max Verstappen (who has won the past two Formula One championships).

“He did a lot of high-level stuff, and then kind of fell out of favor, or I don’t know what happened, but he was a free agent,” Shank said. “I started looking at his numbers, and I’m like, ‘We should test this guy. So I take him to Road Atlanta in the fall of ’21, and he got in the car and just slayed it.”

Within minutes, he had called co-owner Jim Meyer.

“I’ve got our guy,” Shank said. “This is our guy. There’s no question about it.

Honda Performance Development president David Salters hugs Tom Blomqvist after the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

“Now what’s happened, though, and I think if you look back at the Rolex here last year (and) what he did, he’s a gold nugget. He reminds me a little bit when (Robert) Wickens came into IndyCar out of DTM (as a rookie in 2018).

“He truly believes he’s the fastest guy out there, and he proved it (at the Rolex 24).”

Said David Salters, president for Honda Performance Development: “We love Tom. He’s the real deal, isn’t he? Immensely talented, super smart, and on it.

The great thing about our teams, the strength in depth is tremendous. But if you look through the sports car racing now, that’s the standard you have to have. Tom, brilliant, Filipe (Albuquerque), brilliant. Ricky (Taylor). You can go through that list. They’re all superstars. Tom is awesome. His lap in qualifying quite frankly was unbelievable.”


Having conquered one of the world’s greatest endurance races twice with Acura, Blomqvist could be ticketed for the world’s biggest race next – the Indy 500 — with HPD’s primary brand.

He tested a Dallara-Honda for MSR last October at Sebring International Raceway, and while he plans to focus solely on IMSA this season, he remains very intrigued by IndyCar.

And with Castroneves, 47, beginning a one-year deal with MSR’s IndyCar team, there could be an obvious opening in 2024.

“Obviously, it’s not in the cards this year,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports the day before the Rolex. “Yeah, I would love to give it a go. To be honest, I think that would be an amazing step for me in my career. I enjoy the sports car stuff so much. It’s been really good to me lately. I really enjoyed the style of racing.

“But I feel like IndyCar would be a step up for me and my career. It would be fantastic if I could get that opportunity. But yeah, I guess I have to keep pushing Mike or something to give me a shot. But obviously for now, the focus is here in the sports car stuff. It’s not really down to me at the end of the day. And I’ve got to do my job and then the people who pay the bills and make the decisions obviously have to decide if that’s something worth pursuing.

“But yeah, I’d love to give it a go, and I definitely would be up for it.”

Tom Blomqvist after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole on the final qualifying lap (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

A transition from IMSA to IndyCar naturally would be easier than switching teams, but it also would be comfortable because Blomqvist already seems such a good fit at MSR.

It might have seemed an unusual pairing given his European-heavy background, but Blomqvist likes the Midwestern culture that’s been built at MSR. Based just outside Columbus, Ohio, the team’s shop has “no egos, and that just enables each and every one of to reach our potential.

“Obviously, with Honda, we obviously have some great resources, but we’re up against Porsche, BMW and some big heavy hitters in the motorsports world,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we’ve got a huge team compared to them, but we’ve obviously got a very capable team, and I think that’s what has been so impressive and really, really nice to see about the work that’s been done. No stone has been left unturned.”


Blomqvist still is living in Europe and planning to commute for the nine-race GTP schedule (which has a nearly two-month break after the Rolex 24 until the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring). But though he’s “got good friends in America, so I do have places to stay,” he seems open to being based more permanently near MSR in America.

“Let’s see what the future brings, and if that means me spending more time over here,” he said. “It’s a fantastic team. It’s a different environment to what I’m used to. It’s obviously now a hugely successful team, but it is a small team. It does feel like a very small family-operated team, which it is.

“I think Mike’s really just built this thing. It hasn’t happened overnight. Mike’s a great guy and put a lot of trust and faith in me, and I played a relatively good part in some of the success last year. I was able to reward him and give him my all every time I’m on track, and he respects that. But we are still a small team. In the grand scheme of things, we still are a really, really small team.”

Blomqvist said the BMW factory program would have two or three times the staffing of MSR – just on one of its two GTP cars.

“But it’s not the number of people that makes a difference, it’s the quality of people, and obviously Mike and HPD are a fantastic operation to go racing,” Blomqvist said. “We’re racers at heart.

“I’ve been part of some big outfits, and the European way of working is very, very different to how people go about racing in America. I’d say it’s more seat of your pants. A lot of emotion and kind of rides on that competitive spirt, competitive nature and on their personalities. It’s a lot more pure. It feels very pure. You want to win, so we go out and don’t cut corners on trying to win.”

Though it’s aligned with Liberty Media and has big-budget backing and support from Honda Performance Development, MSR also is much less corporate than most GTP teams.

A longtime and respected team owner who has built a sponsor portfolio, Shank also describes his maniacal dedication to success as “messed up,” and he’s known for dropping vulgarities into postrace interview with his blunt and self-deprecating sense of humor.

Meyer Shank Racing co-owner Mike Shank congratulates Tom Blomqvist on the Rolex 24 at Daytona pole position (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).

With a more laid-back but sometimes just as biting demeanor, Blomqvist has become the team’s unquestioned leader behind the wheel

“I definitely feel a lot more immersed,” he said. “Within the team, I was a bit more of an unknown quantity the start of last year. Obviously after last season, the team trusts me a lot. And that gives me a lot of pleasure, pride and confidence. In this sport, confidence is a huge aspect of drivers’ psychology in a way. We’re in extremely high-pressure moments where my job is to perform under the pressure of these organizations and the brand as well.

“It’s just a good, healthy team to be a part of. It’s a high-pressure environment, but the team obviously have put a lot of faith in me, and I’ve been able to deliver for them on occasions.”

Rolex 24 starting lineup
Tom Blomqvist celebrates after winning the pole in the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 (Mike Levitt/LAT/IMSA).