Eli Tomac closes the gap on Ken Roczen entering San Diego

Feld Entertainment Inc.
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Eli Tomac closed the gap to three points on Ken Roczen last week with his Monster Energy Supercross win at RingCentral Coliseum. They will continue their battle down the coast in San Diego in PETCO Park Saturday night (on NBCSN at 10 p.m. ET). Last year’s San Diego race was a muddy, sloppy affair. This year it’s forecast to be contested under clear skies.

Tomac had one of those performances at Oakland that makes one wonder how he does not yet have a Supercross championship. He’s come close with a second last year and in 2015 and ’17.

Meanwhile, Roczen is also searching for his first Supercross championship after finishing second in 2016.

Injuries kept him from challenging in 2017-18, and a bout with fatigue plagued him last year, so the stinger he sustained to his foot in Oakland played heavily on his mind. He medically is cleared for San Diego. The potential injury came in the final turn last week when Cooper Webb knocked him off balance in a battle for second.

With his Oakland win, Tomac took sole possession of seventh on the all-time wins list. It also moved him into 10th on the all-time list of podium finishes.

The winner of San Diego has won the title 42 percent of the time, including three of the last five years.

For now, it is shaping up to be a two-man show with Tomac three points behind Roczen. Sitting 12 points out of second and 15 from first, Justin Barcia needs to gain some momentum. Barcia narrowly missed the top five last week with his sixth-place finish.

He chased Jason Anderson in the closing laps. But Anderson kept his perfect 2020 top-five streak alive.

Cooper Webb has his work cut out for him. San Diego has not been good to him with an average finish of 13th. He has 18 points to make up on Roczen if he wants the red plate again. Last year, he finished eighth in this race.

Webb won San Diego in 2015 and 2016, however, making him one of five riders with two victories there. Tomac also has two (2011 and 2013). No one has more.

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Justin Cooper earned his 10th career podium last week, but lost the red plate to teammate Dylan Ferrandis.

Wedged between two extremely aggressive riders in the points, he told NBC this week that the key to his success is consistency. Cooper is only two points behind Ferrandis and eight ahead of Austin Forkner.

Cooper’s 10 podium finishes have come in just 15 starts. Four of them have come in the five races of 2020. Better yet, Cooper has yet to finish outside of the top 10.

Luke Clout has been closing in on a strong run all year with a seventh at St. Louis and a sixth in A2. He finally earned his first career top five last week in Oakland.

Christian Craig remains out with a hand injury sustained at San Diego.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 10 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Dylan Ferrandis beat Austin Forkner and Justin Cooper in the 250 class.

Last San Diego race (February, 2019):

Eli Tomac beat Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo beat Garrett Marchbanks and Jimmy Decotis in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Ken Roczen (113)
Eli Tomac (110)
Justin Barcia (98)
Jason Anderson (96)
Cooper Webb (95)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (109)
Justin Cooper (107)
Austin Forkner (99)
Brandon Hartranft (92)
Alex Martin (85)

Wins

450

(2) Ken Roczen (St. Louis and Glendale)
(2) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2 and Oakland)
(1) Justin Barcia (Anaheim 1)

250 West

(2) Austin Forkner (St. Louis and Glendale)
(2) Dylan Ferrandis (Anaheim 2 and Oakland)
(1) Justin Cooper (Anaheim 1)

Top-5s

450

(5) Jason Anderson
(4) Eli Tomac
(4) Cooper Webb
(4) Ken Roczen
(3) Justin Barcia
(2) Zach Osborne
(2) Adam Cianciarulo
(1) Blake Baggett

250 West

(4) Dylan Ferrandis
(4) Austin Forkner
(4) Justin Cooper
(3) Michael Mosiman
(3) Brandon Hartranft
(3) Alex Martin
(1) Christian Craig
(1) Jett Lawrence
(1) Jacob Hayes
(1) Luke Clout

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)