Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac bring tight Supercross points battle to Tampa

Leave a comment

Ken Roczen holds a razor-thin margin over Eli Tomac as the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season heads cross country. From the Pacific coast and San Diego, the series will head Saturday to Florida for Round 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. at 7 p.m. ET. (Stream live on NBCSN).

Every week, there are battles throughout the field and after racing for wins through most of the early season, Roczen and Tomac were forced to overcome bad starts in the San Diego Main and slice their way through a different group of riders. The riders remained in contact for most of the race with Tomac stalking Roczen. Midway through, Tomac passed the points leader.

Tomac advanced to fourth, but came up about 3.5 seconds short of earning his fourth consecutive podium. He was able to place Justin Barcia between himself and Roczen, however, and closed to within a single point.

Tomac won at Tampa two seasons ago and could leave Florida with the points lead.

That allowed for a couple of fresh faces at the front of the pack. Cooper Webb scored his first win of the season in San Diego over super-rookie Adam Cianciarulo.

MORE: Adam Cianciarulo’s perspective is speed 

MORE: Broc Tickle Joins JGR

Webb and Cianciarulo’s performance in San Diego added two more names to the championship mix. This was Webb’s fourth podium in the first six races.

Cianciarulo now has two podiums and a fourth in his first six 450 races and feels confidence build with each race he runs among the top five. Cianciarulo led 20 laps last week before getting passed late.

Barcia’s fifth-place finish in San Diego was enough to hold onto fourth in the standings, but he’s trending downward after standing on the podium in his first two races this year.

Subscribe to the Supercross Pass for complete qualification and race coverage of the 2020 season.

Dylan Ferrandis’ third win of the season came under the watchful eye of the sanctioning body as he continues to race on probation. Austin Forkner finished second and still lost ground in the battle. The West riders get a chance to regroup and Forkner can work out a plan on how to erase a 13-point deficit to Ferrandis.

Supercross swaps coasts and it’s time for the 250 East riders to take to the track.

Chase Sexton was scheduled to run in the West Region. A collarbone injury in December changed those plans. His switch to the East gave him six more weeks to recover. It also provides him an opportunity to defend his 250 East championship.

Sexton battles one of last year’s standouts from the West as RJ Hampshire (fourth in 250 West points last year) shift regions. Colt Nichols was also scheduled to race in the East division, but a dislocated collarbone will delay his start.

Jeremy Martin returns from a 2018 injury in the outdoor season to race as a teammate to Sexton on a Honda.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 11 a.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Cooper Webb beat Adam Cianciarulo and Blake Baggett in the 450 class.
Dylan Ferrandis beat Austin Forkner and Justin Cooper in the 250 class.

Last Tampa race (February, 2018):

Eli Tomac beat Marvin Musquin and Jason Anderson in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Dylan Ferrandis and Zach Osborne in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Ken Roczen (130)
Eli Tomac (129)
Cooper Webb (121)
Justin Barcia (116)
Adam Cianciarulo (113)

250 West:
Dylan Ferrandis (135)
Justin Cooper (128)
Austin Forkner (122)
Brandon Hartranft (110)
Alex Martin (98)

Wins

450

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

250 West

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

Top-5s

450

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

250 West

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

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.