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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Robert Wickens shares more positive strides toward recovery in new video

Joe Skibinski/IndyCar
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Robert Wickens has made massive steps since sustaining a spinal cord injury in an Aug. 19, 2018 crash at Pocono Raceway.

Since the accident, Wickens publicly has shared his recovery, often uploading videos of his physical rehabilitation on Twitter.

In his most recent update on Wednesday, Wickens shared a video of him walking on a treadmill. Fellow NTT IndyCar Series competitor Tony Kannan, who competes in triathlons during his spare time, also was visible running on the treadmill behind Wickens.

“When I am @TonyKannan [sic] age, I hope to run as fast as him…” Wickens tweeted. “Today was a good day!”

Wickens, who will turn 31 on March 13, first made his return to the IndyCar paddock in last year’s season opener in St. Petersburg. Since then, he’s made a return to the driver’s seat, piloting a specialized Acura NSX prior to the start of last year’s IndyCar race in his hometown of Toronto.

In September, Wickens fulfilled a vow to his wife Karli, by standing with her during their wedding. The new husband and wife also danced together during their reception.

Should Wickens fully recover to resume racing, Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt has stated that the team’s No. 6 entry will be available for him to drive. Wickens continues to remain as a “driver coach and consultant” for the team.

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter