Supercross: Eli Tomac, Ken Roczen tied entering Daytona

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The 2020 Supercross season heated up last week in Atlanta and should get only tighter as the series heads to a hybrid track this week at Daytona International Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET. (Watch on NBCSN or stream live.) The long track stretches the length of Daytona’s tri-oval, acts as much like a Motocross course as Supercross and allows for a variety of riding styles.

Eli Tomac headed into Round 8 last week with what appeared to be a comfortable lead. Only seven points separated Tomac from Ken Roczen, but Tomac caught and had pulled away from his rival in the last few weeks.

The story is different heading into Daytona. A bad start at Atlanta mired Tomac in traffic. A crash with Blake Baggett one-third of the way through the race dropped him to 14th. And a feud with Justin Barcia (click on this link for video), who sits third in the points and is in striking distance at 23 points, tightened up the battle.

Roczen won Atlanta; Tomac climbed to fourth at the checkers, and the two riders will both affix red plates to their bikes this week with a share of the points lead. Both riders have 200 points.

MORE: Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia feud on camera at Atlanta

MORE: Justin Barcia set to attack the final nine rounds

Tomac made headlines last week in a way he’d prefer not.

Confronted at the base of the podium by Barcia, the two engaged in verbal fisticuffs. Barcia accused Tomac of riding dirty after a series of passes for eighth-place left Barcia with bloody knuckles. Tomac responded that Barcia has never made a clean pass in his life.

Once they were done chirping, Barcia ascended to the podium. Tomac headed to the pits.

Cooper Webb’s gutsy ride got lost in the drama. Riding with severe bruising from an accident at Dallas one week earlier, Webb battled back from adversity and finished third in a tight three-way battle that included Tomac and Martin Davalos.

Fifth in the points, Jason Anderson finished 11th.

Kyle Cunningham suffered a separation in his left shoulder and will be out for the foreseeable future.

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The 250 class has been just as tight.

Chase Sexton and Shane McElrath came into Atlanta tied for the lead. Sexton’s victory over RJ Hampshire and McElrath gives him sole possession of the red plate, but the points are tight.

Sexton hold a five-point advantage on McElrath. Hampshire is nine more behind.

Joey Crown crashed on press day in Atlanta. He broke his collarbone and will not return for a couple of weeks.

Jace Owens will return at Daytona after sustaining an injury to his arm and a bout with the flu.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 12:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold
Race: 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Ken Roczen beat Justin Barcia and Cooper Webb in the 450 class (Eli Tomac finished fourth).
Chase Sexton beat RJ Hampshire and Shane McElrath in the 250 class.

Last Atlanta race (March, 2019):

Eli Tomac beat Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner beat Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper in the 250 class.

Points Leaders

450s:
Eli Tomac (200)
Ken Roczen (200)
Justin Barcia (177)
Cooper Webb (176)
Jason Anderson (151)

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

250 East:
Chase Sexton (75)
Shane McElrath (70)
RJ Hampshire (61)
Garrett Marchbanks (53)
Jordon Smith (47)

Wins

450

(4) Eli Tomac (Anaheim 2, Oakland, Tampa, and Dallase)
(3) Ken Roczen (St. Louis, Glendale, and Atlanta)
(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)

250 East

(2) Chase Sexton (Dallas and Atlanta)
(1) Shane McElrath (Tampa)

Top-5s

450

(8) Eli Tomac
(7) Cooper Webb
(7) Ken Roczen
(7) Justin Barcia
(6) Jason Anderson
(3) Adam Cianciarulo
(3) Zach Osborne
(2) Blake Baggett
(1) Justin Hill
(1) Martin Davalos

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

250 East

(3) Shane McElrath
(3) Chase Sexton
(2) Jeremy Martin
(2) Garrett Marchbanks
(2) Jordon Smith
(2) RJ Hampshire
(1) Jo Shimoda

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Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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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.