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Garrett Marchbanks reflects on his Daytona Supercross win

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Last week before the rash of postponements and cancelations affected every facet of motorsports, NBC Sports caught up with Garrett Marchbanks to discuss his dramatic first victory in the Daytona Supercross race.

In racing, the thing that matters most is the last thing a racer does.

Win the last race before a break and he can stand tall for a couple of weeks. Win that last race of the season and he has bragging rights for the entire offseason.

“I just need to put my head down and ride every race like it was my last one,” Marchbanks told NBC Sports last week before the Covid-19 outbreak put the 2020 Supercross season on pause.

As it tuned out, his words were prophetic.

In his second professional season, Marchbanks had one podium finish in 13 races before Daytona. He wasn’t exactly on a lot of radar screens, but only one person has to believe in a rider’s ability to win – the rider himself.

“Before the heat race I felt good, and when I feel good it’s going to be a good night,” Marchbanks said. “I wasn’t really nervous that night, which was crazy because I’m usually a pretty nervous person on certain nights. I haven’t felt like that since I was an amateur rider two years ago.”

Despite having only one podium, Marchbanks has been getting close.

In the 250 East opener at Tampa, he finished fourth, only his third career top five. He added another the next week in the Triple Crown race in Arlington, Texas. The following week, he was seventh in Atlanta.

Before Daytona, Garrett Marchbanks tested his Supercross bike outdoors and in sand. Feld Entertainment Inc.

Most riders get their start on outdoor tracks. Marchbanks was no exception. And that familiarity proved to be important.

With its long straights, the course at Daytona is a hybrid. It is a transitional race that allows riders to bridge the gap between their amateur days and their profession.

“The week going into Daytona we ran some outdoors, some sand tracks on my SX bike, and I was feeling really good,” Marchbanks said. “We went into the day, I was around seventh my first practice. My first qualification, I qualified fifth. In the second qualification, I felt really good. My time wasn’t there with the top two guys, but personally I felt really comfortable.

“When I lined up on the gate for that heat race, something just clicked. When I was behind (Jeremy) Martin it was just natural to me. I got to the lead and after that I didn’t want to be that midpack guy anymore. I wanted to win really bad. Then, getting the holeshot in the Main event was awesome. Leading every lap. It was the best feeling ever.”

Notably, Marchbanks’ first podium came in another transitional race. Last year he finished second to Adam Cianciarulo on a sloppy, heavy track. A downpour leveled the playing field among the riders and gave Marchbanks an early taste of success in his fifth 250 start.

“Last year as a rookie I wasn’t very experienced with Supercross,” Marchbanks said. “I’ve always been a good outdoor rider, so the mud definitely was on my side. This year I have a way more experience in Supercross. Daytona was a little more outdoorsy track of course, but there were some difficult sections. My outdoor riding played into it.”

At the time of the coronavirus hold, Marchbanks is fourth in the standings, a point behind RJ Hampshire and nine points behind second-ranked Shane McElrath.

Marchbanks was 10th last year in the 250 West division as a rookie. Jalek Swoll currently holds that position, 37 points in arrears, so Marchbanks is headed toward a career high. No matter what, he has earned that elusive first win, and he has a while to relish it.

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Scott Dixon fastest on the second day of Indianapolis 500 practice

Indy 500 practice Dixon
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Scott Dixon was fastest on the second day of Indy 500 practice Thursday, turning a lap at 226.102 mph in his No. 9 Dallara-Honda at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Takuma Sato was second, followed by Marco Andretti, Conor Daly and rookie Alex Palou.

The rest of the top 10 were: Colton Herta, Charlie Kimball, James Hinchcliffe, Fernando Alonso and James Davison.

THURSDAY PRACTICE: Click here for Day 2 speeds at Indianapolis

COMBINED SPEEDS: Click here for the overall speeds from the first two days

The session had one incident as Alonso crashed with just less than an hour left in the session. The Arrow McLaren SP driver was optimistic that the car could be repaired without a backup.

Among the other notables on the speed chart Thursday: Ryan Hunter-Reay (11th); Tony Kanaan (14th); Helio Castroneves (16th); Josef Newgarden (18th); Graham Rahal (19th); Will Power (23rd); Alexander Rossi (26th) and defending race winner Simon Pagenaud (27th).

Felix Rosenqvist (24th) and rookie Dalton Kellett turned the most laps (141) around the 2.5-mile oval.

Teams mostly focused on race setup Thursday as they will receive 80 extra horsepower in the “Fast Friday” practice that will feature speeds above 230 mph for qualifying Saturday and Sunday.

The Indy 500 will take place Aug. 23; coverage begins at 1 p.m. ET on NBC with the green flag at 2:30 p.m.

HOW TO WATCH THE INDY 500 ON NBCDetails for the Aug. 23 race

DAILY INDY 500 SCHEDULEClick here for all on-track activity in August at Indy