Supercross’ return Sunday in Salt Lake: Start time, TV, info for watching

Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Nearly three months after the postponement of the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Monster Energy AMA Supercross will be returning to action Sunday.

Round 11 is the first of seven remaining 2020 events that will be run in Salt Lake City, Utah.

All are being held at Rice-Eccles Stadium, on the campus of the University of Utah, with no fans in attendance.

Here’s what you need to know …

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BROADCAST/STREAMING SCHEDULE

Television coverage will begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, then will move to NBC from 4-6 p.m. ET.

The event also will be streamed on NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports App, and NBC Sports Gold’s Supercross Pass, which also will stream live qualifying for the event starting at 1:30 p.m. ET.

COVID-19 IMPACT

Earlier this month, Feld Entertainment senior director of two-wheel operations Dave Prater confirmed that protocols for the final seven races will include COVID-19 testing for everyone on-site at Rice-Eccles Stadium. A negative result will be required to enter the stadium’s perimeter; only one test will be necessary as long as the person remains in Utah throughout the seven-race stretch.

Additional protocols include temperature checks (administered when someone enters the stadium perimeter), face masks, increased sanitation efforts and social distancing.

TRACK MAP

Prater also noted there is a different track map for each of the seven remaining rounds. “You might not see as different a track as you would from Indy to Salt Lake, but it will be a different track,” he said. “The lanes will be the same but with different obstacles.”

Click here to see the map for Sunday’s event.

FORMAT

A standard event format will be used for the seven remaining rounds, except for the season finale on June 21, which will include an East/West Showdown in the 250SX class.

  • 450SX Class – 40 Riders based on current point standings and 2020 top 100 number or combined season qualifying results
  • 250SX Class – 40 Riders based on current point standings and 2020 top 100 number or combined season qualifying results
  • Two qualifying sessions will be held for gate pick
  • 250SX Class – Two Heat Races and a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)
  • 450SX Class – Two Heat Races and a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ)
  • 250SX Class Main Event
  • 450SX Class Main Event

WEATHER

Riders will face a heat wave in Salt Lake City. Weather Underground forecasts temperatures near 90 degrees at race time under partly cloudy skies.

WHEN WE LAST LEFT YOU

On March 7 at Daytona International Speedway, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Eli Tomac earned his fourth career Daytona Supercross win in the 450SX class. Tomac erased a nine-second deficit, took the lead from Honda rival Ken Roczen with two minutes to go before the white flag lap and went on to victory.

In the 250SX East class, 18-year-old Garrett Marchbanks became just the fourth rider to claim their first career 250 class win at Daytona. Marchbanks held on after absorbing late-race pressure from reigning 250SX East champion Chase Sexton.

Extended Highlights – Daytona 450SX

Extended Highlights – Daytona 250SX

Tomac – who has become a father for the first time during the shutdown – currently holds the 450SX class championship lead by three points over Roczen. Reigning champion Cooper Webb is in third place, 29 points back.

In the 250SX East class, Sexton leads the way by 10 points over Shane McElrath, followed by R.J. Hampshire, 18 points back.

WORKING VACATION: Justin Brayton on the job and at play in Utah

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

After Sunday’s opener, here are the details for the remaining six rounds:

  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).

Lessons learned in three rounds of Extreme E pay huge dividends in the Copper X Prix for Tanner Foust

Foust Copper X Prix
McLaren Racing
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To paraphrase the Grateful Dead, what a long, unique trip it’s been for Tanner Foust in his first season with the Extreme E series as he took his early season lessons to Chile to compete in the Copper X Prix. And he’s learned his lessons well.

In February, McLaren announced they would expand their motorsports program with an Extreme E entry. They signed two talented rally drivers in Foust and Emma Gilmour – and paired them for the opening round in Neom, Saudi Arabia with just a few days of testing under their belts. Baked by the Arabian desert sun, it was trial by fire.

The duo performed well in their debut, advancing into the final round and finishing fifth. As Extreme E headed to another desert halfway across the globe for Round 4, it was a good time to catch up with Foust and ask about McLaren’s progress. The Copper X Prix was held this past weekend in one of the most extreme regions in the world: the Atacama Desert.

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“The shock going into the first race was the speed,” Foust told NBC Sports. “It was much higher than we had tested. We spent a lot of time around 100 miles per hour [in race trim] and our testing speeds were more in the 60 to 70-mile range. Then, once we sort of got around that, the car got updated so you can drive it even faster.”

In rally racing, some incidents are out of a driver’s control. Even peeking around another car can be dangerous because of potholes that have recently been gouged in the ground or large bushes that seem to sprout up between laps. A couple of rollovers brought Foust back to earth – but the pace was there and that was important.

“We had some challenges this season,” Foust said prior to the Copper X Prix. “We had a good start; made the final, which is a difficult thing to do in this series. I had two rolls in the first three events, but I have improved each time. Now we come into Round 4 in Chile in a pretty strong position. We have competitive times as a team. We are communicating really well and have our heads around this Odyssey vehicle.”

Foust’s words proved to be prophetic.

He won the Crazy Race – Extreme E’s version of a Last Chance Qualifier – and did so after passing the field. It was the same manner in which he qualified for Saudi Arabia’s finale, but this time things would be better. There were those hard-earned lessons on which to lean – and Foust had reps under his belt. He was not going to be caught off guard by any random obstacles.

Tanner Foust passed Sebastien Loeb heading to the Switch Zone in the Copper X Prix. (Photo by Sam Bagnall / LAT Images)

In the Copper X Prix finale, he pressured one of the best rally drivers in the history of the sport.

Pitching sideways through a tight left-hander late in his stint, Foust put his McLaren Extreme E Odyssey at the head of the pack in front of Sebastien Loeb as they headed to the Switch Zone. There, he would turn the car over to his co-driver Gilmour.

The Extreme E series pairs male and female drivers with both taking a turn behind the wheel.

After the driver change, Gilmour lost the lead momentarily to Loeb’s teammate Cristina Gutierrez, but as they charged toward the finish line, she surged ahead and crossed under the checkers first.

“What an improvement for the team over this year,” Foust said after the race. “We have struggled through some of the events, being in our first year in competition. We showed true pace this weekend; overtaking Sebastien Loeb was a highlight.

“Emma put in a great run in the Final. I was fortunate to go from last to first in the Crazy Race and then first in the Final but with some flag penalties, we had 20 seconds added to our time, which put us into fifth. It was a great feeling crossing the line first, I love this wide style track and the NEOM McLaren Odyssey was fantastic here.

“Hopefully we can continue that momentum into Uruguay.”

Loeb and Gutierrez were elevated to the top of the podium, but no one can take away the feeling of crossing under the checkers first.


Racing Responsibly

Since cars were first invented, racing has played a socially responsible role by improving safety. As Earth reaches a tipping point with climate change, racing needs to adapt to these new needs and requirements, which is where Extreme E’s unique strategy becomes increasingly important.

The Extreme E experience is more than simple racing. Each race is accompanied by a legacy program designed to offset damage done by climate change and to erase the footprint caused by the events.

Foust, a biology major from the University of Colorado, was given the chance to rekindle his interest and give back to the environment ahead of the Copper X Prix.

The Atacama is the oldest desert in the world at 150 million years. It is the driest place on earth and has the highest degree of ultraviolet light. And yet somehow life perseveres through underground rivers with oases dating back to Incan times. Foust participated in preparing a local habitat for the reintroduction of a critically endangered water frog to Chile’s longest river, the Loa, which snakes its way through the desert.

“I’m loving the experience,” Foust said. “I’m putting on a lot of Chapstick, a lot of sunscreen. What a fascinating part of the world. I never would have come here otherwise.

“I honestly am very honored to be a part of this sport. I am a huge believer in the fact that motorsports has done us good in the last 100 years. I think we benefit every single time we put our seatbelts on and drive down the road to the lessons learned in racing since the turn of the century. And I really hope motorsports continues that tradition.

“I think that motorsports like [Extreme E] does it in a responsible way, a gender-neutral way and a carbon-neutral way.”