Supercross: Eli Tomac outduels Cooper Webb, has commanding lead


Eli Tomac fended off a furious last-lap charge by Cooper Webb to win Sunday’s Round 13 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at muddy Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

With his seventh 450 main event victory of the season, Tomac moved into a tie with Ryan Dungey for sixth on the all-time Supercross win list with 34.

“When I got past halfway, I was like I do not want to let this thing go,” Tomac told NBCSN. “I was feeling so good and comfortable at that point, there was no reason to take it a level down there.”

POINTS, RESULTS: Click here for where everyone finished in Round 13

Tomac took the lead from Webb for the first time 8 minutes into the 20-minute event, but Webb reclaimed first a couple of minutes later on a course that was a bog after a daylong rain.

Tomac, who led a race-high 12 laps, took the lead for good with two and a half minutes with a nifty triple combination through the rhythm section and then picked his way through lapped riders on the last lap as Webb got a wheel alongside.

“That was the make or break for me; the lappers were unbelievable,” Tomac said of his winning move. “We passed each other once or twice in the whoops there. That was a great battle. Really fun, though. The track had some huge character so great day for the Monster Energy Kawasaki.”

Webb narrowly missed his second consecutive victory after outdueling Tomac in Round 12.

“Sucks I got second but man, it was a battle from Lap 1 until the last lap,” Webb said. “The conditions were tricky, and the lappers were gnarly. We’d catch one and one would go one way, one would go the other. A lot of it came down to that.

“We hit a few lappers, just trying to get going. Just seemed like one lap I might get them right, one lap he might get them right, but we were really pushing hard. That was a fun race even though I got beat. Man, it was cool to run up there. I’m sure if the fans were here, they would have been loving it.”

Tomac increased his championship lead over Ken Roczen (a disappointing 10th Sunday after getting lapped twice) to 26 points — a full race’s worth — with four main events remaining in the season.

Webb is ranked third, 32 points behind.

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“We’ll try to get that top spot Sunday,” the defending series champion said. “Eli’s riding really well. We’re right there. Hopefully we can take advantage of a win later on.”

Jason Anderson finished third, followed by Zach Osborne and Malcolm Stewart.

“I’m happy to be up (on the podium),” Anderson, the 2018 champion, told NBCSN. “I feel I’m getting a little bit better and closer to old form. My headspace is a little better as far as the racing goes. I’m just trying to keep building and building. But those front two guys waxed me, so I need to work on some stuff and hopefully come out in the next round. Think it’ll be a little drier in the next race.”

In the 250 class, Chase Sexton took advantage of a second chance to score his third victory of the season and reclaim the points lead over Shane McElrath.

On the initial start, Sexton nearly claimed the holeshot but went off course in the first turn and lost the lead to McElrath. Sexton lost a few more spots after running into Enzo Lopes and falling down, but then the race was red-flagged because of a hard crash for Garrett Marchbanks.

Under Supercross rules, the race was restarted because fewer than three laps had been completed.

McElrath, who had won the past two events to move into a tie with Sexton in the standings, took the holeshot this time but collided with Coty Schock just past the halfway point of the 20-minute race.

Sexton snatched the lead and led the rest of the way to open up a three-point lead on McElrath.

“Shane’s been on a roll, and I’ve been making a lot of mistakes out here,” Sexton told NBCSN. “I got a gift with that red flag. Honestly, I was being way too impatient with the opening corners of the first race.

(Feld Entertainment, Inc.)

“At the red flag, I said, ‘Man, I’ve got to win here. This is my race.’ I felt really good all day. I lost my front brake halfway through that main event and running into the lappers, it was bad out there. I felt really good. Just waiting behind Shane. I knew I was faster in the whoops. Just waiting for a moment to take it. He ended up making a mistake, so it was good.”

McElrath was able to remount his bike and hung on for second place.

“It was a tough day,” McElrath told NBCSN. “To come out with a second, obviously, it sucks to have fell while leading, and I ripped both holeshots, but overall it was a struggle earlier. We rebounded. We’ll get ready for next Wednesday. I’m happy with my effort and ready to go.”

Colt Nichols finished third in a race that was marked by a driving rain storm that began shortly after the red flag. “It was tough; the rain just came on and destroyed the track,” Nichols told NBCSN. “Chase made us all look silly.”

FIVE THINGS TO WATCHBurning issues as Supercross restarts

NEXT: Here are the details for the remaining four rounds:

  • 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).

Ford unveils a new Mustang for 2024 Le Mans in motorsports ‘lifestyle brand’ retooling

Ford Mustang Le Mans
Ford Performance

LE MANS, France — Ford has planned a return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its iconic Mustang muscle car next year under a massive rebranding of Ford Performance aimed at bringing the automotive manufacturer “into the racing business.”

The Friday unveil of the new Mustang Dark Horse-based race car follows Ford’s announcement in February (and a ballyhooed test at Sebring in March) that it will return to Formula One in 2026 in partnership with reigning world champion Red Bull.

The Mustang will enter the GT3 category next year with at least two cars in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship, and is hopeful to earn an invitation to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. The IMSA entries will be a factory Ford Performance program run by Multimatic, and a customer program in WEC with Proton Competition.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, also an amateur sports car racer, told The Associated Press the Mustang will be available to compete in various GT3 series across the globe to customer teams. But more important, Farley said, is the overall rebranding of Ford Performance – done by renowned motorsports designer Troy Lee – that is aimed at making Ford a lifestyle brand with a sporting mindset.

“It’s kind of like the company finding its own, and rediscovering its icons, and doubling down on them,” Farley told the AP. “And then this motorsports activity is getting serious about connecting enthusiast customers with those rediscovered icons. It’s a big switch for the company – this is really about building strong, iconic vehicles with enthusiasts at the center of our marketing.”

Ford last competed in sports car racing in 2019 as part of a three-year program with Chip Ganassi Racing. The team scored the class win at Le Mans in 2016 in a targeted performance aimed to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford snapping Ferrari’s six-year winning streak.

Ford on Friday displayed a Mustang with a Lee-designed livery that showcased the cleaner, simplified look that will soon be featured on all its racing vehicles. The traditional blue oval with Ford Performance in white lettering underneath will now be branded simply FP.

The new mark will be used across car liveries, merchandise and apparel, display assets, parts and accessories and in advertising.

Farley cited Porsche as an automaker that has successfully figured out how to sell cars to consumers and race cars in various series around the world while creating a culture of brand enthusiasts. He believes Ford’s new direction will help the company sell street cars, race cars, boost interest in driving schools, and create a merchandise line that convinces consumers that a stalwart of American automakers is a hip, cool brand.

“We’re going to build a global motorsports business off road and on road,” Farley told the AP, adding that the design of the Mustang is “unapologetically American.”

He lauded the work of Lee, who is considered the top helmet designer among race car drivers.

“We’re in the first inning of a nine inning game, and going to Le Mans is really important,” Farley said. “But for customer cars, getting the graphics right, designing race cars that win at all different levels, and then designing a racing brand for Ford Performance that gets rebranded and elevated is super important.”

He said he’s kept a close eye on how Porsche and Aston Martin have built their motorsports businesses and said Ford will be better.

“We’re going in the exact same direction. We just want to be better than them, that’s all,” Farley said. “Second is the first loser.”

Farley, an avid amateur racer himself, did not travel to Le Mans for the announcement. The race that begins Saturday features an entry from NASCAR, and Ford is the reigning Cup Series champion with Joey Logano and Team Penske.

The NASCAR “Garage 56” entry is a collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet and Goodyear, and is being widely celebrated throughout the industry. Farley did feel left out of the party in France – a sentiment NASCAR tried to avoid by inviting many of its partners to attend the race so that it wouldn’t seem like a Chevrolet-only celebration.

“They’re going right and I’m going left – that NASCAR thing is a one-year deal, right? It’s Garage 56 and they can have their NASCAR party, but that’s a one-year party,” Farley said. “We won Le Mans outright four times, we won in the GT class, and we’re coming back with Mustang and it’s not a one-year deal.

“So they can get all excited about Garage 56. I almost see that as a marketing exercise for NASCAR, but for me, that’s a science project,” Farley continued. “I don’t live in a world of science projects. I live in the world of building a vital company that everyone is excited about. To do that, we’re not going to do a Garage 56 – I’ve got to beat Porsche and Aston Martin and Ferrari year after year after year.”

Ford’s announcement comes on the heels of General Motors changing its GT3 strategy next season and ending its factory Corvette program. GM, which unlike Ford competes in the IMSA Grand Touring Prototype division (with its Cadillac brand), will shift fully to a customer model for Corvettes in 2024 (with some factory support in the IMSA GTD Pro category).