Supercross: Eli Tomac outduels Cooper Webb, has commanding lead

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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.

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“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).

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.