Eli Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record with dramatic late-race pass in Round 9


With less than one minute remaining on the clock, Eli Tomac took advantage of the first bobble of the night by Cooper Webb in heavy traffic to sweep past the 2021 champion and win a record-setting sixth Daytona Monster Energy Supercross race in Round 9 of the 2022 season. With the win, Tomac broke a tie for the most Daytona wins that was long held by Ricky Carmichael.

Webb grabbed the holeshot at the start and rode flawlessly, but with Tomac getting a strong start in third, one had the sense that he was stalking the leader.  At the start of the race, Chase Sexton slotted into second as Tomac patiently rode behind the pair. He slipped past Sexton on Lap 7 of 18 and rode in Webb’s roost for much of the remainder of the race.

The dirt and sand in Tomac’s face did not slow him any and the differential between first and second equalized at about two seconds until the pair hit traffic. Once Tomac got around Webb, he rapidly stretched his advantage and crossed over the finish line by more than five seconds.

Standing on the top of the podium, Tomac could barely control his enthusiasm.

“The whole night is unbelievable,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “That was a fight all the way to the end with Cooper. I really charged through the whoops that time. I felt like that is where I was making a little time. Obviously, there was a little gift there from a lapper. But it was a push all the way.”

Click here for complete 450 results

The late-race pass denied Webb his first feature win of the season, but it comes at a time that Webb is showing a rapid improvement in his results. He finished second in Minneapolis two weeks ago, won one of the Triple Crown events in Arlington last week and finished third in the overall standings.

“It sucks, but it’s racing,” Webb said. “Maybe I should have anticipated a little better. But it’s definitely a bummer when a race is decided, or goes that close, and a lapper gets involved.

“I was close. The closest I’ve ever been. I rode great the whole time. Felt like I rode strong the whole time. I knew Eli was coming and he’s just so damned good here.

“Overall I’m happy, but damn, it sucks. I could taste it. I knew I could go the distance, but shit happens sometimes.”

Chase Sexton held onto to finish third. It was his fourth podium of the season.

Tomac’s win wasn’t the only bit of drama. Early in the race, the frustration between Malcolm Stewart and Jason Anderson boiled over from last week’s contact in Race 1 of the Arlington Triple Crown.

Trailing Anderson at the time, Stewart dive-bombed the rider of the No. 21 and sent both of them to the ground, dropping them to the back of the pack. The pair stayed hooked together for the remainder of the race and rode through the field, but it cost both of them valuable spots and points for Anderson.

Stewart crossed under the checkers seventh, his first result outside the top five in seven races, but after the race both he and Anderson were docked a position for their on-track activities.

Anderson was ninth, and now trails Tomac by 18 points.

Dyland Ferrandis in fourth and Justin Barcia rounded out the top five.

Jett Lawrence put on a clinic in the 250 East division, winning both his heat and feature.

In fact, Lawrence had such a substantial lead in the heat, that he won despite confusing the white and checkered flags. Lawrence slowed on the final lap of his heat to wave at the crowd before his team got his attention and waved him on.

There was no such bobble in the feature as he dominated green to checkers and rode off to a more than 14 second lead.

“This is like a dream come true,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “You watch this as a little kid on TV so many times. You got (Justin Barcia) winning it. You got Eli winning it five times. You got Ricky winning it five times. You watch that and you think I want to do that one day. I want to have that experience one day.”

With the win, Lawrence took sole possession of the points’ lead by five points. The win also helped erase the memory of last week’s catastrophic contact between Lawrence and Austin Forkner in Race 3 of the Arlington Triple Crown.

Stilez Robertson crossed under the checkers second, which was his best result of the season and his first top-five of 2022.

For Robertson, it was an emotional cap to a frustrating offseason.

“I was second-guessing myself,” Robertson said. “It was a frickin’ crazy offseason. I separated by shoulder, broke my pelvis. It’s been seven weeks now. I’m so happy.”

Cameron McAdoo entered the weekend tied in points with Lawrence after last week’s troubled race. McAdoo took the overall win as Lawrence was pushed back to third after his crash in Race 3.

Pierce Brown in fourth and Enzo Lopes rounded out the top five.

Click here for complete 250 results


ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener

ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season

ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins

ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead

ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown

ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins

ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac

ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features

Robert Wickens in the Indy 500? Bryan Herta making plans to field a car for next year

Robert Wickens Indy 500
Brett Farmer/LAT Images/IMSA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Bryan Herta wants to enter Robert Wickens in the Indy 500 as early as 2024 – a year longer than preferred as work continues on the hand controls needed for the paralyzed driver.

Wickens suffered a spinal cord injury in a crash at Pocono Raceway in his 2018 IndyCar rookie season. He’s worked as a driver coach for the Arrow McLaren IndyCar team since, but last year with Bryan Herta Autosport and Hyundai returned to racing in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The 33-year-old Canadian won a pair of races (including the season opener at Daytona) driving a Hyundai Elantra N-TCR that is fitted for Wickens to race strictly through hand controls. Herta said Thursday that perfecting that technology for an Indy car in the biggest race in the world has slowed the project he’s determined to do with Wickens.

‘I’M AS HUNGRY AS EVER’: Robert Wickens’ return to racing

“I’d love to take Robbie back to Indy because I know he could do that, and I think that would be a next step for him in his journey,” Herta told The Associated Press. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at the logistical side of things, hand controls, and I think we have solutions for that.”

Herta said Honda has been supportive of the process, which Herta called “one of the most important things we’ve done in racing” last year.

“We actually looked at doing it this year, but the logistics of it, the timing, it just wasn’t enough,” Herta said. “That’s not something you can rush. There’s some things that we have to work very closely with IndyCar on, and things we just have to get right. It’s a process, but I can see a path to it.”

Wickens, when told his boss was openly discussing the Indy 500, grinned widely. Herta as a team owner won the Indianapolis 500 with Dan Wheldon and Alexander Rossi.

“That’d be fun,” he said of running the Indy 500.

But like Herta, Wickens said the effort has to be both done correctly and be competitive.

“We’d like to do it right. If we started right now, can we get a car ready for the open test in April? Probably,” Wickens told The AP. “But I don’t know where the systems would be and I want to get on proper simulators to make sure its correct.

“We all want to do a proper, professional effort,” he added. “I don’t want to do it for a marketing campaign. I want to do it for a chance to win.”

Wickens later tweeted about the possibility of racing the Indy 500 and said his goal was “always to get back to the top level of motorsport” whether it’s IndyCar or IMSA.

Wickens in 2021 did a demonstration in Canada that marketed advancements for paralyzed drivers and gave him a chance to again drive. His entire life had been upended 14 races into his rookie IndyCar season, just three months after winning top rookie honors at the Indianapolis 500.

Wickens has since married, returned to racing last year and welcomed the birth of his first child, an son named Wesley whom is infatuated with both race cars and the trip to Disney he took this week during the off days at Daytona International Speedway.

Wickens, who uses a wheelchair but can stand with some support, marks a full year back racing on Friday in the season-opening IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. Despite success last season, Herta made changes to his lineups and Wickens this year will be teamed with Harry Gottsacker.