If historic Supercross numbers are an indication, Eli Tomac must be considered the favorite to win the championship heading into Indianapolis since the points’ leader after Daytona has won the title 78 percent of the time. Since 1990, after the series began racing 16 or 17 rounds, that number increases to 88 percent of the time.
Additionally, the first rider to reach four wins in a season won the championship 78 percent of the time. Tomac scored his fourth win of 2023 at Oakland on a night when he tied Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time wins’ list. Last week in Daytona, Tomac took sole possession of that position with his record-extending Daytona Supercross win and sits within one victory of tying James Stewart for second.
In post-race coverage, Stewart asked Tomac to just get it over with. As the defending winner of this race, Tomac might just catch Stewart on Saturday.
Entering Indianapolis, the Supercross numbers show that the champion has won five or more race in 42 of 49 seasons. Tomac is there, and we are just now cresting the halfway point of 2023.
But Tomac has not completely been able to separate from either Cooper Webb, who he leads by just five points, or Chase Sexton (-10) in a battle that has seen the margin shrink as often as it expands. The reason is: This is the third consecutive race and the fourth of 2023 these three riders stood on the podium together.
Last week, Daytona featured a battle between Sexton and Justin Barcia. Notably, their 10-lap average at the beginning of the race was within 0.08 seconds on one another. Both riders have won a pair of 250 East championships, (Barcia in 2011 and 2012, Sexton in 2019 and 2020), and with how close there were on course, it was inevitable that the two would make contact.
“I made that mistake onto the tunnel and I heard him to my right, but I was in front so I felt that I had the line,” Sexton said in the post-race news conference. Barcia disagreed and chirped his disapproval after the race.
Through 35 starts, Sexton and Barcia have each earned two wins and have an almost identical count of top-fives, (Sexton 26, Barcia 25), but Sexton has doubled Barcia’s output of podium finishes with 18.
Ken Roczen has the most Indianapolis wins after sweeping the residency in 2021. He’s probably going to need another if he wants to be included in the conversation about who might with the championship. Tomac has two wins there and is the only other active rider with multiple victories. The injured Marvin Musquin also has two.
In the 250 class, Hunter Lawrence’s eighth Supercross win allowed him to break into the top 25 on that list, tied with Dean Wilson and three other riders. It was his ninth SuperMotocross win, which puts him in the top 50 there.
Lawrence has now stood on the podium 17 times in 25 starts.
Haiden Deegan scored the first podium of his brief, four-race career on one of Supercross’ most challenging tracks last week and in doing so, already earned half as many as his famous father Brian Deegan. We suspect there will be more to come.
Last Five Indianapolis Winners
2022: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 3: Ken Roczen
2021, Race 2: Ken Roczen
2021, Race 1: Ken Roczen
2019: Marvin Musquin
2022: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 3: Christian Craig
2021, Race 2: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 1: Colt Nichols
2019: Austin Forkner
By the Numbers
More SuperMotocross coverage
How to Watch Indianapolis Supercross
Power Rankings after Daytona
Adam Cianciarulo returns at Indy
Jordan Jarvis blazes new trails in Supercross
Haiden Deegan’s podium, a family affair
Title 24 podcast premieres
Max Anstie: You can’t skip steps
Results and Points after Daytona
Eli Tomac extends record with seventh Daytona win
Last year’s Indy: Eli Tomac wins, widens points’ lead