Supercross Preview: Daytona could be the season’s turning point

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There is a lot of room on the infield grass on the frontstretch of Daytona International Speedway; just ask any NASCAR driver who has slid down its length. That gave Ricky Carmichael ample room to work his magic when he designed this week’s course for Round 10 of the Supercross season.

Beginning on pit road across from the start/finish line, the course sweeps out toward the straightaway before heading toward NASCAR Turn 1, then serpentines its way back and forth across the infield through a variety of hard-packed dirt and sand.

Due in part because of its length and the room that affords to create some gnarly jumps and challenging rhythm sections, this is one of the most grueling courses the series will face all year. As part of Daytona’s famed Bike Week, it is also one of the most prestigious. Daytona has been part of the Supercross schedule since the series first launched.

Cooper Webb posted back-to-back wins twice this season. Daytona gives him the opportunity to do so again after last week’s win in Atlanta and if he does so, it will make a major statement to the field. There is still time for the field to catch up to Webb, but in Round 10 of 17 the clock is starting to tick louder with each passing week.

Two East division riders will not make the show. Jordon Smith is out for a wrist injury he sustained at Arlington that has not yet healed. Mitchell Falk was also injured just prior to Arlington and that gives the Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull KTM team the time and resources necessary to allow 250 West rider Shane McElrath the opportunity to race in the 450 class. McElrath currently sits third in the 250 West division. He has a previous start at East Rutherford, NJ in 2015 with an 11th-place finish.

In the 250 class, Austin Forkner looks to get back to dominating that division after falling behind West division riders Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis in last week’s Showdown in Atlanta. A third-place finish in the feature was the first race that he’s failed to win all season.

MORE: Supercross kicks off Daytona Bike Week

Schedule:

Qualifying: 1 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 7:30 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold and NBCSN

Last Week:

Cooper Webb scored his fifth win of the year over Blake Baggett and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis from the West topped Austin Forkner and Chase Sexton from the East in 2019’s first Showdown event.

Last Year:

Justin Brayton got his first career win over Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb in the 450 class.
In 250s, Jordon Smith won over Jeremy Martin and Austin Forkner in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[5] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland, Minneapolis, Arlington, and Atlanta)
[2] Eli Tomac (San Diego and Detroit)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)

250 West:
[4] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale, Oakland, San Diego and Atlanta)
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

250 East:
[3] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis, Arlington and Detroit)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (9)
Marvin Musquin (7)
Cooper Webb (7)
Eli Tomac (6)
Blake Baggett (5)
Dean Wilson (2)
Joey Savatgy (2)
Chad Reed (2)
Justin Barcia (1)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Justin Brayton (1)
Aaron Plessinger (1)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (6)
Shane McElrath (5)
Colt Nichols (4)
Dylan Ferrandis (4)
RJ Hampshire (3)
James Decotis (2)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (4)
Justin Cooper (4)
Chase Sexton (4)
Jordon Smith (3)
Martin Davalos (2)
Alex Martin (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Cooper Webb (199)
Ken Roczen (186)
Marvin Musquin (182)
Eli Tomac (177)
Blake Baggett (142)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (140)
Dylan Ferrandis (125)
Shane McElrath (123)
Colt Nichols (120)
RJ Hampshire (86)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (99)
Justin Cooper (81)
Chase Sexton (79)
Jordon Smith (70)
Alex Martin (60)

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