The Finale is upon us


5/2/2018

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It was "supposed" to have happened last weekend. Jason Anderson "should" have been crowned the 2018 AMA 450SX Champion. Fate had other ideas. Fate decided that, for the first time in several years, all three AMA Supercross #1 plates are going to be decided at this weekend's grand finale in Las Vegas. After a disastrous 450 main event in Salt Lake City where Anderson's factory Husqvarna suffered damage in a first turn crash, the resulting pit stop put him so far back that there was no way for him to earn enough points to guarantee the title with a round remaining.

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It must have been surreal for Anderson to stand by the side of the track for the two laps it took for the team to swap out his damaged wheel. It was nearly a worst-case-scenario for him, as he needed only to get around a top-10 to clinch the title (if Musquin won, which he did). After the pit-stop, Anderson could only muster a 17th-place finish. This leaves him with a much smaller but still fairly safe 14-point gap over Marvin rolling into Vegas. This means he'll need to get at least a 10th place finish to win the title, and he's only finished worse than that once this season - in Salt Lake.

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Musquin has to be loving his good fortune at this point. He was nearly mathematically eliminated from the title chase heading into last weekend, yet still has somewhat of a chance of winning it. He's super-fast in Vegas - don't forget he won the Monster Million at the Monster Energy Cup in October by winning all three main events. To say he's motivated and on a bit of a roll would be understatements. We'd imagine team tactics may come into play here, but the problem is that Marv doesn't have any teammates at the moment and, if Wilson's thumb injury pans out, neither does Anderson. This should be a knock-down, drag-out fight in Las Vegas and it'll probably start in qualifying so keep an eye out on this one folks, it'll be a doozy.

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Eli "The Spoiler" Tomac will be right in the middle of all of it, too. Tomac's got a chip on his shoulder for Musquin right now, so safe money is on him for any retaliatory strike or move that may hurt his title chances. Then again, Tomac probably really wants to go out of this season with a win and enter the motocross season on a high note. Let's not forget, he already has nearly double the wins of the other two.

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The 250SX regions come together for their final Showdown of the season in Vegas, too, and we can expect to see last weekend's winner Shane McElrath running up front all night. Shane was clearly the cream of the crop at Rice-Eccles as he battled with then beat the best of the rest in the 250SX West penultimate round. In doing so, he moved a bit closer to points leader Aaron Plessinger, but more importantly he added another win to his resumé which will no doubt help in his bid for a 450 ride next year. 

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Impressive all day but not quite able to match McElrath's desire for a win was Adam Cianciarulo, who was both top qualifier and winner of heat 1. Cianciarulo has yet to pull off a win this season and that must sting. This and the fact that he's the only rider in the 250 West that has a chance at this title, he'll likely come out swinging in Vegas as well. The east/west showdown format is bound to throw in a few east riders and, if Cianciarulo can get out front, he may get lucky with a Plessinger mistake or bike issue and still have a shot at this title - without ever having won a round.

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On to the most likely candidates for the two 250SX titles up for grabs this weekend in Las Vegas: Aaron Plessinger (above) and Zach Osborne. With 13 and 19 point gaps, respectively, it will take a fairly major mistake by each of them (not to mention a win by their closest competitors) in order for them to lose the their title chances. Both riders have been more-or-less consistent all season, or at least when compared to the rest of the racers they've had to contend with. Both should be safe bets for titles and, for Osborne, the defense of his as he heads to the 450SX class next year and most likely for the outdoor motocross season starting up in a couple of weeks.

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Headed to Vegas for the final round, it is as always difficult to believe that it's already coming to an end for yet another season of AMA Supercross. With three titles up for grabs it's bound to be a barn-burner, and that's not even considering that the temperatures are expected to be on the edge of triple digits this Saturday. Dry, fast, hard-packed, and ripe for great racing, you won't want to miss it. Catch it on Fox Sports 1 at the usual night race time or check your local listings. Otherwise, follow our Facebook page and Instagram account (@ama_supercross) for the latest photos.


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