Dungey three points behind Tomac with two rounds remaining


4/27/2017

To say last weekend's AMA Supercross event in Salt Lake City was eventful would be an understatement. With both titans of the 450SX class - Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac - nearly tied for the points lead, the fight for the championship will all be determined in the last two races. 

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The showdown began in the first 450 heat race when Tomac and Dungey - both running the red points leader plates while sharing the points lead - faced off for the first time. Dungey got the start while Tomac worked through a few riders to eventually catch the defending champ. But Dungey couldn't make a pass by the time the checkers flew. 

The main event was almost precisely the same narrative as Dungey got the lead on the first lap and started to check out up front. Meanwhile, Tomac was stuck way, way back and used the first ten minutes of the main to methodically work his way through the field. Eventually he caught Dungey and made a pass that stuck, before running away to take the win with a six second gap, and leave the round with a three point lead in the standings as the series heads into New Jersey this weekend. 

It was one of the most impressive charges from the back in AMA Supercross history and will long be remembered.

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Somewhat unexpectedly, Justin Hill was able to wrap up the 250SX West regional title in Salt Lake City. While it was mathematically possible for it to happen heading into the round, it seemed unlikley and would mean some pretty irregular things would have to happen - but that's exactly what did and made Hill the 2017 AMA Supercross West Champion. 

Due to Aaron Plessinger's (second in points) crash in the main event and eventual DNF, along with a last corner pass Hill made on Martin Davalos (third in points), Hill was able to get just enough points to make it impossible for Davalos and Plessinger take the title from him at the last round in Vegas. 

Congrats to Hill and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for their first Supercross 250 title in four years!

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Back to Tomac, who has clearly been on a roll this season. To say he's a notch above the competition would be redundant - he certainly proved that in SLC all by himself. Could the final two rounds leave him heading to his first 450SX title? It may be too early to tell, especially considering the man he's up against isn't likely to make any mistakes. This means Tomac will probably have to win each of these last to rounds to clinch the title.

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While it seemed Dungey was humbled by Tomac's ability to chase down and pass him with relative ease, the number five isn't a multi-time champ for no reason. 

Dungey has two options for the last two rounds: go for broke and push past his comfort zone to challenge Tomac for the wins, or settle for second and hope for a mistake by the number three. Assuming he'll be going for the first scenario, things could get pretty exciting for race fans!

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With another podium finish in SLC, Jason Anderson and his training partner Marvin Musquin are cementing their position as the leaders of the pack behind Dungey and Tomac. While Musquin has a couple of wins under his belt, Anderson is still working out just how to kick it an extra notch to make that happen. 

Musquin's journey through the pack in Salt Lake was nearly equal to that of Tomac's. Although he never did get around either Anderson or Dungey like Eli did, Musquin ended up fourth on the night and still sits in third in the points chase.

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Another surprise in SLC was Shane McElrath's win with a reported fractured hip from a practice crash in Seattle. Originally not planning to race at all, McElrath showed up and put himself in the right place at the right time (in second when Plessinger crashed out of the lead), and kept the pace high for his third win of the season. To put the icing on the cake, his teammate and good friend Mitchell Oldenburg finished right behind him, also taking advantage of crashes by Forkner and Plessinger to gain the best finish of his young career.

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Heading into Round 16 at the awesome MetLife stadium, just across the Hudson river from Manhattan in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the series could only be more exciting if Ken Roczen was in on the mix. Still, fans have two of the greatest racers in history nearly tied for the points lead, and more than just a championship on the line. For Dungey, the legacy of being a repeating multi-time champ lingers, while Tomac has the opportunity to start his own legacy with his first 450 class AMA Supercross Championship.

The stakes are high, as Tomac's charge from being 20 points back in the points standing would be the ultimate finish to this epic season. 

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If you don't have the chance to make it to East Rutherford to catch all the action in person, keep up with the action right here on AMASupercross.com for live timing and scoring. 

Visit Facebook or Instagram to check for updated photos of practice, or watch it live on TV with Fox Sports (the regular Fox, not FS1 or 2) beginning at 4:30PM EDT. 

*NOTICE: THIS IS A DAY RACE, SO THE ENTIRE SCHEDULE IS MOVED UP 2 HOURS FROM NORMAL.


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