Tomac new points leader heading to Arlington


2/21/2020

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Every race weekend this season has been dramatic. There’s been great racing up front in both classes and now, and the debut of the 250 East Class in Tampa has provided a fresh cast of players to keep an eye on. As if that wasn’t enough cause for excitement, this weekend in Arlington is the second of three Triple Crown events this season. Yep, this will be a great weekend of racing!

 

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As we all know by now, Eli Tomac has come into his element. After his ride in Tampa, it appears the title may now be his to lose. He’s never started a season this strong and has nearly won a championship several times now. He’s also shown that even with a mediocre start he can still land on the podium, which bodes well for any mistakes on the gate from here on out.

 

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No other rider has repeatedly shown the ability to come from mid-pack or further back and still be able to get through and run up front. However since Tomac’s starts have been questionable and he has three of them to deal with this weekend – not to mention half-length main events – he’ll have his work cut out for him.

 

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Cooper Webb is beginning to bare his fangs. We’ve witnessed it happening the previous two rounds as well, with his sneaky speed and racecraft working to get him a win and podiums in the last several rounds. In Tampa he proved he’s still improving. While the gap between he and Tomac was rather large at the finish line, Webb knew he was out of reach and instead settled for a solid second place ahead of Ken Roczen, which means he gained a couple of points in the championship battle. Eleven points now separate the top three, with Tomac four up on Roczen and Webb seven back from Roczen. That gap is the equivalent of a tip-over in a corner, or a terrible start by any of these guys, so they’re effectively tied as the season heads into Round 8 this weekend in Arlington.

 

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Speaking of tearing through the pack and being the points leader, Justin Barcia was on fire in Tampa. We counted him roughly 16th after the first turn and he ended up fourth at the checkers in a pack of riders that are truly the best in the world at Supercross. “BamBam” has shown over and over this season he has the speed, desire and fitness to win more races and re-gain the points lead that he held for the first couple of rounds. But he needs a to get better starts. Sixteenth through the first turn isn’t going to help him when racing the likes of Tomac, Webb and Roczen for a series championship. The Triple Crown format probably isn’t going to help him in the starts department.

 

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In the “almost there” category, Adam Cianciarulo  ran with the lead in the opening laps before being quickly hunted down by his teammate Tomac. That’s when things began to unravel. A couple of crashes later and the rookie ended up eighth for the night. Sitting now fifth in points, Cianciarulo can’t complain much about his first year in the premier class yet. Since he’s tasted the lead on several occasions, he’ll be working on holding the pace with no mistakes for the full race duration. Triple Crown events will work in his favor, as he’s a sprinter and a great starter. He has the highest average start position, is third in total laps lead so far and currently sits fifth in the points standings.

 

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The 250SX East opener, while not quite as dramatic as the 450SX race, was a bit of an eye-opener for many. The fans, other racers and of course the pundits have had plenty to talk about this week as Shane McElrath’s runaway win was a bit of a shocker. The No. 12 was expected to run up front, but this was his first race on a new team and brand of motorcycle (from TLD/Red Bull KTM to Star Racing Yamahas). They won’t be this weekend, as McElrath dominated with a perfect performance on the night and no real challengers for his win and points lead.

 

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Teammates Chase Sexton (defending 250SX East Champion) and Jeremy Martin were the big show in the 250 main event, battling off and on with Sexton eventually getting the nod for second. More impressive though was Martin’s performance. A major injury and complications related to that have kept him off the gate. For him to perform like this in a field this talented is truly remarkable. Who is better off the gate and in a sprint is still a bit of a mystery, but we’ll certainly find out this weekend in Arlington.

 

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In many regards, the Arlington track resembles Tampa’s. A long start right down the middle, a couple of long’ish rhythm sections, etc. Where it departs though is a much longer whoops section, which always separates the riders. Check it out this Saturday night with Live Timing and Scoring at AMASupercross.com and with photos on our Instagram and Facebook feeds, not to mention the live television coverage with the NBC Sports Gold access.


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