250 Words: Steel City

250 Words: Steel City

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If I'm Blake Baggett, I'm staying off the computer this week. And I'm not checking my email or Twitter accounts. And forget about watching Steel City on the DVR. That's because the last thing I would want to see or hear about right now is Eli “Rising” Tomac's rise right now as the series comes to its conclusion at Lake Elsinore on Saturday afternoon. Baggett, who has worn the red plate as points leader since the very first race, is suddenly not looking like the fastest man on the track anymore. In fact, he hasn't all month.

GEICO Honda's Tomac, on the other hand, was absolutely on fire once again at Steel City. Besides doing things no one else was doing—like tripling into the uphill rollers next to the starting line for much of the second moto—he was simply riding faster than everyone else. He finally took the overall win he probably should have had at Southwick and Unadilla too, but bad luck and small mistakes conspired to keep a few non-very-valuable points away from him.

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One round stands between Blake Baggett and his first career championship.
Simon Cudby photo

The points are actually the thing that's probably slowed Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Baggett down. He's not only wearing that heavy #1 plate, but is caring the weight of leading the whole way and being the young man everyone wants to supplant. And they still won't be able to do it at Lake Elsinore so long as he has a day as relatively mediocre as he did yesterday in Pennsylvania: two fourth-place moto finishes. Because Baggett still has a 14-point lead on Tomac with two motos to go, and even if Eli wins both motos again, his early wins and speed will be enough to carry him to the championship.

So go old-school, Blake Baggett. Ride your old practice tracks, hang out with your friends, go to the movies and forget about all of the bench-racers and virtual experts who are going to tell you how damn fast Eli Tomac is going right now—you don't have to beat him to win your title. Worry about being yourself, because that's enough to get the close this deal and get the job done.
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