Welcome to the Race Day Feed, coming to you from Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. Round 17 of Monster Energy Supercross is set to play out today, and right here is where you can keep track of all the action. We’ll be posting updates right here on Racer X Online all day, so be sure to check back often. Posts are in chronological order, so scroll to the bottom for the latest info.
Viva Las Vegas! We've got the final round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross and FIM World Championship on order here from Sam Boyd Stadium. Titles are still on the line in each class. Go here for the complete guide to the points scenarios in each class. The basics are this: Jason Anderson needs to finish 10th or better tonight and he's the 450SX Champion no matter what happens. That would appear easy to do, but he did finish an untimely 17th last week due to a collision in turn one that left him with broken spokes and a trip to the mechanic's area. We heard Anderson went back to work this week running his normal riding schedule--outdoors on Monday, a few days of supercross, and press day here yesterday. The goal is to keep doing the same thing as usual and treat this week just like any other.
Aaron Plessinger rode smart last week in SLC to finish fourth, chosing to stay away from the fray up front and take his points. Like Anderson, Plessinger just needs to finish tenth or better to be champion of 250SX West. Zach Osborne holds a slightly larger lead in 250SX East, he needs a 12th or better to win the title no matter what. Essentially, in all three classes, it will take chaos to swing the title in another direction. However, the odds of that are slightly higher in the 250s, because this event hosts the Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Showdown, putting all the 250 riders from each coast out there at the same time, stealing points from each other. Osborne's 12th and Plessinger's 10th are a little harder this way, but, they were also jacked up in the first turn of the previous East/West Showdown this year in Indy. From the back, they netted fifth (Plessinger) and seventh (Osborne). So they are confident they can do this no matter what. Read this for more of Plessinger's thoughts.
The weather dictates most of the track here in Las Vegas. It's super hot here already so the track has been absolutely soaked in order to get max moisture into the soil. The led to a sloppy, rutted first free practice. Before the timed session, the dozers came out to smooth the ruts and re-mix the soil. Slick, hard sections are already starting to show.
The track features the typical super high speed section leading riders out of the stadium. There's a set of rollers and then a ski jump that launches them into the sand. Then the sand rollers are followed by a big single that launches them onto the flat. Well, that's the plan but some 250 riders started using the last sand whoop to jump over the single. This let them get the power on the ground and save a ton of time. Now the dozers are out reshaping the sand, we'll see if that remains jumpable.
The other end of the stadium features the only rhythm lane with some options. Eli Tomac and Justin Brayton spent press day and today lining up the outside, looking at a double-triple-quad into the corner. They can't quite get the last quad though--yet, because the transition is too short. It would be a huge time saver if they could get it.
250SX First Practice
So much for the big jump from the sand over the single—the dozers plowed that whoop down so that line is done. Time will now be gained and lost by finding traction on slick spots—the first turn is tough, the turn across the start straight is tough, and the whoops look steep and slick.
In 250SX West, Adam Cianciarulo crashed on the landing of a triple. He got up and then logged the fastest lap time of the session a lap later. This is how Cianciarulo does it. His time held on for the fastest of the session. Aaron Plessinger looked very good and took the second best time. Our unofficial radar gun (our eyes) indicates that Plessinger was the faster rider from the sand, over the single and into Monster Alley. AP jumped all the way to the big Monster Alley banner, which had to be 10 feet further than anyone else. Clearly, he’s not mailing this in to get the title.
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||1:03.888||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Aaron Plessinger||1:04.209||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Chase Sexton||1:04.892||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|1:05.138||Thomasville, GA||Kawasaki KX250F|
|5||Justin Hill||1:05.153||Yoncalla, OR||Suzuki RM-Z250|
In 250 East, title contender Jordon Smith had a close call in a rhythm lane, clipping some tough blocks and nearly going down in nearly the same area of the stadium where he crashed last year. He saved it and kept on trucking. Up front, Zach Osborne made it happen with the fastest time of the session. For a moment, Osborne's time disappeared from the top of the board, but that must have been a glitch because it came back up after the official times were posted.
|1||Zach Osborne||1:02.708||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 250|
|2||Jeremy Martin||1:04.357||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|1:04.424||Belmont, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Brandon Hartranft||1:05.457||Brick, NJ||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Michael Mosiman||1:05.578||Sebastopol, CA||Husqvarna FC 250|
In the 450s, Tyler Bowers logged an early fast lap and kept his factory Monster Kawasaki near the top for the rest of the session. The Bear has been pretty fast as of late, and did win a 250 race here in Vegas several years ago—he could be a sleeper tonight.
Late in the session Bower’s teammate Eli Tomac logged a crazy fast lap and went to the top of the board. What’s interesting is that Tomac’s lap didn’t look spectacular, but clearly it was efficient.
|1||Eli Tomac||1:01.587||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450F|
|1:01.992||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Tyler Bowers||1:02.252||Danville, KY||Kawasaki KX450F|
|4||Jason Anderson||1:03.012||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|5||Justin Barcia||1:03.237||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
|1||Nick Schmidt||1:06.279||Maryville, WA||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|2||Cade Autenrieth||1:06.740||Hemet, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Cody Vanbuskirk||1:08.958||Harvard, IL||KTM 450 SX-F|
|4||Theodore Pauli||1:09.046||Edwardsville, IL||Kawasaki KX450F|
|5||Cheyenne Harmon||1:09.286||Ovilla, TX||Yamaha YZ450F|
Jordon Smith led the early moments of the 250SX East practice, and he looked solid and smooth. But Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin were waiting until the latter laps to uncork it. They were absolutely hauling through the back section of the track, outside. Osborne’s time went to the top of the board, then Martin threw down a heater but came up a few tenths short.
|1||Zach Osborne||1:02.198||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 250|
|2||Jeremy Martin||1:02.414||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|1:02.691||Belmont, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Brandon Hartranft||1:02.941||Brick, NJ||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Michael Mosiman||1:03.365||Sebastopol, CA||Husqvarna FC 250|
In 250SX West, Cianciarulo again ruled the roost with the top time, with his teammate Savatgy right behind. Plessinger looked quick, also, and was third fastest. Plessinger, by the way, even resorted to jumping through the whoops, which shows just how tough they are.
“Big thanks to my suspension guys,” said Cianciarulo after taking the top time. “e made a shock change and it really helped in the whoops. Last race of the season and I’m out here to have a good time—I’m 13 points down but I’m going to give it my all, and hopefully I’m walking out of here with a number-one plate.”
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||1:01.639||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|1:02.392||Thomasville, GA||Kawasaki KX250F|
|3||Aaron Plessinger||1:02.918||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Chase Sexton||1:02.963||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Kyle Chisholm||1:03.110||Clearwater, FL||Yamaha YZ250F|
|1||Zach Osborne||1||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 250|
|2||Jeremy Martin||2||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Belmont, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Brandon Hartranft||4||Brick, NJ||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Michael Mosiman||5||Sebastopol, CA||Husqvarna FC 250|
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||1||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Thomasville, GA||Kawasaki KX250F|
|3||Aaron Plessinger||3||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Chase Sexton||4||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Kyle Chisholm||5||Clearwater, FL||Yamaha YZ250F|
In the 450s, Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin put on a show. Musquin’s time sat on top for most of the session, but then Tomac…..oh, Tomac. Earlier today a few riders were using the last sand roller to hop over a single jump that leads the riders out of the stadium. The track builders took that last sand roller away. Yet somehow in this session, Tomac figure out a way to jump over that single anyway! He basically bunny hopped his bike, BMX style, to make it happen. He did it once but the rest of his lap wasn’t quick enough to unseat Marvin. He did it again, though, and this time the lap held and Tomac took top time. That appeared to be the end of the session, but on the very last lap, Musquin logged another heater and took the fastest time away by two hundredths of a second.
"It’s really hard and slick, but I’m having fun,” said Musquin. “Eli is really fast, he looks good so to have a faster time than him, that’s really good.”
|1:00.770||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Eli Tomac||1:00.790||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450F|
|3||Jason Anderson||1:01.624||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|4||Blake Baggett||1:02.411||Grand Terrace, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Justin Barcia||1:02.562||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
|1||Nick Schmidt||1:04.752||Maryville, WA||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|2||Cade Autenrieth||1:05.749||Hemet, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Theodore Pauli||1:06.373||Edwardsville, IL||Kawasaki KX450F|
|4||Deven Raper||1:06.629||Mesa, AZ||Kawasaki KX450F|
|5||Dustin Pipes||1:06.838||Fresno, CA||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|1:00.770||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Eli Tomac||1:00.790||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450F|
|3||Jason Anderson||1:01.624||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|4||Tyler Bowers||1:02.252||Danville, KY||Kawasaki KX450F|
|5||Blake Baggett||1:02.411||Grand Terrace, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
250 Heat 1 (East)
It was a rookie battle early in this one as Josh Mosiman and Sean Cantrell set the early pace, with Jordon Smith and Zach Osborne right behind. Smith made a move on Cantrell at the start of lap two just outside of turn one, then he started pressing Mosiman. On the second lap the red lights were turned on before a triple jump, Mosiman and Osborne rolled it but Smith jumped it—Smith realized the error of his ways and actually slowed down and let Osborne back by. They moved around Mosiman and kept battling to the end, with Smith getting to Osborne’s fender on the last lap, and even showing him a wheel. Alas, it was too late, and Osborne hung on for the win on his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna.
|1||Zach Osborne||1:02.945||7 Laps||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC 250|
|1:02.828||+01.142||Belmont, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|3||Jeremy Martin||1:03.898||+06.273||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
|3||Zach Osborne||3||Abingdon, VA||CZ|
|4||Michael Mosiman||1:05.195||+09.913||Sebastopol, CA||Husqvarna FC 250|
250 Heat 2 (West)
This was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki on Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki crime early in this one, as Joey Savatgy and Adam Cianciarulo battled hard for the first lap of this one. They passed each other probably three times, but Savatgy finally locked it down and inched away. Behind them, Shane McElrath got to third and pressed Cianciarulo a bit, too, but he also couldn’t make a move. Aaron Plessinger, holding the points lead, quietly snuck into fourth.
On the last lap Justin Hill got around his Autotrader.com/Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Phil Nicoletti to take the final transfer spot.
|1:02.564||7 Laps||Thomasville, GA||Kawasaki KX250F|
|2||Adam Cianciarulo||1:02.505||+01.051||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|3||Shane McElrath||1:02.400||+02.846||Canton, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Aaron Plessinger||1:02.785||+05.193||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ250F|
|5||Kyle Chisholm||1:03.115||+08.719||Clearwater, FL||Yamaha YZ250F|
450 Heat 1
Eli Tomac pulled one of the largest holeshots of all time…until he didn’t by going wide in turn one. Justin Barcia and Chad Reed snuck underneath, Barcia went off the track, and Reed took the lead. The crowd went nuts! The first man to challenge Reed was Malcolm Stewart, leading to 40,000-some people suddenly making jokes about a classic Reed versus Stewart battle for the win. Well, in a heat race, and it was Malcolm not James, but hey, they battled pretty good until Tomac got back on the gas and took second from Stewart. Next, Eli would have to get Reed, but the cagey vet made it tough. Tomac was faster through the entire section leading outside of the stadium and then back in, but Reed managed to ride clean but also hold him at bay for several laps. Reed just knows where to put the bike to prevent the pass. Finally, Tomac found an opening on the table top after the whoops, got to the inside, and made a block pass. Reed held on for second and did a nac-nac over the finishline jump. The crowd exploded again.
|1||Eli Tomac||1:00.695||7 Laps||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450F|
|2||Chad Reed||1:03.046||+08.730||Kurri Kurri||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Tyler Bowers||1:02.819||+10.760||Danville, KY||Kawasaki KX450F|
|4||Dean Wilson||1:03.093||+12.308||Scotland||Husqvarna FC 450|
|5||Justin Barcia||1:02.257||+15.881||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
450 Heat 2
Marvin Musquin grabbed the jump in this one and held it tight enough on the inside to hold on and get the holeshot. Benny Bloss started second and briefly made a run at Musquin in the whoops to try to get the lead. Why? Well, Bloss and Reed have been battling all year almost every time they line up, so if Reed is going to lead a heat, Bloss needed to, also. The run was short-lived, though, as Musquin began pulling away, and Bloss fell into the clutches of Jason Anderson and his own teammate Blake Baggett. Anderson settled into second while Musquin took the win. Kyle Cunningham made a pass on Austin Politelli with two laps to go to secure ninth, the final transfer spot.
|1:01.395||7 Laps||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Jason Anderson||1:01.990||+02.865||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|
|3||Blake Baggett||1:02.042||+06.544||Grand Terrace, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|4||Christian Craig||1:02.838||+09.348||Hemet, CA||Honda CRF450R|
|5||Benny Bloss||1:02.447||+10.447||Oak Grove, MO||KTM 450 SX-F|
#PoorPhil Nicoletti was passed on the final lap of his heat race for the final transfer spot (by his teammate Justin Hill). He started mid-pack in the LCQ, Chase Marquier slid sideways in the first turn, leaving Phil with nowhere to go. He hit him and went down. Up front, Martin Castelo took the win over Josh Osby. Osby even showed him a wheel on the last lap. Brandon Hartranft and Justin Starling took the final transfer spots.
|1||Martin Castelo||1:04.860||6 Laps||Yamaha YZ250F|
|2||Josh Osby||1:04.420||+00.358||Valparaiso, IN||KTM 250 SX-F|
|3||Brandon Hartranft||1:04.659||+03.007||Brick, NJ||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Justin Starling||1:05.021||+06.506||Deland, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
|5||Josh Mosiman||1:05.830||+10.023||Sebastopol, CA||Husqvarna FC 250|
Dakota Tedder got the jump and lead early, but Austin Politelli slid past to get the number-one spot. Henry Miller was under pressure from Josh Hill the whole way, and they both went around Tedder to continue their fight in second. Tedder then came under pressure on the final lap from Scott Champion. Champion showed him a wheel twice but wasn’t close enough to make it happen.
|1||Austin Politelli||1:04.381||6 Laps||Menifee, CA||Honda CRF450R|
|2||Henry Miller||1:05.045||+01.349||Rochester, MN||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|1:04.958||+01.967||Yoncalla, OR||Yamaha YZ450F|
|1:05.467||+02.729||Surfside, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Scott Champion||1:04.894||+03.246||Temecula, CA||Yamaha YZ450F|
250 East/West Dave Coombs Sr. Showdown
Savatgy led into turn one but went wide, allowing McElrath to slice to the lead with Jeremy Martin right behind. Meanwhile title contenders Zach Osborne and Aaron Plessinger suffered bad starts. Osborne was especially far back but somehow passed about ten riders on the first lap to actually get ahead of Plessinger. From there, the two points leader started managing the race and reducing the risks.
A few laps in, Cianciarulo started rolling, passing Jordon Smith and then Savatgy to take third. He began to close on second place Martin, who was not far behind McElrath. Then Plessinger made a big bobble coming out of a corner, nearly losing the back end and crashing—a quick heart-stopping moment for his crew.
The battle for the lead started to heat up, as Martin closed on McElrath and then Cianciarulo closed on them both. Martin tried a move on McElrath on the inside down the start straight, but it backfired and let Cianciarulo close in. Then Cianciarulo made a pass on Martin on the big sweeper around the outside of the stadium.
Next up was McElrath, and Cianciarulo made short work of him in the whoops and the on-off tabletop to grab the lead. Cianciarulo, ranked second in 250SX West coming into the race, was now doing what he had to do. Would Plessinger hold on?
Indeed. In fact Plessinger and Osborne ended up close throughout the main, in seventh and eighth. The stayed out of trouble and stayed away from the drama.
Late in the race, McElrath, ahem, did not race aggressively with his teammate Smith, allowing Smith to cruise through to second to gain max points. It wasn’t enough though because Osborne was cruising.
It did get a little crazy down at the end, but between Martin and Savatgy, who crashed into each other in the last turn. Final laps are always crazy for Savatgy in Vegas!
Cianciarulo went on to win the race, his first victory of 2018 but his second-straight in the Dave Coombs East/West Showdown in Las Vegas.
Osborne and Plessinger crossed the line a few moments later and congratulated each other as the new champions of 250SX East and 250SX West, respectively.
“This year’s been tough for me, I struggled a little bit,” said Osborne. “I really had to work for this, this was the hardest one so far, I’d say. I never thought I’d have a chance to say I’m a three-time champion.”
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||1:01.575||16 Laps||Port Orange, FL||Kawasaki KX250F|
|1:01.902||+02.931||Belmont, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|3||Shane McElrath||1:01.598||+04.036||Canton, NC||KTM 250 SX-F|
|1:02.090||+11.904||Thomasville, GA||Kawasaki KX250F|
|5||Jeremy Martin||1:01.833||+14.426||Millville, MN||Honda CRF250R|
450 Main Event
For Jason Anderson, there was just one mission: stay out of the drama. Spoiler alert on that: he did that. He started just inside the top ten and rode within himself securing a soid fifth, and with that, the Monster Energy Supercross Championship. Last week’s broken spokes made him sweat a little, and he definitely didn’t ride with the same aggression as usual this week, but that was the goal coming into the race.
Anderson becomes the 21st different rider to win the 250/450 championship in the series, and this is the first title for Husqvarna in this division.
As far as the race, Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin put on another show up front. Tomac grabbed the holeshot but Marvin made a few runs at him to try to put some pressure on. Tomac responded each time, first by getting through lapped traffic efficiently, and then by busting out his big jump out of the sand. In the second half of the race, Musquin started losing ground, and Tomac was on to win his eighth race of the season.
“Marv was putting pressure on the whole time, so there was no room for mistakes,” said Tomac.
“I messed up a rhythm with the lappers, and that’s how he got away from me like that,” said Musquin.
Blake Baggett finished a solid third, which breaks a tie in the standings with Justin Brayton to take fourth in the final rankings. Behind him was Christain Craig, who was fourth for the second-week in a row. Anderson was fifth, plenty to win the title.
“We put our whole lives into this,” said Anderson. “We’ve been riding dirt bikes for so long. To win this championship with my team, this is the most surreal moment of my life right now. I’m so happy!”
|1||Eli Tomac||1:00.271||21 Laps||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450F|
|1:00.696||+04.009||La Reole||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Blake Baggett||1:01.062||+28.722||Grand Terrace, CA||KTM 450 SX-F|
|4||Christian Craig||1:01.633||+36.711||Hemet, CA||Honda CRF450R|
|5||Jason Anderson||1:01.573||+39.768||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC 450|