Welcome to the Race Day Feed, coming to you from Rice-Eccles Stadium. From practice reports to the blow-by-blow from today's program, you’ll find it all right here on the Racer X Race Day Feed. Updates are posted in chronological order, so be sure to scroll down for the latest info. For even more updates be sure to follow us on Twitter, @Racerxonline.
There's only one thing to report: rain in the forecast actually came true. Luckily, the track crew had made the right adjustments, first cancelling the first two sets of practices, and then leaving the plastic tarps on the track. We had heard the track crew originally planned to pull the tarps off the track at around 7 a.m. They decided not to do that, which was a smart move, because rain finally did begin to hit, and HARD around 10 a.m. "It's bad," reported our man Jason Thomas from Utah.
The lone remaining practices are set to begin at 1 p.m. Keeping the tarps on longer this morning may not completely save the track, as there's probably some serious water on top and seeping underneath, and it could continue raining as they take the tarps off. However, it certainly prevented a lot of damage, because it rained really hard. Might be the difference between a sticky, damp track and a full-on mudder.
It's shocking to think of a mud race today after last Sunday's event in the same stadium, which was as dry and hot as a supercross ever gets.
A few pieces of news from the pits. Adam Cianciarulo is not competing tonight and will not compete in any of the remaining rounds. His big crash early at the first race here last Sunday has resulted in fractures to his back. Here's a "Get well soon" and a "see you soon" to AC, who plans to be ready for the Lucas Oil Pro Motorcross Championship opener in July.
"This is not the news I was expecting to be sharing today, but after speaking to additional specialists and the team, it is in my best interest that I sit out the remainder of the supercross season," said Cianciarulo in a team statement. "This is a tough pill to swallow as I was really excited to get back to racing here in Salt Lake City, but I have to be smart with what my body is telling me. For now, I will focus on my recovery and do everything in my power to make sure I am ready to go in July for the start of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship. I want to thank the entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team for their unwavering support through this tough time. We will be back and stronger than ever.”
Also, Jeremy Martin is out in the 250 class. In full transparency, Jeremy and his GEICO Honda team admitted they do not want to "point out" of the 250 class and be forced into the 450s next year. Martin, who missed all of the points-paying races of 2019 after a serious back injury, is near the point limit, so he will skip the final three supercross races of his season (two East and one East/West Showdown) and focus on prep for motocross. This will allow him to return to 250SX for 2021.
“I haven’t won races this year in supercross, but a lot of people didn’t think I would even be competitive coming back from an injury like I had,” Martin said in a team statement. “To go to the 450 class in supercross after not even nipping on the heels of winning races in the 250 class, I can’t think short-term like that. I wouldn’t be able to get a ride, so it would be a terrible move for my career.”
In the 450SX Class, Monster Energy Kawaski's Eli Tomac has tightened his championship grip in the first two SLC races, going 1-2 in the results. His primary points rival, Honda HRC's Ken Roczen, has gone 3-5, losing ten points to Tomac in the process, and revealing he has had breathing issues. Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb won the other Salt Lake City race, held five days ago, and remains 29 points behind Tomac, which is exactly where he sat when this string of seven races began. It's also worth noting the surging Rockstar Energy Husqvarna crew, including Zach Osborne, who led 20 laps on Wednesday and finished third, and Jason Anderson, who has gone 4-4 in the two SLC races so far. Plus, their teammate Dean Wilson has been quick throughout the events.
In the 250s, they could rename this Shane McElrath City. He's won four-straight races in this stadium, in 2017 and 2018 and then two more over the last week here. The Monster Energy/Star Yamaha ride is surging, and is now tied with GEICO Honda's Chase Sexton for the 250SX East lead. Today is Sexton's time to return fire and regain the control he had leaving Daytona, before the lockdown.
Yup, it’s muddy. There’s standing water in spots, mostly the flat, low-lying areas, but the jumps aren’t as bad. They’ll probably get rutted but they are jumpable….well, so far. It could rain again!
Chase Marquier and Kevin Moranz got out front on lap times early in the 250 B group. Coty Schock went to the top, before Carter Halpain took the top spot. Halpain, still new to the supercross game, was looking better and better as the session went on, but on the very last lap, Dustin Winter became the first rider to go under the one-minute mark, grabbing a 59.073 to take the top qualifying time….however, we’re now hearing Winter might have cut the track on that lap (mistakes happen in the mud) and that time might not hold. If so, Halpain, who sure looked strong, will retain the top time in the B group. However, the track seems to be getting quicker, which means the B group riders will be shuffled even further back than usual in overall times.
[Note: Final qualifying times are posted and it appears that Winter's time was not pulled--it held up for fifth overall!].
|1||Dustin Winter||59.073||Clearwater, KS||KTM 250 SX-F|
|2||Carter Halpain||1:00.868||Lubbock, TX||Yamaha YZ250F|
|3||Chase Marquier||1:02.384||Newcastle, OK||Honda CRF250R|
|4||Coty Schock||1:03.177||Dover, DE||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Wilson Fleming||1:03.490||New Canaan, CT||Honda CRF250R|
Chase Sexton jumped out quickly in the seeded 250 group, but then hit a soft spot and nearly went over the bars..the track has jumpable obstacles, but some pitfalls as well. Sexton did sit on top of the charts early, though, over Shane McElrath and Pierce Brown, but then he crashed while he was just rolling the track. That’s how tricky this could get! McElrath was the first to attempt the standard supercross triple, he clipped it a bit, but made it over the top and also took the top time away from Sexton by about a tenth of a second. His 56.199 was quite a bit faster than anyone in the B group, which is, of course, a credit to him, but also how the track has dried.
Late in the session, Sexton stepped it back up, bettering his previous time by two tenths to retake the top spot from McElrath.
|1||Chase Sexton||56.016||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Shane McElrath||56.199||Canton, NC||Yamaha YZ250F|
|57.331||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
|58.172||Coalville, UT||Kawasaki KX250|
|59.374||Orlando, FL||Honda CRF250R|
|1||Chase Sexton||56.016||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Shane McElrath||56.199||Canton, NC||Yamaha YZ250F|
|57.331||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
|58.172||Coalville, UT||Kawasaki KX250|
|5||Dustin Winter||59.073||Clearwater, KS||KTM 250 SX-F|
Cooper Webb jumped to the top of the board immediately here, then pulled into the mechanic’s area to talk things over with his wrench, Carlos Rivera. Then Jason Anderson went into the 58s to take the top spot, which held for awhile, until Tomac’s fifth lap pushed him to the top with a 57.629. Dean Wilson went to second fastest, displacing his teammate Anderson, on his eighth lap. Tomac’s time held on for fastest qualifier.
“The most difficult part on it is the transitions, we’re getting these big squares at the bottom and it’s tricky. They’re like little walls in the mud,” said Tomac. “I found a aouple of good lines out there, and I had a good pass through the whoops, and that’s what got us on top.”
|1||Eli Tomac||57.629||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Dean Wilson||58.076||Scotland||Husqvarna FC450|
|3||Jason Anderson||58.192||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC450|
|4||Cooper Webb||58.531||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Zach Osborne||59.678||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC450|
After breaking a bone in his hand last Sunday, Broc Tickle told us he would be back racing on Sunday, and indeed he is, leading the B practice group, and even better, his teammate Fred Noren slotted into second. The trouble was that their times weren’t even close to the front of Group 1. Tickle went faster—from 1:05 to 1:02, but Jake Hogan then took the top spot away. Alex Ray slotted in ahead of Noren for third.
|1||Jake Hogan||1:02.068||Acton, CA||Yamaha YZ450F|
|1:02.378||Holly, MI||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|3||Alex Ray||1:04.482||Jackson, TN||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Fredrik Noren||1:05.873||Lidköping||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|5||Ryan Breece||1:06.472||Coeur D' Alene, ID||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|1||Eli Tomac||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Dean Wilson||Scotland||Husqvarna FC450|
|3||Jason Anderson||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC450|
|4||Cooper Webb||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|5||Zach Osborne||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC450|
The track looked shockingly improved by the time the heat races rolled around. The track crew asked for, and received, an extra five minute delay before the gate drop for more time to keep working it. That paid off. The track was still tacky and sticky, but much better than practice.
In the first heat, Shane McElrath pulled the hole shot and nailed the first rhythm, pulling gigantic lead early—he barely stayed up through the first berm but used that speed to nail the jumps. Carter Halpain followed up his fast qualifying with a second place start, before getting displaced by Garrett Marchbanks. Marchbanks gave him a run for a lap, but then McElrath put the hammer down and checked out.
Hunter Sayles went down on lap one, then later so did Jalek Swoll. Swoll had another near get off, but somehow got back to eighth. Also impressive was Enzo Lopes, who dislocated his shoulder in a crash on Wednesday but was back running fifth in this heat race just a few days later.
|1||Shane McElrath||8 Laps||54.899||Canton, NC||Yamaha YZ250F|
|+07.902||56.048||Coalville, UT||Kawasaki KX250|
|3||Carter Halpain||+1:04.779||1:04.057||Lubbock, TX||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Chase Marquier||7 Laps||1:05.474||Newcastle, OK||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Enzo Lopes||+01.045||1:03.716||Rio Grande do Sul||Yamaha YZ250F|
For heat two, Colt Nichols tried to drive it in deep using a outside gate pick, it almost worked, but Chase Sexton sneaked inside to get the lead. Nichols then made a mistake, while privateer Husqvarna riders Jerry Robin and Justin Startling went down early. Robin ran right over Starling, who got up slow, and appeared to be in pain.
Pierce Brown race third early ahead of Phoenix Racing Honda teammates Jace Owen and Kyle Peters. Peters was eventually able to pass Owen for fourth. Coty Schock was running in the ninth-place spot but tipped over, however, he had a big enough lead over Darian Sanayei to hold onto the spot. Sexton took the win, and he and McElrath have each won all three of their heat races here in SLC.
|1||Chase Sexton||8 Laps||54.175||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|+09.688||55.183||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250OF|
|3||Pierce Brown||+29.874||57.237||Sandy, UT||KTM 250 SX-F|
|4||Kyle Peters||+47.345||58.938||Greensboro, NC||Honda CRF250R|
|5||Jace Owen||+51.739||59.108||Mattoon, IL||Honda CRF250R|
450 Heat Races
Webb grabbed the hole shot over Roczen and Brayton. Roczen became the first rider to try to make a pass for the lead, getting next to Webb in a rhythm section, but Webb held him off. On the second lap, Webb bobbled and Roczen had the room he needed to take the lead. Roczen then began to pull away. Malcolm Stewart got into a battle with Brayton for third, and took the spot away.
Webb began to make tracks toward Roczen again and nearly made a pass—but a lapped rider got him his way. Then he made the pass a lap later, as Roczen continued to slow. NBC Sports’ Ricky Carmichael detected a flat rear tire for Roczen, who dropped off the lead pace but held on for second, still. Stewart had a problem and that allowed Brayton to slide back into third, ahead of Dean Wilson and Benny Bloss, with Stewart sixth.
|1||Cooper Webb||8 Laps||52.101||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|2||Ken Roczen||+12.768||52.780||Mattstedt||Honda CRF450R|
|3||Justin Brayton||+14.571||55.189||Fort Dodge, IA||Honda CRF450R|
|4||Dean Wilson||+16.335||53.277||Scotland||Husqvarna FC450|
|5||Benny Bloss||+21.432||54.860||Oak Grove, MO||KTM 450 SX-F|
Zach Osborne got a huge holeshot ahead of Vince Friese. Jason Anderson got around Friese and began closing on Osborne. Then Anderson blew past his teammate in the whoops and grabbed the lead. Anderson, the 2018 450SX Champion, took his first heat win o the season, and looked good doing it.
Meanwhile, Monster Energy/Yamaha teammates Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger got into a huge fight for third, then joined by Eli Tomac, who started in tenth. Plessinger and Barcia exchanged spots, but then Tomac tried to pass Barcia, only to get slammed by his old rival. Tomac then re-passed Barcia, and Plessinger bobbled, allowing Tomac to take third, which he would hold to the finish.
“I feel like I’ve had some good speed in the two races, but I feel like I haven’t been able to test myself, been getting arm pump, but that’s on me I have to figure it out,” said Anderson. “I’m looking forward to battling up front and making it tough on these championship guys. I want a podium or even a win, that would be cool.”
|1||Jason Anderson||8 Laps||52.191||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC450|
|2||Zach Osborne||+13.120||52.965||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC450|
|3||Eli Tomac||+19.944||54.223||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|4||Justin Barcia||+22.361||54.455||Monroe, NY||Yamaha YZ450F|
|5||Aaron Plessinger||+27.896||54.197||Hamilton, OH||Yamaha YZ450F|
When the gate dropped on the 250SX LCQ, it was Starling who jumped out front to an early lead, bouncing back from what looked to be a bad crash in his heat race. Starling and Sanayei were out front early but Starling managed to take the top position. Sanayei challenged the Husqvarna rider early on but then Wilson Fleming managed to get around Sanayei. Sayles and Sanayei, who ran third and fourth, respectively, swapped positions, racing clean while both in transfer spots. Curren Thurman, running in sixth, got a little wild while doubling into a 180-degree turn. Thurman cut down and looked to try to pull off a block pass on Justin Rodbell but miscalculated and ran directly into Rodbell, taking himself out. Fleming make a mistake that cost him a position but he managed to get back around Sayles, while still remaining in a transfer position. Starling appears to be okay after his heat race crash as he brought home the checkered flag. Fleming, Sanayei, and Sayles all transferred into the main as Rodbell came up just short.
|1||Justin Starling||7 Laps||58.109||Deland, FL||Husqvarna FC 250|
|2||Darian Sanayei||+05.485||57.195||Monroe, WA||Kawasaki KX250|
|3||Wilson Fleming||+07.046||58.541||New Canaan, CT||Honda CRF250R|
|4||Hunter Sayles||+09.436||58.775||Merrill, WI||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Justin Rodbell||+11.293||57.590||Prince Frederick, MD||Kawasaki KX250|
Ryan Breece put his HEP Suzuki up front early in the 450 LCQ, ahead of Kyle Chisholm, Kyle Cunningham and Carlen Gardner. Freddie Noren,trying to put his JGR Suzuki into the main, put on a charge to get to Gardner, and make the pass. Gardner re passed Noren, then Noren’s teammate Tickle got into the battle, too. Noren made another move on Gardner and then Tickle had to start getting desperate. He blasted past Gardner and then immediately got Noren in the whoops, also, to get the last transfer spot.
Then with a lap to go, Breece, the leader, went down in the whoops! The Kyles went by, then Tickle, and Breece found himself side by side with Noren for the last transfer spot on the last lap. They bumped and Noren went down, giving Breece a nerve-wracking final spot in the main.
|1||Kyle Chisholm||7 Laps||55.407||Clearwater, FL||Yamaha YZ450F|
|+01.007||55.679||Aledo, TX||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|+04.476||54.915||Holly, MI||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|4||Ryan Breece||+08.104||55.163||Coeur D' Alene, ID||Suzuki RM-Z450|
|5||Adam Enticknap||+08.480||55.652||Lompoc, CA||Suzuki RM-Z450|
250 Main Event
Drama! Sexton grabbed the hole shot but McElrath got inside and bumped Sexton off the track in the second turn to take the lead. A few turns later, Sexton went down! He landed a triple into a corner and clipped Enzo Lopes. He got up quickly and completed the first lap in ninth. Sexton caught a huge break when a red flag came out for Garrett Marchbanks, who was down and being attended to by medics. The field headed back to the line for a restart, a massive bailout for Sexton.
There was a decent break, which was enough time for the skies to open back up and the rain to return! This time McElrath nailed the holeshot over Sexton and Jalek Swoll. The championship leaders immediately began to pull away, and then McElrath bobbled in the whoops, allowing Sexton to get right to his rear wheel. By four minutes in, McElrath pulled back away to open a lead of over a second, but then Sexton closed back in on the next lap. Then McElrath misjudged the speed of lapped rider Coty Schock, bumped him in a berm and crashed. This allowed Sexton to make the pass! McElrath picked himself up in second, and Sexton was long gone. In fact, McElrath’s teammate Colt Nichols rolled up on him to challenge for second, but it was doubtful that he would make move on McElrath and cost him any points.
Solid veteran Kyle Peters logged a solid veteran ride holding fourth, but he got caught by a battle of the rookies between Swoll and Pierce Brown. Brown made the move for fourth. Peters hung on for fifth over Swoll.
"Shane has been on a roll and I’ve been making mistakes out here," said Sexton. "I was being way too impatient in the first few corners. When they red flagged it, I was like, “I’ve got to take advantage of this. I’ve got to win this race.” This was great, I felt super good. I actually lost my front brake halfway through that main event. The lappers were crazy. I just kind of waited for Shane, I knew I was faster in the whoops. I waited for my moment to take it, and he made a mistake."
McElrath was of course slightly bummed to see a huge lead go up in smoke via red flag, and then throw the lead away the second time with a crash. He took it in stride, though.
“I didn’t know it at the time, I rolled the whoops after the red flag and I saw Sexton was back in fifth or sixth,” said McElrath. “It was a tough day today. To come home second, obviously, it sucks to get second, and I fell, but you know what? We’re gonna go back, get ready for next Wednesday.”
"During the heat race it was honestly really awesome," said Nichols of the track conditions. "Then the rain just came on and destroyed the track a bit. I rode like a pee wee rider in a few sections. I was frustrated. I gotta be better, got to get my head in the game. But I’m always happy to be on the podium. We've got a good group out here and we've been having fun in Utah."
|1||Chase Sexton||17 Laps||52.939||La Moille, IL||Honda CRF250R|
|2||Shane McElrath||+08.023||52.572||Canton, NC||Yamaha YZ250F|
|+20.252||55.605||Muskogee, OK||Yamaha YZ250F|
|4||Pierce Brown||+48.893||56.367||Sandy, UT||KTM 250 SX-F|
|5||Kyle Peters||16 Laps||57.666||Greensboro, NC||Honda CRF250R|
450 Main Event
Webb led the pack into turn one, but Osborne used the inside to steal the holeshot. Tomac used an extreme inside to overcome a bad start and emerge in third, just ahead of Roczen and Anderson. Roczen cased one jump in the first rhythm, allowing Tomac to pull away from him and Anderson to lock down fourth.
Webb immediately went to work on Osborne and grabbed the lead, and then Osborne bobbled and Tomac was into second. At the same time, Roczen passed Anderson.
Tomac made a mistake and doubled the big supercross triple, leaving Webb with a 2.3 second lead three minutes into the race. Tomac put his head down and started inching back to the lead. Roczen attacked Osborne with his whoop speed, but couldn’t find an opening. Behind that you had Stewart, Davalos, Plessinger Brayton and Wilson. Then Anderson made the move on Roczen to retake fourth, with some contact!
Anderson kept rolling to pass his teammate Osborne for third. Then Tomac blasted pass Webb in the whoops! Webb immediately tried to retaliate in the next two corners but Tomac had it covered, then really put the hammer down to get away. Webb tried to up the pace, also but soon Tomac had a lead of just over two seconds. Then, as they hit lappers, things got crazy and Webb closed back in, right back to Tomac's rear wheel. Webb had figured out the whoops, and somehow was now faster than Tomac through them after Tomac passed him in the whoops earlier. Webb pulled the trigger and blasted by Tomac in the whoops to take the lead back! Webb was really hanging it out, making huge mistakes, but throwing caution to the wind and keeping it pinned. Tomac stayed there, in touch, working on his next attack.
Tomac wasn’t done. He kept working Webb and then found the line to make another pass for the lead. What was amazing was that these two managed to un cork jump combos they had not done earlier, right in the heat of battle as the track conditions were changing. How fast were they going? They started lapping some really good riders. Then they lapped some of them, like Roczen, twice!
What great racing! Webb almost got him back, but then Tomac opened up a small gap. This left Webb with two minutes to try to pull off a miracle. Tomac then got held up by lappers again, and Webb went all out, somehow jumping the supercross triple yet managing to get inside on the landing to push Tomac wide--he almost made the pass, but Tomac hung on. With two turns to go, they raced through the final rhythm lane, and Tomac shut the door, forcing Webb to try the wide line--and Webb got hung up with Tyler Bowers, shutting down his final run through the whoops. It was enough for Tomac to hang on, both of them having survived numerous run ins with lappers, ruts, new jump combinations, the whoops and so much more.
Tomac's win was clutch.
"When I got passed halfway [through the race], I was like “I’m not going to let this thing go.” I was so comfortable out there," said Tomac. "I was able to get the triple combo in that one rhythm lane, that was really the key for me. That was a great battle, really fun.”
“Sucks I got second, but man it was a battle from lap one to the last lap," said Web. "Conditions are tricky and lappers were gnarly. One lap I might get it right, one lap he might get it right. It was a fun race even if I got beat…I’m sure if the fans were here they would have been loving it. We’ll try to get the top spot on Sunday. Eli is riding really well.”
Anderson held on for third.
"I’m happy to be up here," he said. "I’m getting back to my old form, I feel like my head space is better. But those front two guys, they waxed me. Hopefully on Wednesday we make it a little bit harder on those two.”
|1||Eli Tomac||24 Laps||50.927||Cortez, CO||Kawasaki KX450|
|2||Cooper Webb||+01.281||51.647||Newport, NC||KTM 450 SX-F|
|3||Jason Anderson||+43.995||52.111||Edgewood, NM||Husqvarna FC450|
|4||Zach Osborne||23 Laps||52.195||Abingdon, VA||Husqvarna FC450|
|5||Malcolm Stewart||+11.827||53.691||Haines City, FL||Honda CRF450R|
Osborne ran another solid race with a fourth, and Malcolm Stewart was strong again with a top five, a career best. Dean Wilson was sixth, completing another great night for the Rockstar Energy Drink Husqvarna team. Justin Brayton was seventh ahead Martin Davalos, who has been rock-solid in the three races in Salt Lake City. Justin Barcia was ninth and Roczen, who lost the pace again here like he did on Wednesday, fell all the way back to a disappointing 10th.