Arlington, Texas, welcomes Monster Energy AMA Supercross for round 10 (and 11-12). Arguably the nicest venue in the series, AT&T Stadium offers anything and everything you could ever want. I remember our first visit in 2010 and the awe I felt at the size of the entire complex. Each year, I try to wander around and find new hallways and areas of the dome that I haven’t seen before. There are endless hidden lounges and VIP areas, making this stadium a must see.
Dirty Little Secrets
As for the track, I am curious to see how the layouts evolve throughout the week. We have had a few different situations this season when considering this multiple-races-per-week schedule. Houston incorporated a direction change for round two which was interesting but then Orlando was basically an exact copy of the prior race (weather related). The track maps for Arlington 1-3 are all different but we have seen variations from the original plans before, so we shall see once we come back for Tuesday and Saturday.
For the first round, the start is extremely short. Spanning the width of the stadium, the starts bends into a 90-degree, left-hand corner. With riders trying to carry momentum through the corner, they will have to be mindful of blowing through the outside and onto the concrete. The first rhythm section is fairly basic in theory but there looks to be one cool option. Riders will step on-step off but there is a chance to triple off the next step-off. It will be difficult but possible, and that line could cut lap times by half a second or more. The benefit is being able to single into the next corner versus a very slow double. Watch for this to be an emphasis depending on the build.
The next rhythm section (after a 90-degree left) is a section we see a few times each season. There are two basic ways to approach it. If riders go outside, they can pull off a 3-3. That requires going outside before and after the section (see: bad). If riders go inside, they will likely go 2-3-1, allowing them to stick to the inside in each corner. Unless we see nice berms built in the 90 degree corners before and after, look for option B to be the main line. Giving up the inside line in back-to-back flat corners is usually an unlikely solution.
The next section is pretty straight forward but does have one of the toughest obstacles in supercross, the dreaded dragon’s back. Exiting the prior left 90, riders will do an easy step up double and accelerate into the dragon’s back. On paper, the whoops look fast and easy, allowing riders to blitz up and double off the top. The difficulty level here will be something to watch closely as dragon’s back sections often lead to chaos. An easy step on-step off finishes this rhythm section and sends riders into the first 180 of Arlington 1.
A small step up will set riders up for the first of back-to-back triples. The second triple is actually the finish line jump and these two triples are separated by a 180 right. A fast left greets riders as they land from the finish line but there looks to be a staggered wall jump section that will force hard braking. This finish line section reminds me of Arlington 2011 where riders landed and crossed the start in this same diagonal direction.
A 180 will send riders right back across the start straight and into a curved double. Riders will try to straighten this section so they can carry momentum into the following whoops section. They can do this by swinging to the left side of the straightaway and doubling to their right, positioning themselves into the middle of the landing but with their bike already facing the direction of the whoops section, instead of the direction that the prior straightaway would ask.
Arlington whoops are notoriously difficult but it really all comes down to how Dirt Wurx decides to build them. I have seen some of the toughest whoops in the sport’s history at Arlington but I have also seen very easy builds here, too. We shall see what Saturday brings.
The final section will ask riders to triple out of the corner which may be tough for the 250s. That will then set riders up for a step on-step off and into a 180 left for lap two. If riders can’t make that first triple, they will either have to roll the third jump or opt for a double-double and then tabletop-to-single. That latter option will be significantly slower so getting that initial triple will be critical.
This 250SX West Region is a wild affair, isn’t it? Picks are very difficult but that’s when the game is at its best. I have been playing it a bit too safe lately but success is found in the balance between too risky and too safe. How to know where that balance is? Good luck to you.
For Arlington, I am going to try to use the data we have from the first two rounds but also factor in a change in venue, track style, etc. Drawing conclusions from Daytona seems unwise. That track is so unique and while it can’t be completely disregarded, I think that making picks based off of a strong Daytona showing will leave you unsatisfied this Saturday night.
For the 250SX Class, I would look for riders who had tough Daytona rounds but would otherwise have high potential. A couple names that jump off the page would be Chris Blose and Mitchell Harrison. Both had issues that hurt their Daytona results but could easily find themselves inside the top ten this weekend. Another name that I am looking at is Carson Mumford. I had Mumford on my Daytona team which didn’t work out, much to my dismay, but I still think he will pay off eventually.
In the 450SX Class, I would exact a similar strategy but the names are much more familiar. Riders like Dylan Ferrandis, Justin Brayton, Martin Davalos, and Shane McElrath all look juicy on paper. While nothing is certain, if you look at their upside, it’s hard to dislike those names.
A few others to consider would be Chase Sexton, Dean Wilson, and Joey Savatgy. While their ceiling might be a tiny bit lower due to lower handicaps, a breakout ride from any of them could pay off nicely.
Daniel Blair gets into a heated dispute with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones after his favorite team paid Dak Prescott the GDP equivalent of several small countries.
Benny Bloss celebrates the birth of his first child with a top-ten finish.
Justin Cooper wins the 250 main event, leading every lap.