Monster Energy/Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac just keeps on winning. He now has four-straight victories at the top of the 450 class of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, and a giant 51 point lead. With that kind of gap, Eli can play it a little safer, and indeed it looked like he was picking his spots on Saturday night at Indy, where the track was soft and rutted as always. He stayed in the lead group and held off attacks from Marvin Musquin and Malcolm Stewart, then the race came to him, especially after Justin Barcia and Jason Anderson came together and Anderson crashed. Tomac later got around Barcia, then survived his own mistakes on the final two laps to hold onto a narrow victory.
It was chaotic and a little crazy, but Eli is handling it all with a sense of cool and control this year. He addressed it in the post-race press conference.
Eli, track question. I just went and walked it. I know you guys did, too. What was it like in real time as it was changing? Those opening laps, they fixed a lot of it. You guys were flying, and then it just went and it went and it went. What was it like for you about halfway to the checkered?
Eli Tomac: It was just good, old Indy. It’s one of those tracks where you can still do the rhythms, but it’s just sketchy, especially towards the end there. The whoops always go away. You’re trying to do the triples or the quad over the on/off. I dragged my pegs in there. That was the worst peg drag for me was actually on the quad over the on/off. That’s just the way this place is. You come here and you expect it.
How about the whoops swap there at the end?
Oh, yeah. At the very end. Started dancing. I just got out of the rut. Wheel was going back and forth, bouncing on the side. Then I totally almost threw it away on the last lap. Missed the double across that start line area. I’m like, I’m going to blow it. That’s the way this track is. It just can come up and get you at any second.
The lappers, too, played a big role and they came pretty early. They hurt you a little bit. They helped you sometimes. How was it for you?
Yeah, it was both. Sometimes it hurt me and sometimes it helped me. It was such a short lap and with what that track does when it breaks down, you can’t really avoid it. There’s just guys everywhere.
These last couple rounds have been very soft, rutted, very technically challenging tracks. You’ve been very solid. Moving teams this year, getting back to work with Gilly. Just curious about bike setup. For you, what has made these rounds come to you maybe a little easier? What is it that you appreciate about the setup and being on the Yamaha this year? Do you feel any advantages on that compared to your setup last year on a Kawasaki?
It’s been good in all conditions. Last weekend it wasn’t near as soft as this weekend, but there were still a little bit of ruts in there. It’s just worked in all conditions. I haven’t had to really touch much since probably round three or four. That’s it. We’re just down to a couple clickers here and there for the tracks. It’s just a nice position to be in.
Similar question but on a different format. When we started the season off on those hard-packed tracks and everything was so fast and wide open, how is it physically for you when you come here and it’s more technical and you have to be way more precise with your line choices? Just physically and mentally, what’s the difference here compared to the west coast?
These tracks, they just take patience. The west coast tracks you can go wide open, you’re drifting around and moving around. These tracks, there’s always a fine line of when you can push and when you can’t. That’s just the east coast. It’s just a different style of track. I feel like these tracks my heart rate is a little bit lower. I think that’s just because you can’t be Wide Clyde the whole time.
Do you feel tomorrow morning physically drained a bit differently, or is it all the same still?
Every Sunday morning is horrible. I’m always cranked at night and you can’t get any sleep. You get two or three hours of sleep. Still just revving from the night before.
Were you biding your time because the track is so difficult, waiting for things to change? It looked like you were just in the group for a while. Were you waiting, or that’s just the way the race played out?
It was kind of how the race played out. I was just going. To be honest, I was having a difficult time being right on the wheel because the dirt was sticking to the goggles so bad. I was actually afraid of losing all my tear-offs. So, I kind of backed off a little bit. I didn’t want to get way out of touch, but a little bit until whatever it was, halfway or just after that. Then that was it. So, first half I was worried about my goggles and was kind of taking it a little bit easy. It’s a tough thing to manage.
From a championship point of view, at the moment 48 points (his points lead would later grow to 51 after Justin Barcia was penalized three points for the Anderson incident). That’s something incredible. Being able to potentially wrap this thing up at your home race in Colorado, is that a thought as well? Is that just something that you’re like, that would be super special?
It would be really special. We didn’t go there [Denver] last year, and the year before or two years ago it was the loudest stadium I’ve been in. So, that would be really neat, but we’re a ways from that still. It’s a great position to be in, but there’s a lot of racing left. You know how supercross is. Just try to play it weekend by weekend.
Watch the full 450SX post-race press conference below: