Eli Tomac beats Ken Roczen to win Daytona for 4th time, take points lead
Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen entered Round 10 of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series tied in the points. Only one rider could leave Daytona International Speedway with the lead.
Tomac entered as the favorite and left with his fourth victory at Daytona and the points lead.
Roczen still had something to say about the matter, however.
Roczen, who leads the series in laps led at 82, held the top spot for the first 14 laps, but Tomac was up front when it mattered the most for his fifth victory of the season. He now leads Rozen by three points.
“Tonight it was a little bit of patience in the beginning because the pace was really hard early on,” Tomac said on NBCSN after the race. “Somewhere about halfway is where I realized I had to get going and make the moves and the passes. And Kenny was out front again. I’m like, ‘I cannot lose these points right now because this is my good track.’ I just had to pin it; hold it open and get to the front.”
Tomac once again suffered a bad start that left him mired in the pack. He battled outside the top five early with last week’s nemesis, Justin Barcia, and 2019 champion Cooper Webb. After getting around Barcia, Tomac and Webb sliced through the field nose to tail as they caught 2018 champion Jason Anderson.
While they battled for a spot on the podium, Roczen built a 9-second lead. but once Tomac settled into second, he set his sights on the leader and methodically chased him down.
With less than two minutes on the clock, Roczen bobbled in an off-camber turn. Tomac swerved hard left to get around the leader and powered through the next corner with the lead. He held it until the checkers.
Tomac’s fourth win at the World Center of Racing tied him with Jeff Stanton and Ryan Villopoto for second on the all-time Supercross win list at Daytona. The designer of the track, Ricky Carmichael, holds the record with five wins.
“After he passed me I followed him and we kind of yo-yoed a little bit,” Roczen said. “I really tried to put a hard one in that last lap because we were definitely close.”
The top three riders finished in order at Daytona with Webb third in the race and maintaining his third-place position in the standings.
“I just got beat flat out,” Webb said from the podium. “We’ll go back to the drawing board.”
Webb is 29 points behind Tomac. The most a rider can earn in a single race is 26.
The next two riders in the standings rounded out the top five. Anderson (fifth in points) finished fourth in the race. Fifth-place finisher Justin Barcia held onto his fourth-place position in the standings.
Garrett Marchbanks joined some heady company Saturday night. In 2000 Travis Pastrana won his first 250 race at Daytona. Marvin Musquin took his first win in 2013. In 2020: it was Marchbanks winning his first 250 Main on the same night that he won his first heat. More impressive still, he had to hold off last year’s champion and current points leader, Chase Sexton.
“I haven’t gotten a holeshot in I don’t know how long,” Marchbanks said. “Chase has been riding good all season long so far and I had to ride smart. … I knew he wasn’t going to give up. (I thought) don’t look back, just keep on going.”
The box score reveals Marchbanks led every lap, but Sexton did not make it easy. He pressured Marchbanks throughout the race, never falling behind by more than 2 seconds until the checkers waved. It was a two-man show as Marchbanks and Sexton finished 9 seconds ahead of third.
Sexton padded his points lead with his second-place finish. He was frustrated with how he ran all weekend, but in the end he took consolation in the fact that he extended his points lead to 10 over Shane McElrath.
“I’m going into Indianapolis, my home track, with the red plate and that’s all that matters,” Sexton said.
Coming off a disappointing 19th-place finish at Atlanta, Jeremy Martin earned his second podium in four races.
RJ Hampshire finished fourth but was able to gain only one point on McElrath in the bid for second in the standings.
Hampshire and the field had a much greater opportunity to make up ground on McElrath. He was embroiled in a Lap 1 incident with Jordon Smith that saw both riders hit the ground. McElrath made an aggressive pass on Smith. When Smith tried to retaliate in the next turn, McElrath laid over and took both riders down.
Smith limped off the track; McElrath regained his mount and climbed to fifth to minimize the points loss.
Heat 1: Ken Roczen followed and studied holeshot winner Aaron Plessinger for a couple of laps before commandeering the lead. Once in clean air, he built up a 3-second lead as Plessinger shifted gears to defend against teammate Justin Barcia. … Justin Brayton settled into fourth with Malcolm Stewart rounding out the top five. … Henry Miller took the final transfer spot in ninth. | Heat 1 Results
Heat 2: Cooper Webb grabbed the early lead and listened to a furious battle developing behind him. For much of the race, he led Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac, but not by a wide margin with a total of two to 3 seconds separating them. Webb scored the win over Anderson in second and Tomac third. This is Webb’s first heat win of the season. … Vince Friese took fourth with Chad Reed fifth in what is scheduled to be his final Daytona Supercross. … Alex Ray took the final transfer spot. | Heat 2 Results
LCQ: Ryan Breece scooted out to an early lead and held his advantage over Martin Davalos. … Adam Enticknap led early, but slipped to third at the checkers. … The battle for the final transfer spot heated up on the last lap with Daniel Herrlein edging Ronnie Stewart and Alex Ray. | LCQ Results
Heat 1: A big snarl in the first corner allowed Shane McElrath to open up a big lead. At the checkers, he was 11 seconds ahead of Jordon Smith. … Jordan Bailey came home third with one of last week’s most pleasant stories Jo Shimoda in fourth. … Carter Halpain rounded out the top five. … RJ Hampshire was one of the riders who hit the dirt in the first turn; he rebounded to finish sixth. … Enzo Lopes took the final transfer spot in ninth. | Heat 1 Results
Heat 2: It pays to get off to a good start because it puts a rider ahead of possible incidents. Another big accident erupted on the opening lap when Nick Gaines went down while riding in the top five. Garrett Marchbanks and Jeremy Martin were ahead of the incident and settled the lead between them. Marchbanks took the top spot; Martin was second. It was Marchbanks’ first career heat win. … Points leader Chase Sexton was involved in the Lap 1 accident but rebounded to finish third - albeit 17 seconds behind the lead pair. … Chase Marquier took fourth with Cedric Soubeyras rounding out the top five. … Justin Rodbell took the final transfer spot. | Heat 2 Results
LCQ: Jalek Swoll ran into trouble in his heat. He didn’t want to have to transfer through the LCQ on his home track, but will take consolation in the fact that it is his first LCQ win. … Grant Harlan finished 4 seconds back in second. … Pierce Brown had a more interesting race than he wanted. Halfway through he stalled his bike in the sand and fell while running second. He dropped to seventh but charged back to third to advance to the Main. … Dustin Winter grabbed the final transfer spot. | LCQ Results
Next race: March 14, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
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