Jason Anderson wins 2022 Supercross Round 14 in Atlanta; Hunter Lawrence wins East / West Shootout
The Monster Energy Supercross series raced on a speedway infield course for the second time in 2022 and Jason Anderson won his fourth race of the season in Round 14.
For Anderson, it was a statement race. Eli Tomac has an almost unassailable lead in the championship standings with three rounds remaining, and the driver second in points knows the only thing he can do is keep the pressure on.
Anderson won his heat, which also had Tomac in the field. It is most likely a case of too little, too late but Anderson won the head-to-head matchup in both events.
“I’ve been better than I’ve ever been this year and to struggle and still get podiums and top-fives is crazy, “Anderson told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “All-in-all, I really wanted to get another win. That felt good.”
Tomac won the other speedway infield race in Daytona for a record sixth time and still boasts a two-win advantage over Anderson.
Tomac is now 53 points ahead of Anderson and could clinch the championship if he finishes ahead of his rival next week.
Chase Sexton grabbed the early lead and was stalked by Justin Barcia. Both riders slipped back through the pack. Sexton was able to regroup and finish third in a tight battle with Cooper Webb.
Webb was forced to sit out last week after a crash in preliminaries. He rebounded to finish fifth at Atlanta.
Malcom Stewart earned his second top-five in the past four rounds, but has lost some of the consistency that marked the beginning of his season. He finished on the high side of the single digits in the other two races.
Earlier this week, Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis announced he will skip the remainder of the 2022 Supercross season to heal from a wrist injury and focus on defending his 2021 Motocross championship.
The 250 East and West riders squared off for the first time this year.
Hype surrounded the impending battle between the championship leaders Christian Craig and Jett Lawrence.
In the feature, Lawrence got a much better start than Craig. He might have chosen to ride a safe line and hope to keep his rival at bay - but that is not how Lawrence rides. On Lap 1, he tucked his wheel in the whoops and went down hard. Craig slipped past. So did 10 more riders and Lawrence dropped to 15th as Craig advanced to fifth.
Lawrence’s problems began early. He had a less-than-optimal gate pick after finishing fifth in his heat. Craig won the 250 West heat and established dominance early.
Another head-to-head matchup worthy of note was between the Lawrence brothers. Hunter crashed hard on media day and was riding sore.
Hunter took the early feature lead as Craig and Jett Lawrence struggled to start.
It’s impossible to keep Craig down, however, and he climbed to second at the end of the East/West Showdown to give the West riders the top spots.
Jett Lawrence surged through the field and caught Jo Shimoda with time running off the clock. Shimoda did not go down without a fight and tried to cross over, but in the end all three spotlight riders stood on the podium.
Jett came up on the short end of both head-to-head matchups, but salvaged third at the checkers and padded his points’ lead in the East over last week’s winner RJ Hampshire, who ended the race in eighth.
“I live for the night show,” Hunter Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “It’s what we train for and I’m stoked to have pulled this one off. ... Jett’s on the box as well, which is so great for out family.”
Hunter closed the gap slightly on Craig, but still trails by 23. Craig was content with his result since he had his rival in sight.
“When I was that far back at the beginning, I got a little zoned out,” Craig told Will Christen. “Luckily I was able to get up to the leaders. When I got to second, Hunter had a good gap and I felt like we were yo-yoing for a little bit. He was riding really well, so props to him. That tip over in the back really stalled my momentum
Shimoda slotted into fourth with Nate Thrasher rounding out the top five.
Austin Forkner made his return to racing after breaking a collarbone in the Texas Triple Crown and he didn’t have miss a beat. He won his 250 East heat and rode to a top-10 finish in seventh.
“I was putting down laps and feeling really, really controlled out there,” Forkner said. “I was just giving it everything I had; that’s how I was working through the pack. To have come from that far back to win, that was pretty much all I had.”
Phil Nicoletti went down in his heat and broke his wrist.
ROUND 1, ANAHEIM: Ken Roczen renews battle with Cooper Webb by winning the opener
ROUND 2, OAKLAND: Jason Anderson wins for first time since championship season
ROUND 3, SAN DIEGO: Chase Sexton (450s) and Michael Mosiman (250s) deliver first career wins
ROUND 4, ANAHEIM: Four races, four winners as Eli Tomac solidifies points lead
ROUND 5, GLENDALE: Tomac wins back-to-back races in Arizona Triple Crown
ROUND 6, ANAHEIM: Anderson ties Tomac with two 2022 wins
ROUND 7, MINNEAPOLIS: Anderson does it again and closes to within three of Tomac
ROUND 8, ARLINGTON: Tomac wins overall as Anderson takes two features
ROUND 9, DAYTONA: History made as Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record
ROUND 10, DETROIT: Tomac wins incident-filled, third consecutive
ROUND 11, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac extends lead as competition falters
ROUND 12, INDIANAPOLIS: Tomac wins fifth straight and sets sights on 2022 championship
ROUND 13, St. Louis: Marvin Musquin scores first win of 2022 in Triple Crown format