Eli Tomac sets Daytona Supercross record with dramatic late-race pass in Round 9
With less than one minute remaining on the clock, Eli Tomac took advantage of the first bobble of the night by Cooper Webb in heavy traffic to sweep past the 2021 champion and win a record-setting sixth Daytona Monster Energy Supercross race in Round 9 of the 2022 season. With the win, Tomac broke a tie for the most Daytona wins that was long held by Ricky Carmichael.
Webb grabbed the holeshot at the start and rode flawlessly, but with Tomac getting a strong start in third, one had the sense that he was stalking the leader. At the start of the race, Chase Sexton slotted into second as Tomac patiently rode behind the pair. He slipped past Sexton on Lap 7 of 18 and rode in Webb’s roost for much of the remainder of the race.
The dirt and sand in Tomac’s face did not slow him any and the differential between first and second equalized at about two seconds until the pair hit traffic. Once Tomac got around Webb, he rapidly stretched his advantage and crossed over the finish line by more than five seconds.
Standing on the top of the podium, Tomac could barely control his enthusiasm.
“The whole night is unbelievable,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “That was a fight all the way to the end with Cooper. I really charged through the whoops that time. I felt like that is where I was making a little time. Obviously, there was a little gift there from a lapper. But it was a push all the way.”
The late-race pass denied Webb his first feature win of the season, but it comes at a time that Webb is showing a rapid improvement in his results. He finished second in Minneapolis two weeks ago, won one of the Triple Crown events in Arlington last week and finished third in the overall standings.
“It sucks, but it’s racing,” Webb said. “Maybe I should have anticipated a little better. But it’s definitely a bummer when a race is decided, or goes that close, and a lapper gets involved.
“I was close. The closest I’ve ever been. I rode great the whole time. Felt like I rode strong the whole time. I knew Eli was coming and he’s just so damned good here.
“Overall I’m happy, but damn, it sucks. I could taste it. I knew I could go the distance, but shit happens sometimes.”
Chase Sexton held onto to finish third. It was his fourth podium of the season.
Tomac’s win wasn’t the only bit of drama. Early in the race, the frustration between Malcolm Stewart and Jason Anderson boiled over from last week’s contact in Race 1 of the Arlington Triple Crown.
Trailing Anderson at the time, Stewart dive-bombed the rider of the No. 21 and sent both of them to the ground, dropping them to the back of the pack. The pair stayed hooked together for the remainder of the race and rode through the field, but it cost both of them valuable spots and points for Anderson.
Stewart crossed under the checkers seventh, his first result outside the top five in seven races, but after the race both he and Anderson were docked a position for their on-track activities.
Dyland Ferrandis in fourth and Justin Barcia rounded out the top five.
Jett Lawrence put on a clinic in the 250 East division, winning both his heat and feature.
In fact, Lawrence had such a substantial lead in the heat, that he won despite confusing the white and checkered flags. Lawrence slowed on the final lap of his heat to wave at the crowd before his team got his attention and waved him on.
There was no such bobble in the feature as he dominated green to checkers and rode off to a more than 14 second lead.
“This is like a dream come true,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “You watch this as a little kid on TV so many times. You got (Justin Barcia) winning it. You got Eli winning it five times. You got Ricky winning it five times. You watch that and you think I want to do that one day. I want to have that experience one day.”
With the win, Lawrence took sole possession of the points’ lead by five points. The win also helped erase the memory of last week’s catastrophic contact between Lawrence and Austin Forkner in Race 3 of the Arlington Triple Crown.
Stilez Robertson crossed under the checkers second, which was his best result of the season and his first top-five of 2022.
For Robertson, it was an emotional cap to a frustrating offseason.
“I was second-guessing myself,” Robertson said. “It was a frickin’ crazy offseason. I separated by shoulder, broke my pelvis. It’s been seven weeks now. I’m so happy.”
Cameron McAdoo entered the weekend tied in points with Lawrence after last week’s troubled race. McAdoo took the overall win as Lawrence was pushed back to third after his crash in Race 3.
Pierce Brown in fourth and Enzo Lopes rounded out the top five.
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