1351

racerxonline.com

10 Things To Watch For at 2019 Daytona SX

1351
...

Daytona International Speedway Daytona, FL Daytona Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship

Eli Tomac keeps making this list, but every week it seems to be for different reasons. Last week we wondered if he was about to go on a winning streak after winning in Detroit, but that didn’t happen in Atlanta, where the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider got a bad start and simply wasn’t able to slice forward like we’ve seen in the past. He ended up sixth, and if you’re keeping track, that’s three out of the last four races in which he’s been outside the top five. There’s no question Tomac will get back up front at some point, and Daytona, which is rougher than the rest of the tracks of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, seems like a fitting place for the current 450 National Champion to bounce back. -AaronHansel

Still Waiting

If you told us before A1 that after nine rounds Marvin Musquin and Ken Roczen would still be winless, we probably would have laughed scornfully, gotten up, and taken a seat on the opposite side of the press box. Yet, here we are, and thanks in large part to one Cooper Webb, Musquin and Roczen, two of the sport’s biggest stars, have yet to make the trip to the winner’s circle in 2019. It still feels like only a matter of time before either one breaks through, but with the season now over halfway done, each lost opportunity seems bigger, especially with Webb riding so dominantly. We’ll see if Musquin or Roczen can put it all together in Daytona. –Hansel 

So Close

Speaking of riders who have been deprived of a win by Webb, Blake Baggett was oh so close to taking his second victory of the season, and his career, last week in Atlanta. He was all over Webb for a good portion of the race, hounding him section after section, but just couldn’t find a good place to execute a pass on the Red Bull KTM rider. At 57 points out of the lead Baggett’s bid for a championship has seen healthier days, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to win back from Webb this weekend. –Hansel

Can Baggett claim win number two this weekend?
Can Baggett claim win number two this weekend? Jeff Kardas

Zach Osborne is now three races into his first 450SX season and so far his results have been a bit underwhelming. He earned a pair of DNFs in Arlington and Atlanta, and was 10th in Detroit. Probably not what he was hoping for, but it won’t last either. We know Osborne is capable of better—he’s got a pair of 250SX titles and a 250 National Championship—it’s just a matter of getting back into the swing of things after joining a new class seven rounds into the season. He’ll get it figured out sooner or later. Will it be as early as Daytona? –Hansel

Solid Return

One week after sitting out the night show in Detroit after getting hit in the chest with a chunk of rock, Cole Seely made a strong return by winning his heat race in Atlanta. He wasn’t able to carry quite as much momentum into the main event, where he finished 10th, but considering the circumstances it’s nothing to complain about. Seely also mentioned on Instagram he’d been dealing with nerves all day on account of last weekend being one year apart from his terrible crash in Tampa that put him in a wheelchair for two months. With that ominous milestone now in the past, we’ll see how Seely does for the remainder of the series. -Hansel

New Class, Same Bike

With both 250SX East Region riders out for this weekend due to injury, Troy Lee Designs/Red bull KTM decided to move 250SX West Region rider Shane McElrath to move up to the 450 class. Only Shane won’t be riding a 450; he’ll stay on his 250F against the big boys. We’ve seen this happen a lot—Justin Starling made a main event on a 250F just last year—but it will be fun to see how the 250 race winner performs against the big bikes on Saturday. Predictions for Sugar Shane? -Chase Stallo

Sipes Returns

We haven’t seen Ryan Sipes on a supercross track since the Las Vegas East/West Showdown in 2013, where he finished seventh. Since then, Sipes has raced GNCC, and select Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds—and even American Flat Track. Nothing will compare to this weekend though, as Sipes will race the 250 class at Daytona Supercross on Saturday, the GNCC at Wild Boar on Sunday, and then the Singles class at American Flat Track on Thursday! What a week for Mr. Versatility. How will Sipes do in his return to SX on Saturday? -Stallo

Sipes returns to supercross Saturday.
Sipes returns to supercross Saturday. Collin Speckner

Ricky Carmichael once again designed a tough track for the 2019 Daytona Supercross. The track features different types of dirt and all sorts of obstacles—whoops, moguls, a wall, and a dragon’s back, just to name a few. With the more motocross style layout, the track starts immediately with a 90-degree turn into whoops, so getting through the start and first whoop section will be important. The section coming back along pit lane is extremely long—with a wall and a long run up into the second half of the it, this section and could be taxing if not executed perfectly. During media day practice, riders were feeling out different lines and it will be interesting to see how the lines develop throughout the night. –Mitch Kendra

Another First-Timer?

Last year we saw Justin Brayton earn his first career win at the 2018 Daytona Supercross. With the rookie class improving—Joey Savatgy winning a heat race and leading main event laps, Aaron Plessinger getting his season-best fifth place finish last week—and two capable winners in Justin Hill—who has been struggling after getting banged up a few times in practice—and Zach Osborne—who has really just ran into some bad luck—there could be another first-time winner tomorrow night. -Kendra

the Championship Hunt

Will this be the weekend that a 250SX East Region rider can overthrow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner? GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton had Forkner’s number last week in the 250SX East heat race in Atlanta, but the staggered restart played out in Forkner’s favor. Sexton has had faster lap times than Forkner in several main events, which have resulted in Sexton making up ground on the points leader. But aside from the Atlanta heat race, Sexton has had to play caught up to Forkner. In third place and down 20 points, Sexton will have to have Forkner’s number tomorrow night if he wants to still have a crack at the 250SX East championship. With Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM’s Jordan Smith—a title contender coming into the season—out, it’s up to Sexton and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Mitchell Oldenburg to overthrow Forkner for the championship, as JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Alex Martin sits 39 points out going into tomorrow. -Kendra