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Race Day Feed: Minneapolis

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Welcome to cold and snowy Minneapolis—and thank Heaven for the roof over U.S. Bank Stadium. We thought Indianapolis was bad outside, but this is crazy. The wind is making the snow come down sideways, and it’s literally hard to see as you walk around the pits. Everyone is huddled deep inside their race haulers, but the snowy ride from the pits to the track is treacherous. Weston Peick crashed on his bike in the snow, and then a second Autotrader.com/Yoshimura Suzuki rider, Kyle Peters, crashed on the ice and even missed a practice.

It’s all good inside, though, with a pretty cool track. The two whoop sections could get tough—the second one gets challenging by the end—and the dirt looks good. The track also features a split inside/outside section, but as usual, it’s favoring one side. The inside will probably be the preferred line unless something drastic changes.

This is the final of three Triple Crown races for the year. Three races in each class, all totaled up to take an overall. This will be a 250SX East race, just like the previous Triple Crown in Atlanta. Austin Forkner (250SX) and Jason Anderson (450SX) took the wins in that one. The 250SX East division last raced in Indianapolis two weeks ago, and Jeremy Martin took the win. Zach Osborne leads the standings in that class by seven over Forkner, and ten over Jordon Smith. Anderson is sitting on a 37-point lead over Marvin Musquin in 450SX.

One other thing to remember about the Triple Crown is that 18 riders make the main events through qualifying times, then LCQs are run in the daytime to seed the final four spots on the gate.

First Practices

Austin Forkner could really use a win tonight to close back up on Zach Osborne in points, and his motivation showed early in this session. He was fast and aggressive right out of the box and held top time for a bit. Then came the usual mad scramble for lap times at the end of the first timed 250 session, with a bunch of good laps coming in a flurry. Osborne snuck to the top of the board ahead of Jeremy Martin. Osborne and Martin were trading fast laps throughout this one, could be a good showdown between them tonight.

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You can write off last week’s mudder for Justin Brayton, who is not comfortable in those conditions. Back here in a dome, the Bullfrog Spas/Smart Top Motoconcepts Honda rider logged the fastest time in 450SX. He just edged ahead of Eli Tomac’s hot time. Late in the session Weston Peick and Jason Anderson jumped up to second and third. Also looking good was Malcolm Stewart, who is showing more speed as of late. Malcolm has been spending more time testing in North Carolina with the JGR crew and it’s starting to show, as earlier in the season he was on a week-to-week basis as a replacement with the team, and wasn’t getting in any testing. Late in the season, Mookie is finding his form.

Justin Barcia looked decent in his return to racing and was seventh-quickest.

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Final Practices

Austin Forkner jumped out on the track first in this one, then Zach Osborne logged the best time. Late in the session Jeremy Martin took the top spot away pushing Osborne to second and Forkner to third—remember this is Martin’s home race, and he also won the race the last time the East riders lined up in Indy. Martin and Osborne looked to be matching each other for lap times in both timed sessions today.

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Christian Craig got the best jump when this practice started (they actually use a full gate drop start in the final practices) and led the field around early. Marvin Musquin briefly took the top spot, but then Eli Tomac grabbed the top time a lap later. Impressive again was Malcolm Stewart, who jumped up to the second-best time on lap eight.

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