Welcome to round 14 of Monster Energy Supercross, the tour's first-ever visit to Nashville, Tennessee. Nissan Stadium is an open-air building, but the weather is absolutely perfect, and while the floor space isn't huge, the track is jumpy and busy enough to take advantage of all the space available. Justin Brayton, injured and not riding tonight, is hanging with us in the press box and said the track is jumpy. The whoops are also pretty sharp, and the dirt is hard and doesn't look likely to break down to the point where they will become jumping whoops. What actually could be a bigger challenge is inconsistency--there are rocks and marbles in spots, and other spots might become blue grooved.
Of course, this season is still on fire, with Cooper Webb leading the points by 17, trying to put the finishing touches on not only his first 450SX Championship, but one of the most out-of-nowhere title drives the sport has ever seen. Until this season, Webb had not won a 450SX race. This week, @sxresearchdept revealed that only twice have riders in their first season winning a premier-class race won more than Webb's six this year, Jeremy McGrath's seminal 1993 rookie season (10 wins) and Chad Reed's 2003 rookie season (8 wins). Usually, this is a building process. Webb has exploded this season, and since he's never won this title before, it makes every step in the championship process seem that more newer
But, the title is far from locked and there is the possibility of some residual heat from Webb's Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin, who got pushed off the track by Webb last week in Houston. Musquin had won two races in a row until Houston, he's still second in points, and he needs to make things happen quickly if he wants to make up some ground.
Then you have Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen, who are further behind in points but always weekly threats for victories. Dean Wilson is also surging courtesy of a podium last week, and there are plenty of other contenders still left in this field.
It's a little more lopsided in 250SX East, as Austin Forkner is kicking butt on a weekly basis and holds a 26-point lead over Chase Sexton. Forkner hasn't been beaten by a 250 East rider yet this year--his only loss came at the Atlanta 250 East/West Showdown, courtesy of west riders Adam Cianciarulo and Dylan Ferrandis.
Three 250SX East races remain, here tonight, and then New Jersey and the Vegas East/West finale.
Practice is about to begin here in Nashville, stay tuned for all the updates.