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Eli Tomac finishes second after tough battle in Daytona

Eli Tomac of Cortez placed 2nd in Daytona on Saturday. (Yamaha Motor USA)
Tomac battled with Sexton for the entirety of the 450SX main event on Saturday

After a hard-fought battle in the 450 Supercross in Daytona on Saturday, Eli Tomac edged defending champion Chase Sexton for second place behind Jett Lawrence.

Tomac is the sport’s “most winningest rider” at the Daytona track, with a record seven victories.

At the races in Daytona on Saturday, Supercross riders were met with difficult track conditions following bouts of rain leading up to the races.

The rough track caused issues early, with 450 Heat 1 winner Ken Roczen crashing on the first lap before regaining his spot in the first-place position.

Because of his crash, Roczen was passed by Sexton and Justin Barcia, who held the lead for only a short time before Roczen passed both riders to reclaim the lead and win the heat.

In Heat 2, Tomac got the hole shot out of the gate, with Cooper Webb on his heels. Webb passed Tomac, with commentators noting that Tomac appeared slightly timid, which they attributed his adjustment to track conditions.

Lawrence, who didn’t get a good start, raced behind Tomac. Webb was third.

With a minute left in the second heat, Tomac passed Webb, but Tomac only held the lead for a few seconds before Lawrence passed both Webb and Tomac to win the heat by about five seconds.

“I don’t think Eli liked that,” commentators said as Tomac crossed the finish line in second.

In an interview, Tomac provided more insight into his mindset at this point in the season.

“I still feel like I can be the top guy or be in the conversation of being ‘the guy,’” Tomac said. “It’s taken time to get back to this level for this first half of the season, but I feel like I’m going to be there now, and I should still be in the competition.”

The 450SX main event proved to be a nail-biter, with Tomac and Sexton battling nearly the entire race.

Sexton took an early lead as Tomac put pressure on him from behind. While Sexton and Tomac battled, Lawrence got around them, claiming the first-place position early and maintaining his lead throughout the entirety of the race, despite almost crashing at one point.

After being neck and neck for the whole race, Tomac passed Sexton in the 13th of 14 laps to claim the second-place position.

Webb placed fourth behind Lawrence, Tomac and Sexton.

Lawrence claims the top position in the season standings with 160 points, and Webb is second with 150.

Sexton is in third with 147 points, and Tomac is fourth with 144 points.

The next Supercross race is Saturday, March 9, at Protective Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama.