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Eli Tomac finishes third in Detroit Supercross after Plessinger crashes

Eli Tomac of Cortez finished fifth in his qualifying heat and timed runs Saturday in the 450cc Supercross Saturday in Ford Field in Detroit. (Yamaha Star Racing)
Cooper Webb leads Tomac by 3 points in the series

Eli Tomac of Cortez faced an up-and-down battle and benefited from a late crash and a penalty to finish third Saturday night in the 450cc Supercross in Detroit.

He remains in second place in the season standings.

As the 10th round of the championship series got underway in Ford Field, Adam Cianciarulo took the early lead from Aaron Plessinger, with Cooper Webb in third and Tomac in fourth. Justin Barcia was fifth.

Plessinger battled back for the lead in Lap 2 and was followed by Webb and Tomac. Barcia remained behind Tomac, and Chase Sexton climbed into fifth place. Cianciarulo dropped to sixth.

Tomac briefly rose to second place in In Lap 5, but in Lap 6, Webb and Barcia passed Tomac, and Sexton followed suit, leaving Tomac in fifth in Lap 8.

Sexton continued his charge and landed in second place ahead of Webb.

As Plessinger reached the race’s midpoint in Lap 11 with an 8.678-second lead, it became apparent that it would be Plessinger’s night. But in Lap 22, while leading Sexton by about 3 seconds, he crashed, giving Sexton the lead and the win. Webb followed Sexton across the finish line 6.335 seconds back. Tomac was third, 9.070 seconds back, and Barcia and Ken Roczen filled out the top five.

Plessinger ended up 13th.

Although Sexton finished first, he was penalized 7 points, for a total of 19 points for a jump while the Red Cross flag was out. Webb got the usual 23 points for second place, and Tomac, 21 points for third.

Tomac remains second in the season standings, with 222 points, just 3 points behind Webb after giving up the No. 1 spot last week in Indianapolis.

In an interview Friday with RacerXonline, Tomac explained that an injury slowed him down March 11 in Indianapolis, but that he was ready for Detroit.

“What happened in Indy is I had a strained neck,” he said. “It was a huge bummer. … That’s the reason I was … back in ninth and was struggling. … So, yeah, just tried to get that better this week and it has gotten better. And I’m thankful that we’re not on that dirt here again at Detroit. And yeah, just keep going.”

Qualifying heats: Anderson and Sexton win

Jason Anderson won Heat 1, leading Justin Barcia all eight laps to the finish line.

Adam Cianciarulo, finishing the first lap in fifth place, vaulted into third place in Lap 2 and followed Barcia to the finish line. Cooper Webb raced from ninth to fourth, and Justin Hill, who started way back in ninth place, moved into fourth place in Lap 5.

In Heat 2, Ken Roczen went to the lead, with Sexton, Aaron Plessinger and Joshua Cartwright in tow.

Tomac started fifth, but moved into fourth in the first lap, ahead of Christian Craig, as Cartwright dropped back. Roczen and Sexton ran a tight race for the lead less than a second apart before Roczen gave way to Sexton in Lap 5.

Plessinger slipped past Roczen for second place in the final turn, dropping Roczen into third place, ahead of Tomac and Craig.

Earlier Saturday, Tomac was fifth in timed practice runs, with a best lap of 52.109 seconds. Sexton was fastest, edging Anderson 51.439 seconds to 51.491. Roczen and Cianciarulo filled out the top five.

What’s next: Round 11 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross is March 25 at Lumen Field in Seattle.

2023 450SX standings
1. Cooper WebbKTM225
2. Eli TomacYamaha222
3. Chase SextonHonda208
4. Ken RoczenSuzuki182
5. Jason AndersonKawasaki180
6. Justin BarciaGasGas174
7. Aaron PlessingerKTM164
8. Christian CraigHusqvarna136
9. Adam CianciaruloKawasaki107
10. Justin HillKTM103