DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Eli Tomac rode a Kawasaki to victory Saturday night in the Daytona Supercross at Daytona Int’l Speedway, becoming the fifth rider to win the Monster Energy AMA Supercross event three times.
Tomac joined Bob Hannah, Mike Kiedrowski, Jeremy McGrath and Chad Reed as a three-time Daytona Supercross champion.
Riding the No. 3 Monster Energy Kawasaki and wearing a helmet bearing the likeness of Daytona stock car legend Dale Earnhardt, Tomac assumed the lead on lap five of the 18-lap 450SX main event en route to a dominating ride. Second-place Cooper Webb – the leader in the series’ point standings – finished 6.889 seconds behind Tomac.
“The last half [of the race] was effortless,” Tomac said. “I just got the flow and that’s so important at this track. It just started coming to me.
“[Title] number three … this is so cool at Daytona.”
Chad Reed was thwarted in his own attempt at making history, as he finished 10th in the main event. Reed was trying to become the third four-time Daytona Supercross champion; Jeff Stanton and Ryan Villopoto are the others on that short list.
Austin Forkner won the 250SX main event aboard the No. 24 Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Forkner started the evening with a strong run in winning the first 250SX heat. He ended with his fourth main event win of the year – and a commanding lead in the 250SX East championship standings.
“It was tough,” Forkner said about the main event. “Just not making mistakes was one of the biggest things; I honestly didn’t feel like I was going super fast. Just every rhythm, every jump, every lap was just perfect – that was the key tonight, I feel.”
Both the 450SX and 250SX classes had two heat races that advanced the top-nine finishers to the 22-rider main events. The 450SX heats were won by Tomac and Blake Baggett; Forkner and Justin Cooper won the 250SX heats.
There also were action-filled Last Chance Qualifier races – five minutes plus one lap – that awarded main-event berths to the top-four finishers among riders not previously locked into the main. The 450SX LCQ went to Scott Champion; Lorenzo Locurcio of nearby Groveland, Fla., won the 250SX LCQ.