Eli Tomac broke to the lead Saturday in the 450cc Supercross in Arlington, Texas, but crashed early and fell out of contention.
As the gate dropped in the main event at AT&T Stadium, only two points separated the AMA series’ Top 4 riders – Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Tomac and Marvin Musquin.
Tomac raced to the lead at the first turn, with series-leading Roczen on his heels. Roczen got past Tomac in the fifth lap, and Tomac quickly countered with an inside move that nearly took him back to the lead. However, in the seventh lap, Tomac slid out in a rutted turn and lost control of his front wheel. He crashed and dropped to seventh.
Riders in the middle of the field began to pass Tomac with seeming ease. Dean Wilson, Justin Hill and Aaron Plessinger all went by Tomac in the 11th lap, and Justin Barcia and Justin Brayton got by in the 12th. By the midpoint of the race, Tomac’s race was largely over.
Meanwhile, the series’ frontrunners were battling for the win.
Series-leading Roczen, who took Tomac’s lead in the fifth lap, held a commanding lead over Musquin for 14 laps. But series runner-up Cooper Webb, who started in seventh, passed Musquin in the 19th lap to challenge Roczen for the win.
It took Webb six laps to do it.
In the last of 25 laps, Roczen and Webb raced side by side and wheel to wheel to the checkered flag. Webb got there first, winning by .028 second. Musquin, who benefited by Tomac’s crash, finished third. Blake Baggett and Tomac’s teammate on Monster Energy Kawasaki, Joey Savatgy, rounded out the Top 5.
Tomac finished 12th and picked up 11 points for the race. He dropped to fourth place in the overall standings, 16 points behind Webb, the new series leader. The standings remained tight for the top positions – Webb with 150 points, Roczen with 148 and Musquin with 144.
Earlier Saturday, Tomac was seventh after two qualifying rounds, with a fast lap of 50.600 seconds. Webb was first, with a fast lap of 50.0012.
In the day’s second qualifying heat, Tomac was third at the start, behind holeshot winner Chad Reed and Cole Seeley. Seeley and Tomac moved to the front in the second lap, and dueled in the final two laps for the top spot. The win went to Seely, with Tomac about a half-second behind him. Webb, Baggett and Reed rounded out the Top 5.
Next, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series goes to Detroit on Feb. 23 for the eighth of 17 races this season.