Eli Tomac crashed twice after a strong start Saturday in the 450 Supercross race in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and finished third to remain No. 2 in the series standings with one race to go.
Series-leading Cooper Webb won the back-and-forth race at MetLife Stadium, and Tomac’s nearest rival in the overall standings, Marvin Musquin, finished fifth.
As the gate dropped, Tomac raced to the front and was third at the first turn behind Zach Osborne and series-leading Cooper Webb. Musquin was dead last.
Tomac moved to second place in the first lap, challenged Webb for the lead and passed him in the third lap. But Webb fought back, and after a back-and-forth battle, Tomac, went down in the whoops in Lap 9 and dropped to fourth place behind Blake Baggett.
Musquin, meanwhile, gained 17 positions in nine laps and moved into sixth place behind Ken Roczen.
As Webb, Osborne and Baggett bunched up in the front of the pack, Tomac climbed back into contention for a podium position and passed Baggett in Lap 17.
With just five laps to go, Tomac charged passed Osborne the next lap and moved to within 1.579 seconds of Webb for the lead.
However, in Lap 20, he again went down in the whoops dropped to a distant third, almost 12 seconds off the lead. As Webb and Osborne ran away from the pack in the final three laps, Tomac settled for third. Baggett and Musquin rounded out the top 5.
The third-place finish gave Tomac an eight-point lead over Musquin in the overall standings, with the final race in Las Vegas on May 4. Roczen is a distant fourth, at 300 points, 35 points behind Tomac, assuring Tomac of at least a third-place finish in the series.
Webb, who has won seven races this season, has a commanding 23-point lead, and needs only a top 20 finish next weekend to claim the title in the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. Tomac has won five races.
Earlier Saturday, Tomac was fourth-fastest in qualifying rounds, behind Musquin, Roczen and Kawasaki teammate Joey Savatgy. Tomac was second in his heat, behind Justin Bogle. Musquin won the second heat, and was followed by Webb and Osborne.
The season finale at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium is Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Mountain time.