Eli Tomac of Cortez placed third Sunday in the fifth supercross race in Salt Lake City after a fast start that quickly fell apart in the first lap.
After the gate dropped at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Tomac immediately went to the lead, but Cooper Webb went wide in a jam at the first turn that took out Jason Anderson and pushed Tomac into seventh. Anderson fell to last place.
Tomac moved up to fifth place in the fourth lap, still only 7 seconds off the leaders – Ken Roczen, Webb, Zach Osborne and Malcolm Stewart – then into third after passing Stewart and Osborne.
Meanwhile, Roczen set a strong pace at the lead, 3.3 seconds ahead of Webb and 7 seconds ahead of Tomac. With about 7 minutes to go, Tomac crept toward Webb, but third place was all he’d get.
Roczen went on to beat Webb by 3.1 seconds, and Tomac by 14 seconds.
With the win, Roczen moved back into second place in the 450cc standings, one point ahead of Webb. With two races to go and his best chance yet for an AMA Supercross title, Tomac has a 24-point lead, 343-319.
“I think I’m in a good spot right now,” Tomac told RacerXonline after the race. “I’m still in a position to where if I go perform next week and win, I can control my own destiny that way. ”
Tomac has won five of the past 10 races and finished on the podium in three of the remaining five races. Although he has had some difficulty at the start, he has managed to stay on top of the standings.
Wednesday, he overcame a 12th-place start to finish third in Salt Lake City 4.
Defending champion Webb raced to the lead in the first lap and led all 26 laps to win and pull into second place in the series standings, behind Tomac. Osborne was second.
“The start was unacceptable,” Tomac told RacerXonline. “Yeah, I can start looking long-term, but I was third guy in line going into the first turn, and I was buried. I was able to get to third, but I can’t be having those starts.”
Earlier Sunday, Tomac posted the fastest qualifying lap, at 43.557 seconds. Benny Bloss was second, at 43.704 seconds, and Jason Anderson, Dean Wilson and Ken Roczen rounded out the top 5.
Roczen won the second heat, beating Tomac by 1.3 seconds. Tomac started third and passed Stewart for second place in the seventh of 10 laps. Anderson and Webb were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Bloss won the first heat, beating Dean Wilson by 1.15 seconds after passing Martin Davalos for the lead in the eighth lap. Osborne was third, followed by Chad Reed and Davalos.