Eli Tomac of Cortez started slow in Saturday’s Supercross at the Atlanta Motor Speedway but benefited from an early crash and completed a long march to the finish line for third place.
After the gate dropped, Aaron Plessinger grabbed the hole shot, with Ken Roczen, Dylan Ferrandis, Jason Anderson and Cooper Webb in tow. Anderson and Ferrandis got tied up and crashed in the first lap, elevating Tomac to sixth place.
Three laps after Roczen took the lead, Tomac passed Justin Barcia for fourth place in Lap 5 and began to stalk Plessinger for third.
Roczen stretched out a 12-second gap ahead of Webb in Lap 8, and the third and final 450cc main event in Atlanta became a race for the final two spots on the podium.
Tomac and Plessinger closed in on Webb in Lap 9, and the three raced about a second apart.
Tomac claimed third place after passing Plessinger in the 180-degree turn in Lap 11.
Webb went to the front in Lap 13 after catching Roczen, who gave up his big lead with a crash in the whoops in Lap 10.
As the white flag came out in Lap 14, Roczen would challenge Webb for the lead, but the result was unchanged.
Tomac finished third, for his eighth trip to the podium this season. Plessinger held on for fourth, and Barcia was fifth.
Tomac lined up for the first race in Atlanta on April 10 just 26 points behind runner-up Roczen. Opening his campaign with a win, Tomac closed to within 14 points of Roczen, but fell 22 points back after Roczen ran away with Atlanta 2 on April 13. Saturday, Tomac closed out the Atlanta campaign 24 points out of second place.
As Tomac heads to the final two races in Salt Lake City, he has a stronger hold on third place overall – a 35-point lead over Barcia, who started the Atlanta campaign 20 points back.
Qualifying roundsEarlier Saturday, Tomac fell out of the upper echelon of racers during practice laps and qualifying heats.
In timed practice runs, Tomac posted his fastest lap in 1 minute, 37.626 seconds, for sixth place. Anderson was fastest, at 1:35.848. Chase Sexton, Roczen, Malcolm Stewart and Dean Wilson filled out the top five.
In his qualifying heat, Tomac started and finished fourth. Sexton won Heat 1 and was followed by Stewart and Plessinger. Ferrandis was fifth.
Anderson won Heat 2 after finishing Lap 1 in second place. He passed series-leading Webb in the fourth of five laps.
What’s next: The AMA Monster Energy Supercross series goes to Salt Lake City and Rice-Eccles Stadium for the final two races of the season April 24 and May 1.