Once again, it’s an early race today in Arlington. Qualifying practice has just wrapped up, and opening ceremonies are set to get underway at 4:30 pm ET. Unfortunately, the race is getting aired with a 5 hour tape-delay, and won’t be shown until 10:00 pm ET tonight on FS1.
After having a wet start to the season in the open air baseball stadiums for our California rounds, we are in store for some dry, indoor racing now. The track in Arlington’s AT&T stadium is shaping up quite well. It has a nice, sandy/loamy surface, but a harder, drier clay underneath. This means that the track breaks down quite easily, which was noticeable already in practice with how many riders were struggling in the whoops. Chad Reed and Nick Schmidt had crashes in the whoops (both riders appear to be alright though), and many others with close calls.
Here are the results:
My Opinion: Musquin and Tomac look VERY fast on this track; these two guys were swapping fastest times in both sessions. Tomac ended up with the fastest overall qualifying time from the first session, but Musquin was fastest in the last session.
Personally, I’m picking Musquin for the win tonight. I think this type of track, with the rectangular football stadium floor layout and the east coast soil, really suits Marv. We already witnessed this in practice: as the whoops broke down, Marvin started jumping through them; he excels at this! Many riders were struggling by attempting to continue blitzing the whoops, but Marvin’s jumping skills really helps him here.
Ryan Dungey was struggling today in practice. He pulled into the mechanic’s area many times to make bike changes, and barely snuck in for a fast lap; he was outside the top 10 in the first qualifying session. However, Ryan always seems to gather himself together for the main, so I still expect a podium ride from him tonight.
In the 250s, Justin Hill continues to blossom! He continues to get faster, and at this point looks to be a heavy title favorite… he’s unstoppable!
But what about Plessinger? He’s trending in the opposite direction of Hill at this point, and has missed out on the podium for two weeks in a row. His 8th place qualifying effort was awful, and he wasn’t afraid to show his disappointment on the track; many head shakes and frustrated arm flails for Plessinger during practice.
Lastly, the track is great in Dallas! It will be super loamy for the heats, but will break down a lot by the end of the night. I’m expecting the track to bite a few people tonight, as it starts to get slick and rutted up.
Unfortunately for all of us, Fox Sports isn’t airing the race live tonight. What is this?!?! The sport is supposed to be getting more mainstream, but Fox Sports isn’t helping that with decisions like this. Unfortunately it also looks like next weekend’s race in Minneapolis won’t be live either. And what’s with the afternoon races?! I’m not liking any of this stuff.
Well, to all of you fans not in Arlington, enjoy watching the race tape-delayed tonight. Regardless of the decisions that Fox Sports make, we can still expect some great racing.
Cover photo from Racer X Online by Jeff Kardas