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Chase Sexton (Kent Steele photo)

Nashville Bites Sexton, Brings An End To Title Hopes

Chase Sexton is a self-diagnosed late-season charger.

For whatever reason, the Illinois native always goes through a mid-season lull, which usually leaves him scrambling with five races to go in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross campaign.

“I love the last five races. I don’t know why I’ve always, even in the 250 (class) days, I feel like when it hits five to go is when I start to pour it on a little bit,” Sexton said.

Last year, that strategy played straight into his favor when his two chief title rivals bowed out of contention with serious injuries within the final three-race stretch.

Despite being what-felt-like an insurmountable number of points behind Eli Tomac and second-place Cooper Webb when the series arrived in Nashville, Tenn., for the third-to-last round of the season, Sexton’s decision to remain relentless paid off.

Webb ended up suffering a concussion during a heat race crash in Nashville, then the next weekend, Tomac ruptured his Achilles tendon, ending his campaign.

Sexton earned the 450SX championship crown for the first time.

This year’s trip to Tennessee’s Nissan Stadium began with a similar premise.

Sexton entered the weekend 15 points behind Cooper Webb and Jett Lawrence, who were tied for the red plate.

“Those two guys are hard to beat,” Sexton said ahead of the race. “Last weekend (in New Jersey) was a step in the right direction and I feel like it’s gotten me some momentum and I’m at a place where I feel like I’m comfortable.”

Being the defending winner in “Music City” also felt like an added bonus as he prepared to battle for some much-needed ground in the standings on Saturday night.

Unfortunately, Sexton’s attempts were derailed within the first 10 minutes of the main event when a rock hit the throttle body on his No. 1 Red Bull KTM, which then made the throttle stick wide open as he flew past the mechanic’s area and proceeded to crash into the bowl turn.

The reigning series champion was scored 22nd, earning no points on the night.

Leaving Nashville, Sexton dropped from third to fourth in the standings and is 40 points behind class leader Lawrence.

While he’s likely out of the title fight at this point, the upside is that the 24-year-old did not sustain any major injuries in the incident.

“Crashed out tonight. A stone cracked my throttle body and the throttle got stuck off of that single-single, which ended my night. Bummer, but nothing’s broken and we’ll bounce back in Philadelphia,” Sexton said.

The series will resume at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 27.