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Eli Tomac tied James Stewart for 50 450SX class wins with his victory in Seattle. (Star Racing Yamaha photo)

Tomac Talk: Carmichael, McGrath & Dungey Weigh In

On March 25, Eli Tomac tied James Stewart for second place on the all-time 450SX winners list.

The two Supercross racers have each collected 50 wins in the premier class. The only difference between them is that Tomac is still racing, while Stewart has been retired since 2019. The 30-year-old finessed his No. 1 Star Racing Yamaha machine to the finish line at Lumen Field in Seattle, Wash., last Saturday night, earning his sixth victory of the season.

With six races to go, there is still ample opportunity for Tomac to secure sole possession of second place. But even if his latest triumph is the ceiling for the two-time Supercross champion, it is still, undoubtedly, an impressive place to be.

Several former stars of the sport — including Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath and Ryan Dungey — agree.

For Carmichael, it’s the way in which Tomac has fixed the Achilles heels of his early years that stands out as most remarkable.

Ricky Carmichael makes a lap on his No. 4 machine in 2006. (Jeff Kardas/Getty Images photo)

“He’s just a different guy,” Carmichael said. “He really has turned everything around, at a later time in his age and his career, which is hard to do.”

Though Tomac has been recognized for his undeniable speed since entering the professional ranks in 2010, it was often minor mistakes and mess-ups that prevented him from reaching his full potential. But over the last three years, things have come together for Tomac.

He secured his first 450SX Supercross championship in 2020 as a rider for Monster Energy Kawasaki, then finished third in points with the team in 2021. Last year, Tomac made a bold move and transitioned to the Star Racing Yamaha roster after spending six years with Kawasaki.

The risk proved rewarding, as Tomac swept both the Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross championships, stacking up 12 wins across the two series. This season, he’s remained on a hot streak.

For McGrath, it’s the fact that Tomac is breaking records at an age that most consider to be “old” in this type of physically-demanding sport. The 30-year-old is among the elder segment of riders in the 450SX class and was also the oldest rider in history to win a Supercross championship at age 29. He is tied with Cooper Webb atop the standings and could win a third title this year.

“Him having the training program and the fitness program that he has in Colorado, I think makes him a level above everyone. At least, I feel like that from a fitness level,” McGrath commented. “But there just becomes a point where you don’t want to work that hard.”

The seven-time Supercross champion knows a thing or two about finding success in the sport, as well as what comes after. McGrath retired in 2002, closing his legendary career at age 31.

Ryan Dungey’s last visit to the Pro Motocross series was in 2016, before he retired in 2017. (Spencer Owens/Align Media photo)

He holds the record for all-time 450SX wins with 72 victories.

But for Dungey — who sits seventh on the all-time wins list with 34 — his praise for Tomac comes down to a more personal level.

“Now being a dad and watching him, I mean, he’s in his 30’s, he’s got two kids and he’s still performing at the highest level. You could say he’s the top guy right now,” Dungey said.

Along with his double-digit win record, the Minnesota native also collected four Supercross championships during his career. Dungey’s daughter, Harper, and son, Banks, were born after his retirement in 2017.

From one dad to another, Dungey commends Tomac for balancing his roles as father, husband and professional athlete.

“He’s winning races and championships and he’s doing it while raising two kids,” Dungey said. “There’s a lot happening there.”

Tomac welcomed his daughter Lev into the world during his championship season in 2020, then celebrated the birth of his son Noah with his wife, Jessica, the following year.

He has won 18 Supercross races since becoming a dad.