With Rookie of the Year honors under his belt, Plessinger continued to progress throughout the 2016 season. He proved he has the talent to succeed both indoors and out by capturing his first Monster Energy Supercross win at, where else but his home race in Indianapolis. While he was kept off the top step of the podium outdoors, he made strides in his consistency and was poised to become a persistent threat for victory in 2017.
The 2017 season carried some hopes that Plessinger would be a title contender, and he largely stepped up to the plate in both supercross and motocross. He earned six podium finishes, highlighted by one win, in the 250SX West Region, and then endured through some heartbreak that summer to earn one win and three podium results. With three full seasons under his belt, the 2018 season became make or break for Plessinger’s untapped potential.
Despite the occasional bumps in the road on the racetrack, the one thing that has always remained consistent for Plessinger throughout his career has been his attitude. He’s one of the most mild-mannered, good-natured riders the sport has ever seen. A fun-loving kid who simply loves riding a dirt bike and doesn’t get caught up in the drama or stress of racing for championships. Rarely is there a moment where you don’t see a smile on Plessinger’s face, and it’s this mental approach that ultimately led him to the breakthrough season he’s enjoyed in 2018.
As one of the most experienced riders in all of the 250 Class, there were no more excuses for Plessinger when the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season rolled around. Starts had traditionally been one his biggest hang-ups, but a concerted effort in the offseason enhanced his technique out of the gate and helped put him in a position to challenge for wins more often than not. In this era of the sport, starts are arguably more important than they’ve ever been before, and Plessinger transformed into a much better starter, which in turn made him a much better finisher.
For the first time in his career, Plessinger captured multiple wins in the 250SX West Region, taking the checkered flag four times en route to his first professional title. He finished inside the top 10 in every race for the first time ever and amassed an unparalleled level of consistency that helped him control the championship for the majority of the season. Plessinger had developed into a mature racer that reduced the mistakes and kept the big picture in mind, particularly on his bad nights.
As the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship loomed in May, many wondered if Plessinger would be able to carry the momentum from supercross into the grueling outdoor season where the field was twice and big, and the level talent was twice as deep. With the likes of former champions like Zach Osborne and Jeremy Martin standing in his way, it was going to be a season-long battle of willpower for Plessinger if he had any hope of doing the coveted championship double.
It didn’t take long for Plessinger to throw is name into the championship mix. At the second round at Glen Helen he enjoyed his most impressive National performance to date, posting the first 1-1 effort of his career. He did it again just two rounds later, and then a couple more times just past the halfway point of the season. After eight rounds Plessinger had already amassed a career-high four wins, and most importantly, made the most out of the races where he wasn’t at his best. Soon enough, he was the only rider in the 250 Class to earn a top-10 finish in every moto. That consistency, combined with the best starting average in the class and injuries to both Osborne and Martin, ultimately gave Plessinger a commanding lead in the championship standings.