9 seconds isn't exactly domination, although the manner it was done was very convincing. I believe all 9 seconds of that gap to second came during the last K.
The top boys are close enough that it could reshuffle a bit if it were a 4 or 5 race series with a race in each region. Maybe the WA kids had a home field advantage, maybe not, but if I had to choose between racing for a championship 150 miles from home or 2500 miles away from home I'd opt for the 150 mile trip.
As for Tanner Anderson being the favorite now, it doesn't always work out like that. De La Rosa was the top returner, but wasn't any faster this season compared to last. I heard he fell in the first K and still fought his way back, very impressive.
I'd bet on whoever the youngest guy was among the top 10-15 returners to win.