Supercross previews Phoenix round

After an electrifying start to the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, last weekend at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Phoenix’s Chase Field will host the tour’s second stop this Saturday. Defending AMA Supercross class champion James Stewart, who rides for San Manuel Yamaha, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer lead their respective divisions heading into Phoenix.

Media day is Thursday, January 14 from Noon-2:00 in the outfield club seating area at Chase Field, featuring Phoenix’s own Ryan Clark and Nate Adams as well as the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team, featuring Ryan Dungey and Austin Stroupe and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, featuring Weimer and Josh Hansen. Riders will be available for interviews and will ride the track for the media.

Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., opened the championship last weekend in Anaheim by earning the 37th win of his career after chasing rookie Dungey, who rides for Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki, for 16 laps before making a pass for the lead on lap 17. On the race’s final lap, Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., made a last ditch effort to re-pass Stewart but came up short.

Ryan Dungey Speaks…

"It was a fun ride, and I was able to put some good laps down," said Dungey. "I almost caught him at the end but ran out of time. It was a long off season for me, and coming into this first race, there was a lot of hype, and I am happy where I ended up tonight. I have some fine tuning to do next weekend before Phoenix. Stewart is the world champion, and I want to beat him, but I have to keep working."

At last year’s Anaheim 1 race, Stewart was forced to withdraw from the race and went into Phoenix in 19th place.

James Stewart Speaks…

"It is a lot better than where I finished last year," said Stewart. "I got a decent start and rode the first few laps at a good pace. Ryan rode a phenomenal race tonight. I was down a good amount and caught up and I saw the window of opportunity. Chad Reed struggled a bit tonight, but he is a two-time supercross champion, so I am not counting him out."

In a shocking turn of events, former two-time AMA Supercross class champion Chad Reed, who rides for Monster Energy Kawasaki, withdrew from the race after one lap when the spokes in his front wheel were shattered due to a collision with Austin Stroupe.

Chad Reed Speaks…

"Austin Stroupe just turned down really quick and kind of had the same idea," said Reed. "He was trying to pass the guy in front of him and I was trying to pass (Stroupe) and our lines came together and there is nothing you can do. He didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t do anything wrong. It was just the wrong place, wrong time."

GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham, of Centerville, Miss., finished an impressive third place at Anaheim 1. A 16-year veteran of the sport, Windham caught and passed Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto.

Kevin Windham Speaks…

"It is great to be on the box again," said Windham. "It’s a tough feat with all of these young guys coming in. Coming into this season, I knew I had to think outside of the box and make it work. It took me 16 season to be able to come into a season and feel comfortable at the start of the year. There is a lot of talent out there, and the field is packed. I am confident with where I am with my program and want to continue doing what I did to end up here."

In the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class main last weekend, Weimer won the $1,000 SPIKE Holeshot Award, leading his teammate Josh Hansen, of Elbert, Colo., through turn one to start the main event last weekend. By the end of the first lap, Hansen slid out after the finish line and dropped to seventh place. Hansen’s mistake allowed Rockstar Energy/Suzuki/Canidae’s Ryan Morais, of Murrieta, Calif., to move into second place.

After charging through the pack, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Trey Canard, of Shawnee, Okla., passed Morais to secure second place. The win for Weimer marked the fifth of his AMA Supercross Lites class career. Canard finished second and Morais finished third.

No stranger to winning at Chase Field, Stewart earned his third consecutive win in Phoenix when he captured his first Monster Energy Supercross win of the 2009 season in front of 46,566 fans. JGRMX/Yamaha/Toyota’s Josh Grant, of Riverside, Calif., opened the AMA Supercross class main event with the holeshot. Stewart and Reed trailed Grant through turn one, and by the end of lap one, Stewart moved into the lead. Reed made his move around Grant on lap three and secured second place.

Reed spent the next 17 laps pursuing Stewart but was unable to make the pass. The win marked Stewart’s third consecutive at Chase Field.

"I knew that Chad (Reed) would make it tough on me tonight," said Stewart last year atop the podium. "That is the type of racing that we love to do, and I am pumped because I picked up the win."

"I felt good tonight," said Reed last year. "I was chasing the #7 bike down and having fun but it wasn’t enough. I will take the championship week by week and stay on the podium."

In last year’s Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class, Dungey scored the first win of his season and moved into the championship points lead.

While leading on lap six, Weimer crashed and allowed Dungey to assume the lead and MDK/KTM’s Justin Brayton, of Murrieta, Calif., to move into second place. Dungey finished the race off by completing six solid laps en route to the win. Brayton finished second and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Morais finished third.

"After I saw Jake (Weimer ) crash, I knew there were plenty of laps left in the race, so I needed to be smart and consistent," said Dungey last year. "I’m happy to move into the points lead as we head back to Anaheim next weekend."

The first AMA Supercross race was held at this venue on January 23, 1999, with Jeremy McGrath winning on a Yamaha. Nathan Ramsey won the first AMA Supercross Lites race in Phoenix while riding for Kawasaki. Five time AMA Supercross class champion Ricky Carmichael holds the all-time win record in Phoenix with four. With a win this weekend, Stewart can tied Carmichael’s record in Phoenix.

Monster Energy Supercross from Phoenix’s Chase Field will air on SPEED Sunday, January 17 with AMA Supercross Lites class coverage at 5:00 p.m. EST and AMA Supercross coverage at 6:00 p.m. EST.

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