Team Race Report
Supercross veteran Kevin Windham thrilled a capacity crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium Saturday night by leading 11 laps of the main event before eventually taking third place. Supercross Lites rookie Justin Barcia had a thrilling debut on his own GEICO Powersports Honda, also finishing third in the Lites main.
Kevin Windham Speaks…
"I could hear the crowd all night and that made it special," said Windham, an obvious fan favorite. "It definitely pushes you when everyone is cheering and you look up and see the ‘Windham’ signs. I wish I could have gotten them the win."
After qualifying No. 1 in the second heat, Windham had the Hoosier faithful at full throat from the first lap of the main event when he set up early leader Davi Millsaps and made a slick pass to assume the lead. A back-and-forth battle with Millsaps consumed the next few circuits until Windham managed to pull away and enjoy some free time out front.
But point leader Ryan Villopoto, who barely qualified for the main in the Last Chance Qualifier after wrecking in his original heat, methodically tracked down Windham and after poking his nose out in front a few times, finally made the pass in Lap 11. Not long after, Ryan Dungey also managed to get past Windham and the three settled into their positions and finished the race without any other changes.
"Tonight was a different kind of podium finish," said Windham, who also took third place last week in Anaheim, Calif. "I could have won this race. It’s a good feeling and a position I want to be in time and again. It’s been awhile."
"I feel like I left a little on the table. There was a lot of racing going on right behind me and Villopoto made his pass at the right time. I kind of like it better when I’m the guy that goes in for the move to take the lead but, either way, we have a lot to build on after this performance and I’m excited about Atlanta."
No. 2 qualifier Barcia (bar-sha) rocketed from the gate in the Lites race, taking the $1,000 Spike Holeshot Award for leading the way to the first turn. He then settled into second place behind reigning champion Christophe Pourcel until Lap 3 when he had a slip. "Just a rookie mistake," he said. Fortunately, his bike didn’t stall and he was able to get back in line in fourth place.
Barcia held that spot for the next 11 laps until finally passing Ryan Sipes in the second-to-last turn to steal away a third-place finish, with the razor-close action sending the fans into a frenzy.
Justin Barsa Speaks…
"It all set up just right in front of me and I got a lucky line," Barcia said of the finish. "I’m glad I was able to stay with those guys all night so I could be in position to do that. I could see them all race and I could hear the crowd whenever I got close."
"I was super nervous all day but once you’re in the gate it all kind of goes away. I got a great start and we ended on the podium. How can I complain? You have to stay in the top of the points all season because it goes by quick and we’re right there."
Team members Trey Canard and Brett Metcalfe had mixed results. Metcalfe ran well throughout the day in his Lites East debut and finished fifth overall in the main event. But a strange landing in qualifying aggravated a pre-existing ankle injury that hampered him a bit in the race itself.
Brett Metcalfe Speaks…
"I can do better, for sure, but all things considered I have to be pleased with a fifth-place finish," Metcalfe said. "I hurt my left ankle in mid-December and put a pretty good hit on it today. I felt it when I planted it on turns. It’ll be okay. It will certainly be good enough to do better next week in Georgia."
Riding on a 450 for the first time in competition, Canard encountered problems with his bike and failed to finish the main event.
It was a rough day all around for Canard, the winner of two of the last three Lites West races, as he got tangled up in three separate incidents during qualifying, none of which were his fault. He was riding mid-pack in the main before dropping out.
The GEICO Powersports Honda has now placed a rider on the podium at six of seven Monster Energy Series events this year.