The following preview is from Feld Motorsports...
This Saturday night the gate will drop for the 46th Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, race in Houston as points leader Ryan Villopoto leads the world's top racers into Houston's Reliant Stadium this Saturday night for the 13th stop of the 2012 season. In the Supercross Lites Class, GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia, of Ochlocknee, has established himself man to beat with a championship-leading five wins on the season.
At last weekend's Monster Energy Supercross race at Toronto's Rodgers Centre, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Villopoto, who is the defending Supercross Class Champion, commanded the pace of the race in the early stages with pass on early leader and Team Muscle Milk/Honda's Justin Brayton, who won the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award.
"Out of the first turn, it was just me and Brayton right off the bat," said Villopoto. "I made some pretty big mistakes in the whoops. They were tough. We'll go to Houston, where I think there's a chance to wrap up the title. That's the plan."
For Brayton, Toronto marked the second consecutive race that he finished in the number-two position. Rounding out the podium in third place was GEICO Honda's Kevin Windham, who used a fifth-place start to earn his second podium finish of the season.
Villopoto, the winner of the 2010 Monster Energy Supercross race in Houston, now holds a 79-point lead over Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., in the Supercross Class.
Barcia won a record fourth Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot Award in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Main Event but was quickly passed by Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen, of Murrieta, Calif. Barcia regrouped and re-passed Roczen on Lap 3 and rode off to the victory.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Darryn Durham, of Butler, Pa., and Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki's Blake Wharton, of Pilot Point, Texas, engaged in a heated battled that resulted in Durham winning the third-place; however, after a subsequent pass, Wharton assumed third place.
"Right now I couldn't be (happier)," said Barcia. "I got my first win here two years ago. My GEICO Honda was hooking up great. This track was really tough tonight. You had to be really smart and really smooth. I made a great pass for the lead and kind of just rode my own race from there."
Barcia extended his lead in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class standings to 28 points over Wharton.
Last year in front of 45,859 fans, American Honda Racing's Trey Canard won the first Supercross Class race of his career. In the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class season opener, Justin Barcia of Ochlocknee, Ga., picked up the win.
Since 1974, Houston has been on the Supercross Class schedule. From 1974-2000, the Houston Astrodome served as host to the Houston stop until it was moved to Reliant Stadium in 2003. The first Supercross Class race in Houston was on March 15, 1974, where Jim Pomeroy earned the win. Eddie Warren became the first Supercross Lites Class winner in Houston on April 20, 1985. Jeremy McGrath, the all-time winningest supercross rider, shares the all-time win record in Houston along with Mark Barnett with five.
CBS will broadcast the Supercross class race at 12:00pm EST on April 1, 2012.