Ryan Dungey held off a late charge by Ryan Villopoto to claim his second win of the year in front of 70,000 fans tonight at round eight of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series in Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
On a track that was both slippery and tight, Dungey chased down holeshotter Cole Seely to take the lead on lap eight of the 20-lap main, and then did his best to keep a buffer over Villopoto, who was charging through the pack after getting off the line just inside the top-10.
With the laps winding down, Villopoto put his Monster Energy Kawasaki within striking distance of Dungey, but lost the front end while attempting to make a pass in a tight right-hander, allowing Dungey to pull away for a thrilling win.
Dungey's win tightened up a points race that just last week looked like it might turn into a Villopoto runaway, after the Kawasaki rider took his fourth win of the year in Dallas. However, only 10 points now separate the two riders heading into next week's race in St. Louis.
"It was a good win for us and it keeps us in the hunt," said Dungey. "We struggled with our setup a couple of weeks ago in San Diego, but we've been getting things worked out the last two weeks and tonight we put it all together."
Villopoto held on for the runner-up finish and held on to his lead in the series standings, as well.
"I didn't get the start that I wanted, and then I fell over trying to get by Millsaps, but I was able to move up towards the front," said Villopoto. "I put pressure on Ryan and tried to put a pass on him but I just couldn't get it done, but we'll take a second and move on to next week."
James Stewart, who was one of the fastest riders on the track, rounded out the podium, the JGR/Toyota/Yamaha rider coming from outside the top-10 to do so. Meanwhile, Stewart's teammate, Davi Millsaps, claimed his best finish of the year with a fourth.
Muscle Milk Honda's Justin Brayton turned in one of his best performances of the year with a fifth, edging out Seely, who was sixth while filling in on injured Trey Canard's Muscle Milk Honda.
Seventh went to Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer, while GEICO Powersports Honda's Kevin Windham celebrated his 200th Supercross start with an eighth.
Ninth went to Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe, with Motosport.com Kawasaki's Nick Wey rounding out the top 10.
With eight rounds in the books, Villopoto leads the standings with 180 points, followed by Dungey with 170, and Stewart at 136.