INDIANAPOLIS -- Blake Wharton raced his Rockstar Energy Racing/Yoshimura Suzuki to his first victory of the season in the Lites East final at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was a crazy race that saw Blake Baggett lead briefly and then German Ken Roczen building a solid lead on the field while series leader Justin Barcia was mired in traffic. Roczen saw his lead immediately evaporate when the race was stopped with a red flag after Kyle Cunningham stacked it up in a bad spot.
That was followed by a - highly unusual for Supercross - single-file staggered restart with Ken Roczen now battling Wharton for the lead. On lap seven he got out of control over a jump, lost the handle on his Red Bull KTM, which promptly ghost rode itself into oblivion. Roczen got back on the damaged machine and limped home to 16th.
Through it all Wharton persevered. After Roczen's crash it was clear sailing for Wharton to the checkered flag. It marked only his second-career Supercross Lites victory. He first came at St. Louis in 2009.
"I am very thankful to everyone that got me here," said Wharton. "It was a strange start after the red flag, but it was great for me. I didn't look up until I saw the white flag, and once I saw it, I knew I had to ride smart for one more lap."
Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Darryn Durham rode a clean race and came home second, 3.9 seconds back. It marked his third podium of the year and equaled his season best result (he was also runner up in Dallas). Wharton and Durham both made up a few points on Barcia, but are still 22 and 23 point back respectively.
And what of series leader and previously unbeaten Barcia? The Geico Honda rider got a rare bad start and then slowly worked his way through traffic. Riders reported the track was as slick as Lucas Oil, and Barcia clearly decided to not take any big risks.
"I am lucky to finish where I did tonight," said Barcia. "It was so slick out there tonight and tough to get through the corners. It just wasn't our night tonight, but we will be back."
The series heads north of the border to Toronto's beautiful Rogers Centre.
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Results: Indianapolis
1. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki
2. Darryn Durham, Butler, Pa., Kawasaki
3. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki
5. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda
6. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda
7. Matthew Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Kawasaki
8. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ken., Kawasaki
9. Les Smith, York, SC., KTM
10. Shawn Rife, Mechanicsburg, Ohio., Honda
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda - 120
2. Darryn Dunham, Butler, Pa., Kawasaki - 98
3. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki - 97
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki - 80
5. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Ga., KTM - 80
6. Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki - 72
7. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda - 61
8. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha - 439.
9. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., KTM - 42
10. PJ Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM - 38