Practice went off today at the Steel City National without any problems, and there were a few new faces out on the track. Most notably was Jeremy McGrath. The multi-time supercross champion is returning to action for some fun and to gear up for the select supercross races that he is set to compete in next year. McGrath looked fast out on the track, but just didn't quite lay down times that were very close to those of Ricky Carmichael or Chad Reed.
As always James Stewart is flat out flying on his Kawasaki KX125. He had the second fastest lap time behind Carmichael. Stewart impressed everyone, once again, when he was the first rider to launch over an enormous uphill triple that was easily 100 feet in length. As always local boy Broc Hepler was right up there with his lap times. He is currently sitting in second in the 125 National Championship and his fastest lap today was only a second off of Stewart's. Right behind Hepler was Reed who posted a time that was two seconds slower than Carmichael's fastest. As for Kevin Windham, he posted the fifth fastest time just behind Reed, who was fourth fastest, by one second.
Mike Alessi is also at Steel City and is looking to improve upon his poor showing at Milleville a few weeks earlier. Alessi didn't ride in the same practice as Carmichael and the other front runners but he looked fast whenever he went out on the track. In his qualifier he pulled a gigantic holeshot and ran away from everyone to take the win.
The race is shaping up to be great. Tomorrow Carmichael could clinch his title after the first moto. Basically, all he has to do is finish the moto and the championship is his. And with the added bonus of getting to see McGrath return to action and Alessi race his second national, tomorrow will be one no one will want to miss.