The following is from AMA Pro Racing…
Kawasaki’s James Stewart is on a two-race winning streak coming into this weekend’s Houston Supercross. On Saturday, April 1, Stewart hopes to defend last weekend’s victory in Reliant Stadium and take his third consecutive victory in the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series. It could mark Stewart’s first three-race winning streak in AMA Supercross and, more importantly, put him closer to series leader Ricky Carmichael and second-ranked Chad Reed in the series standings.
Stewart’s victory at Ford Field in Detroit last Saturday put him just 10 points behind Reed and 20 points back to defending champ Carmichael. With four races remaining the math is simple for Stewart he needs to gain an average of five points per race on Carmichael to win the AMA Supercross title. That’s a tall order to say the least, but Stewart’s approach is to try to win every week and hope that Carmichael gives him some sort of opening.
“I’m running my own races now and having fun winning,” said Stewart, who could match Carmichael’s six wins on the season this weekend. “I just want to keep winning races, that’s my goal right now and I’m not thinking that much about the points. If I can keep this streak alive then maybe at some point I’ll have a shot.”
While Carmichael could be excused for simply making sure he finishes somewhere on the podium in the closing four rounds, riding to win is the only mindset of the Suzuki ace. He vented some of his frustration of finishing a distant second in Detroit this past weekend.
“I felt like I had a shot at running with James in Detroit,” Carmichael said. “A bad start put me in a world of hurt and then I had a tough time with lappers. It’s too bad because I had the speed and I know fans want to see some good racing. I want to get up there and try to win a few more before the season’s over.”
Yamaha’s Reed is still very much in the championship picture in spite of riding while recovering from a separated shoulder. He finished third last week and lost a couple more points to Carmichael, but still holds hope that he can win back the title he earned in 2004.
“I’ve accepted that I’m going to have to ride the rest of the supercross season with this injury,” Reed said. “Hopefully the two-week break after Houston will give me the chance to get the shoulder in much better shape so I can really go full out in the last three rounds. I’m going to fight to the end.”
While the ‘Big Three’ of Carmichael, Reed and Stewart are battling over the championship, a good race is developing among the next group of riders in the standings. Ivan Tedesco, Nick Wey and Michael Byrne are within 13 points of one another in the battle for fourth through sixth in the championship. It will be interesting to see how that battle plays out in Houston and the rest of the series.
Houston also marks the final round of the AMA Supercross Lites East Region Series. Honda’s Davi Millsaps needs to finish only 17th or better to wrap up his first professional title. Sobe Samsung Mobile Honda’s Josh Grant is the only other rider with a chance to win the title. Grant is riding a two-race winning streak coming into Houston.
Tickets for the Houston Supercross are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, all participating Yamaha Dealers, at the Reliant Stadium Box Office, or charge by phone at 713-629-3700. A special Family Section is also available for non-alcoholic family fun. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request the Family Section for an alcohol-free atmosphere. Gates open at 12:30 and fans are invited to come early for the Pit Party where they have a chance to meet and get autographs from their favorite riders.
The Houston round will receive next-day coverage on SPEED, on Sunday, April 2 at 6:00 pm EST.