Stewart Completes The Sweep

Kit Palmer | October 14, 2006

Kawasaki’s James Stewart completed the sweep at the Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open in the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas tonight. Stewart won an exciting 25-lap main event, but he did not finish off the Toyota Trifecta and the $250,000 that would’ve come with it. He did, however, pocket a total $150,000 for a weekend’s work.

Stewart’s bid for the $250,000 ended early in the night when he finished fourth in the Superpole, and he was unable to get the $5000 Progressive Direct Holeshot in the main, but he did get through the first turn cleanly in fourth place, where he would begin his charge to the front. When Makita Suzuki’s Ivan Tedesco, who had taken the holeshot, fell on the second lap, Stewart found himself in third behind leader David Vuillemin and Ricky Carmichael, and when Carmichael tried to pass Vuillemin for the lead, Stewart swooped in and passed them both on the eighth lap.

From there, Stewart led Carmichael around the tight track, lap after lap, never gaining more than about two seconds on the Makita Suzuki team rider. Three laps from the end, however, things got real close when Stewart stalled his bike in a turn and Carmichael ran into him and fell over. Stewart managed to get going first and, despite the making the mistake of stalling his bike, ended up with a larger lead and was able to cruise the last couple of lap, finishing about five seconds ahead of Carmichael and clinching the overall 2006 U.S. Open Championship. Carmichael ended up second overall with a 2-2 over the weekend.

Third on the night went to a very inspired Vuillemin on his MDK/Xyence Honda. After leading the first several laps, Vuillemin held his ground in third and wasn’t too far behind Carmichael when the checkered flag came out. His 7-3 tally gave him fourth overall.

SoBe/Samsung Mobile/Honda’s Kevin Windham, who won tonight’s Superpole, ran fourth through out the race, but just out of Vuillemin’s reach. He did, however, beat out Vuillemin for the podium in the overall column, going 3-4 on the weekend.

Fifth overall went to Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry with a 5-6.

In the Lites class, SoBe/Samsung/Honda’s Josh Grant grabbed the overall win, and made it look easy. After dominating Friday night’s main, Grant came right back and did a repeat performance Saturday, once again, leading from start to finish.

Jake Weimer gave the SoBe/Samsung Mobile/Honda team even more of a reason to celebrate by finishing out the weekend on the podium in second overall. Weimer went 4-2, beating out Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Chris Gosselaar’s 2-8. Gosselaar was involved in a starting-straight pileup that claimed at least five riders.

Motoworld/Yamaha’s Justin Brayton went 3-7 for fourth overall, while BooKoo Honda’s Steve Boniface went 6-5 for fifth overall.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.