ST. LOUIS (April 9, 2011) –
It had been over two months and nine races since James Stewart tasted victory and a lot has gone on in his life since that time. Stewart said all he wanted to do was come out and win a race to try to find some stability and to give his team, family and friends something to cheer about. He finally broke through tonight in St. Louis, round 14 of the 17-race Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM Championship, in front of 59,518 fans in the Edwards Jones Dome.
On the podium Stewart could hold his emotions no longer. He welled up with tears halfway through his podium interview and couldn’t continue. The fans gave him a warm and extended applause as if to say they were still with him in spite of his off-track troubles. While Stewart was the feel-good story of the night, Justin Barcia just might be the most satisfied rider leaving St. Louis. Barcia won tonight on his GEICO Honda. That combined with Dean Wilson’s fourth-place ride means that Barcia has nearly an insurmountable lead in the championship with only the Las Vegas combined East/West race remaining. Stewart went right to work, dispatched early leader Hart & Huntington/Dodge Motorsports’ Ivan Tedesco on the second lap, and pulled away to a three-second victory over Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey. Ryan Villopoto finished third on the Monster Energy Kawasaki and holds a five-point lead over Dungey with three rounds remaining.
“As far as a single race I consider this the top win of my career,” said Stewart, who is fourth in the standings. “I felt like I let my team, my fans, everybody down with the things that have been going on. It’s been the toughest time in my life. Getting this win is so great. You go so long without a win like I have and you start to question yourself. I could be fast in practice and lead races, but just couldn’t get it done. Tonight was an emotional win and I think this can help turn things around.”
Villopoto left St. Louis, at least partially erasing the memories of last year’s race here. “I’ll take a third place finish; it is much better than last year,” said Villopoto, who suffered a season-ending injury last year in St. Louis. “I am looking forward to going to my hometown race next weekend in Seattle.” Barcia started the Supercross Lites class main event by picking up the Nuclear Cowboyz holeshot with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett and DNA/Shred Stick/Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes following in second and third, respectively. Sipes quickly moved into second place on the opening lap, passing Baggett. Barcia and Sipes traded positions on laps two and three before Barcia made the final pass and rode 12 perfect laps en route to the win. Sipes held on for second and Baggett finished third. “Tonight was crazy,” said Barcia. “I know that this championship is coming down to the wire, and I look forward to the final race in Las Vegas. It wasn’t easy out there tonight. (Ryan) Sipes passed me out there, but I stayed focused and re-passed him.”
CBS Sports will broadcast the Supercross class at Noon EST tomorrow and SPEED will broadcast the Supercross Lites class at 6:00 p.m. EST. The series moves to Seattle’s Qwest Field next Saturday, April 16.
Supercross Class Results: St. Louis1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki3. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki 4. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda5. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda7. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha8. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki9. Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Yamaha10. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM Supercross Class Season Standings1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 2752. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki – 2703. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda – 2674. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 2595. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 2556. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM – 1857. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 1658. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha – 1439. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C, Yamaha – 14110. Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki – 114 Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Results: St. Louis1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda2. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., Yamaha3. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki4. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki5. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda6. Gannon Audette, Cairo, Ga. Yamaha7. Hunter Hewitt, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki8. Lance Vincent, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki9. Les Smith, York, S.C., Honda10. Tyler Futrell, Clinton, N.C., Honda Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Season Standings1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda – 1852. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki – 1653. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., Yamaha – 1414. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki – 134 5. Blake Wharton, Pilot Point, Texas, Honda – 1256. Matt Lemoine, Collinsville, Texas, Kawasaki – 1057. P.J. Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM – 80 8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki – 739. Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., Honda – 6910. Hunter Hewitt, Pilot Point, Texas, Suzuki – 67