James Stewart gets his first win of the season at Atlanta. Photography By: Shan Moore
James Stewart finally got on the winning track, grabbing his first victory of the season and the first since Daytona last year at Atlanta's Georgia Dome with a flag-to-flag win in from of nearly 70,000 fans.
After struggling with injury and a mechanical problem up to this point, Stewart finally put it all together, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider turning the fastest time in qualifying and then winning his heat race before beating defending champ Ryan Villopoto in the main to become the fifth different winner in eight races this season.
The Atlanta race was one that the fans have been hoping for all season, as Stewart and Villopoto finally got out in front together, running 1-2 for the entire 20 laps of the main event. At first Villopoto looked like he might challenge Stewart for first place, but each time the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider would close in on the Suzuki rider, Stewart would pick up the pace and widen the gap.
In the end, Stewart took the checker flag with almost a second and a half to spare over Villopoto.
"I mean, what can I say, we won tonight," said Stewart. "It means a lot; this whole season has been going crazy and to get a victory and to get a start, it was almost a perfect day. I was fastest in practice, fastest in the heat race; I got the holeshot in the main event and led every lap. I'm not going to lie, I was a little nervous because I haven't been out there [in the lead] in a while."
Finishing third with another consistent performance was Rockstar Energy Racing's Davi Millsaps, who started the race midpack, before moving into third place on lap two. Millsaps spent most of the race holding off Justin Barcia, who settled for fourth ahead of his Muscle Milk Honda teammate Trey Canard.
Stewart has now gone nine seasons with a win, tying Jeremy McGrath and Chad Reed in this exclusive category. Villopoto moved into second place in season standings, and Millsaps has a 22-point lead in the championship.
Wil Hahn gets his first! Photography By: Shan Moore
In the 250 Eastern Regional 250 Supercross class, GEICO Honda's Wil Hahn claimed his first career win, also going flag-to-flag after grabbing the holeshot to start the 15-lapper.
With the win, Hahn moved into second place overall behind Wilson in the series standings.
"I put in a lot of hard work, and it paid off here tonight," said Hahn. "I stayed positive out there and rode a smart race. It's an amazing feeling to get my first win here at the Georgia Dome in front of so many fans. This has been a long time coming."
Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson was a close second and pushed Hahn for the duration of the race, however, Hahn never gave Wilson a chance to get close enough to make a pass.
Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin passed Rockstar Energy Racing's Blake Wharton on Lap two to take over third, and held on to the finish ahead of Wharton for third.
1. James Stewart (Suz)
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
3. Davi Millsaps (Suz)
4. Justin Barcia (Hon)
5. Trey Canard (Hon)
6. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
7. Eli Tomac (Hon)
8. Chad Reed (Hon)
9. Jake Weimer (Kaw)
10. Mike Alessi (Suz)
Eastern Regional 250SX Class
1. Wil Hahn, Decatur (Hon)
2. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
3. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
4. Blake Wharton (Suz)
5. Jeremy Martin (Yam)
6. Justin Hill (Kaw)
7. Gavin Faith (Hon)
8. Kyle Peters (Hon)
9. Vince Friese (Hon)
10. Zach Bell (Hon)