The new AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, heads to The Great State of Texas this weekend with two nights of action from Cedar Park, located minutes outside of Austin, and its second visit to the Cedar Park Center. After capturing his fifth overall victory of the season last weekend in Tulsa, Okla., Babbitt’s Monster Energy/ASMOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers will lead the field into action, carrying a 38-point lead into Friday and Saturday night.
Once again, the two Main Event format proved to play a major role in the outcome of last Saturday’s overall results. After winning his 10th Main Event of the season, Bowers was forced to overcome an eight-rider inversion heading into the second Main Event. The points leader chose an inside starting position on the second row, and Bowers emerged with a podium spot out of the first corner. After making quick work to move into second, Bowers set his sights on Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade. The duo opened a lead on the field with McDade holding off Bowers to claim his third Main Event win of the season. However, by virtue of finishing first and second, Bowers earned the overall. Bowers added to his lead in the points by claiming his second Head-to-Head Bracket Racing showdown of the season and the championship point that comes with it.
Several of AMSOIL Arenacross’ veteran riders had promising nights in Tulsa as well, most notably Oklahoma native Cory Green. The rider from nearby Nowata was a crowd favorite last weekend and in his debut performance of the season, he nearly landed on the overall podium after posting a pair of fourth-place finishes. AMSOIL Arenacross fans across the country hope to see Green back out on the track in 2013, battling alongside the championship’s biggest names.
As the lone representative of Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM in Tulsa, Kelly Smith began his night with a promising start by finishing second to Bowers in the opening Main Event. However, following the eight-rider inversion, Smith battled mid-pack throughout the second Main Event, finishing ninth. Nevertheless, Smith carried the Team Faith flag high with a solid sixth-place effort overall. As the inaugural winner inside the Cedar Park Center one year ago, Smith is looking forward to a return to the Lone Star State.
Missing from the action inside the BOK Center was Smith’s Team Faith teammate Jeff Gibson, who stayed in his native Ohio to watch the birth of his first child. Despite not being in action, Gibson still maintained his solid position inside the top five in the championship, dropping just one spot to fifth. The former AMSOIL Arenacross Champion will be back on track this weekend in Cedar Park, surely racing with a little more motivation and pride as a new father.
With the road to the inaugural Race to the Championship only two rounds and four nights away, only eight Main Events remain for riders to break into the top 10 in the Arenacross Class standings. Bowers, McDade, and Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Zach Ames have established themselves as the front-runners at this point in the season, with each having at least one overall win to their credit through the first four rounds.
The battle for the remaining positions has the potential for some shakeup, with a total of 57 points separating Smith, in third, and Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Steven Mages, in 13th place. With a slew of experienced riders included, like Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM teammates Willy Browning and Nathan Skaggs, along with Advocare Suzuki’s Daniel Blair and KMS KTM’s Dave Ginolfi – all of whom know what it takes to win – this battle leading into the Race to the Championship is sure to heat up over the coming weeks.
The opening round of the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class signified a career-best night for Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki rookie Tyler Villopoto, who captured his first career win in Tulsa. Later that evening, Villopoto posted fifth- and third-place finishes in the Arenacross Class to claim his first career overall podium result. It proved to be a memorable night for the entire Villopoto family as older brother Ryan Villopoto claimed victory at the Monster Energy Supercross stop in Oakland, Calif. Villopoto carries a one-point lead in the championship standings heading into Cedar Park.
Last season at the AMSOIL Arenacross debut from the Cedar Park Center, two nights of action produced a pair of different winners with Smith and Bowers coming away with victories. Veteran Team Faith rider Kevin Johnson and up-and-comer Lance Vincent posted wins in the Arenacross Lites Class.
Two nights of action inside the Cedar Park Center kick off on Friday, February 1, and Saturday, February 2, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Broadcast coverage of Saturday night’s competition can be seen via tape delay exclusively on SPEED on Sunday, February 3, beginning at 1 p.m. ET.