Stage Set for AMA Supercross Title ShowdownWednesday, May 3, 2006 | 12:36 PM
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Carmichael, Reed and Stewart all within reach
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 3, 2006) -- At the beginning of this year’s Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series just about everybody figured that the championship would be decided by the “Big Three” of Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed and James Stewart. It was a dream that the title would come down to the season finale, but with the relentlessly grueling schedule of the series it’s rare that a championship battle plays out to a final race showdown. This year it has done just that and on Saturday night, May 6, Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium will play host to one of the most exciting final races in the 30-plus year history of AMA Supercross, the world’s premier supercross series.
Heightening the drama is the fact that the race will be telecast live to a national television audience on SPEED.
Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael and Chad Reed of Team Yamaha are tied going into the final race. Not since 1985 when Broc Glover and Jeff Ward came to the final round tied in points has the series been this close.
If that isn’t enough, the hottest rider in the series, Kawasaki’s James Stewart has worked his way back into the championship picture with four wins in the last five rounds to pull within five points of the series leaders.
In addition to the AMA Supercross Series championship being decided in Las Vegas, the night will also see the best riders from the East and West come together for the first time to settle the question of who is the best AMA Supercross Lites rider in the annual Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Lites Shootout.
The season has been a rollercoaster ride for the Big Three. Carmichael, Reed and Stewart have all led the series at one point and each has suffered wild swings in the standings due to crashes and or mechanical problems with their bikes.
Carmichael built up a lead in the series midseason, but has gone winless in the last five rounds. A crash at Texas Stadium last month resulted in a sixth-place finish, allowing Reed and Stewart to close in on the defending champ. Carmichael said he is proud of his season no matter what happens in Las Vegas.
“Win or not in Las Vegas all of us should be proud of the season we’ve had,” Carmichael said of himself and his two rivals. “I’m happy to be a part of one of, if not the best, championship battle in Supercross. All I can do is go out and do my best in Las Vegas. Lately my best hasn’t been good enough, but I’m going to try to find a little extra next weekend in order to win this championship.”
Reed’s story this year has been one of perseverance. He separated his shoulder in March, but toughed it out and rode through the pain and now finds himself tied coming into the finale.
“I never gave up,” said Reed, the 2004 AMA Supercross champion. “I fought through injury and now I have a chance in Las Vegas. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun. We all know what we have to do and it’s going to be live on TV. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Reed is the defending Las Vegas winner.
At mid-season Stewart looked to be out of the title chase, but he’s had one of the strongest second-half charges in the history of the series. His victory this past Saturday on a muddy Qwest Field in Seattle made Stewart the winningest rider in the series this season with seven victories. The win also moved him into a position to have a good opportunity to win the title.
Stewart won last week in spite of suffering a hard crash in practice.
“That’s what we do,” Stewart said. We’re racers and have to come back from tough obstacles. If I win in Las Vegas and the other guys slip up I’ve got a good chance. Even if I don’t win the title I’m going to go out and give it a good fight. I’ve got one goal in Las Vegas and that’s to win.”
The top riders from both Supercross Lites Series will meet in Las Vegas to go head to head in the Dave Coombs Sr. Memorial East/West Lites Shootout. Grant Langston is fresh off winning the West title last week in Seattle riding a Monster Energy Drink Pro Circuit Kawasaki. He is slated to face East champ Davi Millsaps, who rides for Honda. This will mark the 10th year of the East/West Shootout. East riders lead the series with five wins to four for the West. Millsaps is a former winner of the race.
Tickets for the Las Vegas Supercross are available at area Yamaha dealers, www.unlvtickets.com , at the Thomas and Mack Center Box Office, all UNLV outlets (including Galleria at Sunset, The Meadows Mall, the Boulevard Mall, all Station Casinos and Fiesta Properties), or charge by phone at 1-866-8-FINALS. 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 race is receiving a special three-and-a-half hour live show on SPEED.
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