This weekend’s race is the final of the three Anaheim races. Popularly known as Anaheim III (or A3 for short), this race has tripped up riders in the past who have had the opportunity to come away with the sweep of the three rounds. In 2001, the first year Anaheim hosted three events; McGrath took the first two wins, before losing to the rapidly rising Carmichael in Anaheim III. Reed came into A3 in 2004 with a great opportunity to sweep, but crashed while battling for the lead with Kevin Windham.
Stewart, who was the first rider in 10 years to win the opening three rounds of the series, had his string broken last weekend in San Francisco when he crashed twice and saw rival Ricky Carmichael take his first victory of the year. In spite of his troubles this past Saturday, Stewart’s position in the standings didn’t suffer. He rallied to finish second, one spot ahead of L&M Yamaha’s Chad Reed with whom he’s battling to stay atop the standings.
A victory this weekend for Stewart could earn him a record that will forever remain in the books as the first to sweep Anaheim’s trio of AMA Supercross races. His three series wins and a second-place finish coming into Anaheim III gives Stewart a 15-point lead over Reed a quarter of the way through the 16-race season.
The speed Stewart has shown early in the season had some pundits already talking of a potential perfect season. Stewart said he wasn’t too disappointed to have that kind of pressure out of the way.
“I’ve been saying all along that my main goal is winning the championship,” he said in a press conference after the race in San Francisco on Saturday. “We’ve got the speed and the focus right now to do it. I feel like I’m getting stronger with each race. Even though I crashed I still achieved my goal of finishing in front of Chad and building my points lead. I’m looking forward to Anaheim III.”
Reed is hanging tough with Stewart in the series race and claims that he is nearly 100 percent healthy after suffering a broken shoulder just before the season started.
"I felt like I rode well in San Francisco and that’s encouraging for the rest of the season,” said the former champ. “I’ve come a long way in a short time and am excited to be up there battling for wins.”
Last week’s winner Carmichael is racing only select events this year and said his next race will be in Atlanta on Feb. 24.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto rides into Anaheim this weekend having built a 26-point lead in the AMA Supercross Lites West Series over Boost Mobile Yamaha rider Jason Lawrence. Villopoto will be going for his fourth win in five starts this weekend. The Lites West leader is happy with his racing strategy so far this season.
“It’s a lot easier to ride out front than to follow people as rutted as some of these tracks get,” Villopoto explained. “I’m trying not to take big risks during the races and I’m working hard trying to improve each week.”
Josh Grant and Jake Weimer, both riding for Sobe/No Fear/Samsung Honda, scored podium finishes in San Francisco last week. Grant is making a strong comeback after puncturing a lung in the first Anaheim race less than a month ago. Weimer scored his first podium last week and moved to third in the Supercross Lites West standings.
The Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series round from Anaheim will air on SPEED, Saturday, Feb. 10 at 6:00 pm Eastern. Times are tentative and subject to change. Check local listings.
Anaheim III is presented by Hahm Motorsports and Big-O Tires. Gates will open at 12:30 pm for fans to take part in the Anaheim III Pit Party. Tickets are available at the Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, all participating Yamaha dealers or you can charge by phone at 213-480-3232 or 714-740-2000. A special Family Section is also available for non-alcoholic family fun. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request Family Section for an alcohol-free family atmosphere.