Stewart leads the AMA standings by 29 points over L&M Yamaha’s Chad Reed and last week in Orlando he edged five-time champ Ricky Carmichael in an exciting race, which was Carmichael’s final AMA Supercross appearance. Coming into Indy Stewart has 19-career AMA Supercross wins, tying him with Damon Bradshaw for seventh on the all-time wins list, but for all of his impressive accomplishments, the one thing Stewart has never done is win in Indianapolis. The RCA Dome is the only stadium in the 16-race series where Stewart has not earned a victory.
Last week’s victory in Orlando showed that Stewart is maturing as a rider. He rode patiently in third and took his time to methodically work his way to the front. In the past he would more likely try to close the gap too quickly, which often resulted in mistakes.
“I’m trying to race for consistency and I think I’ve become a better racer,” Stewart said after winning this past Saturday. “I was third and I sat back and watched the lines they were taking and how things were working out.”
Stewart had high praise for Carmichael, with whom he battled last week for most of the race. Carmichael is leaving supercross to pursue a NASCAR developmental ride. Stewart even joked when asked if he could finally get a victory in Indianapolis. “Yeah, I don’t have to race Ricky anymore, so it should be all good.”
While Stewart can feel secure with a 29-point lead (a race win is worth 25 points), coming into Indianapolis his rival, and second ranked Chad Reed is trying to figure out a way to close the gap with just five rounds remaining.
“I was more disappointed with this race than I have been all season,” Reed said after finishing third in Orlando. “I got a great start and felt like I had a good pace going out there, but I just kept making little mistakes that were costly.”
Reed, like Stewart, has also never won the main event in Indy, although he did win an AMA Supercross Lites race (then called 125 class) in the RCA Dome in 2002.
Ryan Morais, of the Boost Mobile Yamaha team, holds a six-point lead over Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Darcy Lange in the AMA Supercross Lites East Series with three rounds to go. There have been three different winners in the four races leading up to Indianapolis and the series has featured wild swings in the standings. So far Morais has been steady, with two runner-up finishes to hold the lead.
“I think I gained a few points with a second in Orlando,” Morais said. “I’m just trying to be consistent, avoid crashes and get top-five finishes every week. I’d like to get a win, but right now the championship is what I’m focused on.”
Last week in Orlando Branden Jesseman joined Ryan Dungey and Ben Townley as winners in the Lites East. Indianapolis could easily produce a fourth winner.
The Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series round from Indianapolis will air on CBS, Sunday, March 25, at noon eastern.
Tickets for the Indy Supercross at the RCA Dome are available at the RCA Dome, all Ticketmaster outlets and participating Yamaha dealers or charge by phone at 317-239-5151. Doors open at 12:30 pm for practice. 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.