Toyota AMA Arenacross Series Notebook: Albany

AURORA, Ill., (Nov. 7, 2007) – Round two of the 2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series takes place at Albany’s (N.Y.) newly-named Times Union Center (formerly Pepsi Arena) for the first of two Upstate New York stops of the popular race series (the second being Rochester, N.Y., Nov. 30-31). Noteworthy is the fact this year’s Albany round will be a one night race, Saturday only.

Albany’s Times Union Arena has become a staple on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series tour. The home of the American Hockey League’s River Rats, Albany Conquest (Arena Football League) and Siena Saints MAAC basketball team, the Times Union Center enjoys playing host to a wide range of highly exciting athletic contests, highlighted by this year’s Toyota AMA Arenacross Series round.

Last year in Albany Kevin “KJ” Johnson won the Saturday main event. Johnson is a member of the Team Faith/Yamaha program and also jumps for the United States Air Force freestyle motocross demonstration team during intermission at select Toyota AMA Arenacross rounds. He hails from Albuquerque, N.M., and has a brother, Keith, that also races on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series.

“This is the first time we’ve only got one race going on for the weekend,” said Robbie Reynard. “I can tell you right now it’s going to be intense.”

Leading the points chase heading into Albany is 2005-’06 Toyota AMA Arenacross champion, Chad Johnson. Johnson came out of the all-star racing line up at Des Moines with two podium finishes, a 2nd place on Friday – which he inherited when Josh Demuth cleaned out Danny Smith on the last turn of the main event – and a straight up win on Saturday.

Reynard hurt? Actually, he’s getting better. Reynard had an off-season ACL surgery and really isn’t back up to speed quite yet. However, he came out of Des Moines with more points than he had last year when he didn’t even qualify for the Friday night program.

The power of the Toyota Certified Used Car Holeshot was more than evident on Friday as every race in the AMA Arenacross Lites and  AMA Arenacross class – with the exception of Friday’s AX final (where Demuth cleaned out the holeshot winner Danny Smith on the final turn) – resulted in the holeshot winner going on to win his heat race or LCQ.

Last year’s Saturday night podiums at Albany:

AMA Arenacross Lites Class                 AMA Arenacross Class

1 – Robbie Smith, Honda                        1 – Kevin Johnson, Yamaha

2 – Jim Neese, Suzuki                           2 – Danny Smith, Honda

3 – Patrick Boyle, Honda                        3 – Jim Neese, Suzuki


2007-’08 AMA Arenacross Class Season Points Standings (after one round)

1. Chad Johnson, Honda, 47

2. Josh Demuth, Honda, 41

3. Danny Smith, Honda, 40

3. Kelly Smith, Kawasaki, 38

5. Brock Sellards, Kawasaki, 36


Other top teams gunning for the overall win at Wells Fargo include: Monster Energy/Babbitts/Kawasaki, Team Faith Yamaha, GPF/Babbitts/Kawasaki, Carolina Xpress/Suzuki, Team Triple Effect/Kawasaki and GPS Racing and Fiberwise/Yamaha.

Defending Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champ Danny Smith has been spending a ton of time with Bob “Hurricane” Hannah, taking to the Idaho back country on their mountain bikes. In fact, it wasn’t but a couple weeks ago that Smith was spinning pedals at the legendary Moab (Utah) slippery rock surface. “I trained a lot on mountain bikes, three to four times a week,” said Smith. “We got to Moab and it was pretty wild. Everybody was worried I was going to hurt myself before the start of the season. We had a blast, though.”

Good to see Josh Woods back in the pro pits. Woods had a gnarly get off this summer and suffered a head injury forcing him to spent a few days in the hospital. Just recently given the “OK” to ride again Woods was helping his dad, Ray Woods, with the Team GPF/Babbitt’s Online details. In fact, look for Woods during the AMA Supercross Series with the new Suzuki City/Rockstar team out of Mississippi. Woods plans on getting back to racing this summer on the Monster Energy/Canadian MX Nationals Series.

Some more Timed Union Center facts:

Frank Sinatra christened the building on Jan. 30th, 1990.
Since the opening more than seven million people have attended events here.
The second performer at the Times Union Center, after Sinatra? Bill Cosby!
Know as “Upstate New York’s Premier Sports and Entertainment Facility.”
Times Union Center average 165 events a year.
The arena used to be known as “Knickerbocker Arena.”
Renamed “Pepsi Arena” on Jan. 8, 1997.
Renamed “Times Union Center” in 2007.
Seating arrangements vary from 6,000 to 17,500.
It would take 228 Pepsi cans stacked end-to-end to reach the highest point of the ceiling.
8,000 gallons of water are used to create the ice surface for the Albany River Rats.
Local sportscaster Dan Murphy once took 26 hours to sit in every Times Union Center seat!

Tickets for Nov. 10th Toyota AMA Arenacross at Times Union Center are available through, at the Times Union Center Ticket Office, by calling 800-30-EVENT or online at and at Seymour’s Suzuki. Fees and handling may apply. Discount coupons are available at Paesan’s Pizza (order in or delivery) and Albany Honda. Show times are Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday (amateurs) at 12:00. Doors open Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday advance tickets are $25 for Gold Circle, $18 regular seats. $2 more day of show. Kids 2-12 are $10/$25.