AURORA, Ill. (Feb. 28, 2008) – It’s “Go Time” in Denver, the penultimate round of the 2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series. Bad Boy/TUF/Honda’s Chad Johnson is looking to possibly clinch the series, but you can bet both Kelly Smith and Brock Sellards of Monster/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki are having no part of that!
A bit of a ‘now or never’ hyperbole for the Babbitt’s guys, but stranger things have occurred in Toyota AMA Arenacross Series racing. Put it this way: If Johnson were to DNF in Denver on Friday night and Kelly Smith could win, the 30-point lead that Johnson enjoys would be erased and only five points would separate the two with three main events remaining.
“The Toyota AMA Arenacross Series is far from over,” said Live Nation’s Robert Hansen. “There are still two full rounds with four main events for the AMA Arenacross class. Chad’s definitely got the advantage, but there’s certainly no quit in Kelly and Brock.”
Added Sellards: “With the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series season coming to an end with only two cities left, it feels too soon for it to be over. Consistency has been the key as Chad Johnson has been flawless ths far. Once again the championship appears to have slipped through my fingers and all that’s left is winning races. So I plan on ending strong and not looking back.”
Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ head referee, the AMA’s Harv Whipple, pointed out that Johnson would need a 51-point lead to clinch before leaving Denver. A highly-unlikely feat that should add even more drama to the Green Bay Toyota AMA Arenacross Series finals in Johnson’s home state of Wisconsin.
How about Teddy Maier (Team Ti Lube) locking down his third premier AMA Arenacross class win of the season this past weekend topping points leader Chad Johnson at Greensboro. Last year the Ft. Dodge, Iowa, native finished 5th overall in the AMA Arenacross class point standings. This year he’s in 4th overall and within shouting distance of Sellards in 3rd (332 points). Said Ti Lube team owner Joe Murphy: “We had a great weekend. Colt (Humphrey) got a 2nd in Sacramento behind (Jeff) Northrop to firm up his Western Region Lites lead and then the two wins in Greensboro by Teddy and Kurt (McCabe). It doesn’t get much better.”
TUF Racing’s Dave Antolak checked in with his views and big news on this upcoming weekend: “I look forward to this weekend as it is a single location race weekend. I don’t believe we have had many weekends where we have lost points to the Kawasaki guys when we have been in the same race. I think this two location race schedule this year is like the yellow flag in NASCAR. It may not be fair but it does allow the other guys to catch up, so it keeps the championship race closer. Also Danny Smith will be attending for the first time since his injury giving support to Chad in his quest for another championship. We think Danny may even be able to ride the last round in Green Bay, but we will have to wait and see on that.”
Utah’s Gray Davenport has quietly worked his way into the top ten (9th 206 points) in the overall premier AMA Arenacross class points chase. Last year’s 3rd place finisher in the AMA Arenacross Western Lites region, Davenport has enjoyed some stellar finishes on the #916 Kawasaki for Team Triple Effect owner Charlie Wallwork.
There’s a good battle shaking down for 5th place overall in the AMA Arenacross class standings. Brothers Kevin Johnson (Team Faith/Yamaha) and Keith Johnson (Bobby J’s/Yamaha) will no doubt go at it hard in Denver in order to get the upper hand for the Green Bay (Wis.) finals. As it stands Kevin – with a 2nd place finish in Sacramento last weekend – now holds a seven-point lead (295-288) for the coveted last ‘top five’ spot in the standings. Keith Johnson, who placed 5th at Greensboro last weekend, may have the upper hand heading into Denver as he made the podium there last year on both nights (2-3).
Speaking of the Denver podium, this may very well be a weekend for Robbie Reynard (Reynard Modifications/Suzuki) to break through and score his first win of the season. Last year Reynard made things interesting in the title chase with Danny Smith when he swept the Denver round (1-1). In fact, it was a HUGE weekend for the then Reynard Modifications/Honda team as Reynard’s teammate, Cory Green, swept the Denver AMA Arenacross Lites class as well.
Whipple checked in with a few notes of his own: “Since Chad Johnson (Bad Boy/TUF/Honda) has a 30 point lead now, it is possible - although highly unlikely - he may wrap up the championship Saturday night if he has a 51 point lead because only 50 points will be available in Green Bay. He has won a championship in Denver before (2005-’06)…Start looking for team tactics between Kelly Smith and Brock Sellards (Monster/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki). Instead of the famous ‘Let Broc by’ you may see a ‘Let Kelly by’ pit board in Denver...Last round of the AMA Arenacross Western Lites class and Colt Humphrey currently leads points…Some teams are leaving a day early to test jetting because of the altitude and how it affects performance. Most times they would look at the previous years notes but last year they were on 450 and this year they are on 250s.”
Finally, Whipple closed with this: “Denver has always been a place where tempers flare and the frustration is let out. Mainly because it is near the end of the season and the riders have been on the road for all but one week since the first of the year and the bikes do not perform well because of the altitude. It should really be noticeable since everyone will be on a 250F - interesting weekend of racing to say the least.
Locally, Denver Coliseum fans will be hooting for Travis Bannister (#662) and his traveling buddy, Kyle Calderini (#809). The two Colorado Springs natives did very well at the Denver Toyota AMA Arenacross Series round last year. Bannister finished on the podium in the Arenacross class on Friday night (3rd), with Calderini right behind him in 4th. Earlier on Friday Calderini finished 2nd in the Lites class, while Bannister made the Lites class podium on Saturday night with a 2nd as well.
The Historic Denver Coliseum celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2002. The Coliseum is proud to continue hosting entertainment and special events for the Denver community. There is something for almost everyone at the Historic Denver Coliseum! Our repertoire of events includes the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo, circuses, dirt shows, rock shows, concerts, professional wrestling, pow wows, public
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Recently the Coliseum completed an interior make-over to the concourse areas plus the construction of a new box office. Come visit us soon and see the "new and improved" but still Historic Denver Coliseum.
2007-’08 AMA Arenacross Class Point Standings
2. Kelly Smith, Kaw, 358
3. Brock Sellards, Kaw, 332
4. Teddy Maier, Hon, 313
5. Kevin Johnson, Yam, 295
6. Keith Johnson, Yam, 288
7. Tom Hofmaster, Yam, 239
8. Jim Neese, Suz, 238
9. Gray Davenport, Kaw, 206
10. Robbie Reynard, Suz, 203
Advance tickets for the Feb. 29 – March 1 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series round at the Denver Coliseum are available through www.arenacross.com, at the Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (303) 830-8497. Show times are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday (amateurs) at 12:00. Doors open Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m.. Friday, Saturday and Sunday advance tickets are $20 (all seats), $5 for kids ages 2-12. All seats $2 more day of show.
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