Monday Conversation II: Ryan Dungey

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey is, once again, the Dave Coombs Sr. Lites East/West Shootout winner after, once again, coming up just short in his title chase. However, in winning the shootout, Dungey also prevented Ryan Villopoto from ever having the chance to win it, and extended the streak of non-champions winning the event. The last time a coastal champ won the shootout was in 2004, when James Stewart pulled off the feat. Before that, it was last century.

Racer X: Once again, you lose the title, but come out and win the battle of raw speed. Tell me about it.
Ryan Dungey: Obviously, we lost again this year, but I know when we went wrong, and we’ll get ‘er next year. I mean, tonight, to end the season with the win here at the East/West Shootout, with all of the guys coming together, it feels good – not only because the class is stacked with the East/West thing, but also because we all meet. To do it two years in a row feels good, and I couldn’t have done it without my team, my family, and all of the people who got me here. It was a good night, and I felt like I rode a patient, smart race and made some good decisions, and laid some wood. It felt good.

Take me through the emotions of your last couple of laps in catching and passing Ryan Villopoto.
I came up on him, and I’m like, shoot, I’m just going to take my time and be patient, and I had to wait for my time to come where, if he makes mistakes, I could capitalize on it, and if not, it just wasn’t meant to be. I think I just tried to stay patient and calm, and it ended up working out for me. I know a lapper got in the way, and I came around the outside and went by him. It’s just fun. When racing’s like that, there’s no greater feeling, and for the fans, too – you hear them screaming, and you feel on top of the world. I’m just pumped. It feels good.

Also, last year, Villopoto bounced out of the race with a mechanical, so a lot of people may have thought that you got lucky to win it then...

I mean, last year, Villopoto was definitely going stronger than me. I have to admit that. But he’s got a year on me, and with this year of experience, I was able to get closer and closer, step by step, taking it one year, one month, one day at a time.

So, will you give me your Toyota Tundra? You already have one...
I can find something to do with the truck! [Laughs]

It’s kind of a neat bonus, to get a truck, isn’t it?

Yeah, it is. A free truck’s a free truck. Everybody knows how important a vehicle is, but maybe I’ll have to put it away with the gas prices getting to where they are.

Maybe you can trade down to a Tacoma or something...

Yeah, or maybe a Carolla and get 20 or 30 miles to the gallon...

Or a Prius.

Yeah, a Prius!

Historically, you’ve been a little stronger indoors than outdoors, so now that you just beat Villopoto out there, and he’s the defending champ outdoors, does this do anything for your confidence heading into the Nationals?

Yeah, it’s good for the mind, to take this and run with it and carry it into the outdoors. Villopoto’s a strong rider outdoors, and he’s won it two years in a row, so I’m going to do everything in my power, but I know what I’m up against. I also know what went wrong in supercross, so I know what I’ve got to do. I’m going to give it my all, and if at the end of the year it happens, it happens. The better man will win. We’ll see how it goes. If I’m not beating him, I want to at least put up a fight.