The 2008 Texas AMA/Toyota MX National was more than just round three of the series, it was also the unofficial start of the series, as it was the first of likely many that featured extremely hot, humid weather, and it definitely took its toll on the riders throughout the day.
It was all Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasakis up front at the start of the first Lites moto, with Ryan Villopoto
(1) getting the holeshot over teammates Brett Metcalfe
(123) and Austin Stroupe
For the third moto in a row, Villopoto led every lap going away.
Brawndo Honda's Bobby Kiniry
ran as high as third before settling for seventh, which later became eighth after he was docked a spot for not staying within the track barriers.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey
started outside the top five, but fought his way into second by lap four, where he would finish.
Stroupe started out the moto in second and finished third, although he was fading pretty badly by the end of the moto in the extreme heat.
Metcalfe tried a little too hard to beat his teammate Stroupe in the first moto, and lost it in the sand whoops on lap six. He rode his bent bike to ninth.
Geico Powersports Honda's Jake Weimer
(30) caught and passed Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy's Jason Lawrence
(338) for fourth late in the moto. Lawrence finished fifth.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi
(800) got the opening-moto 450cc holeshot.
Alessi led the first lap, which was the first time this year that someone other than James Stewart
led a lap at all.
Stewart grabbed the lead on lap two, but then promptly fell while leading.
He was already getting up as Alessi went by to retake the lead. Stewart remounted fourth, behind Alessi, Honda Red Bull Racing's Davi Millsaps
and Andrew Short
Stewart immediately went back to work, passing Short (29), Millsaps and then, eventually, Alessi.
Alessi led the first six laps of action before finally giving way, for good, to Stewart. Alessi finished second.
Short (29) finished third, while Millsaps (118) fell back to fifth.
Suzuki privateer Cody Cooper finished fourth in the first moto.
Honda Red Bull Racing's Ivan Tedesco
(9) was sixth in the first moto.
MDK KTM's Ryan Sipes
rode strong all day. Here, he holeshots the second Lites moto.
Sipes led the first lap before dropping out of the moto well past the halfway point.
Stroupe took over the lead on lap two, and led the next five before giving way to Dungey on lap seven.
Dungey only led one lap, as Villopoto was quickly on his tail as he took the lead from Stroupe.
Once by for the lead, Villopoto quickly put in the fastest lap of the moto, which sealed the win for him for the fifth moto in a row.
After Stroupe (51) spent much of his energy fighting off Dungey (28) early in the moto, Stroupe faded late in the moto, although he hung on for third.
Weimer grabbed fourth for the second moto in a row. His 4-4 for fourth overall was his best outdoor finish yet.
Motosport/Xtreme Kawasaki's Tommy Hahn
went 6-5 for fifth overall.
Villopoto extended his points lead to 15 over Dungey with nine rounds left to run.
Villopoto (center), Dungey (left) and Stroupe (right) celebrate on the podium.
Alessi (800) got the start again in the second moto, but this time Stewart (7) was all over him right away.
Still, Alessi managed to lead the opening two laps before Stewart could find a way by.
Once by, though, Stewart checked out, leaving Alessi to ride around in second basically all by himself, too.
After a hard charge in the opening moto from nearly last to seventh, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Timmy Ferry
(15) landed third in the second moto.
Short (left) faded to sixth in the moto because of the heat, but still managed third overall with a 3-6 showing.
Stewart's unbeaten streak now sits at six motos.
Stewart (center) celebrates with Alessi (left) and Short (right). Stewart leads Ferry in the championship by 36 points with nine rounds left to run.