450 Words: High Point

June 16, 2008 2:54pm

James Stewart’s victory yesterday at High Point meant a lot more than one may think. Yeah, it’s his fourth straight overall win of the 2008 season and he has won eight straight motos, extending his points lead to 45 over Mike Alessi. But in a way, Stewart also exorcised his High Point demons. 

Throughout his professional career, which started in 2002, James Stewart has only tasted victory at High Point Raceway just once—and that was back in 2004 in the 125cc class. Every other year, it was either mechanical failures or gnarly crashes that kept him out of the winner’s circle. 
But why is Stewart’s winning record there so poor? We really don’t know. It’s not like he lacks experience there. In fact, James Stewart grew up racing at the Mt. Morris facility, as he was almost always in attendance for the annual Team Green Spring National held on the Friday prior to the pro race.
Fast forward to 2008, and James can now add his name to the list of winner’s of the premier class at High Point—a list that has been owned by Ricky Carmichael since 2002. Another interesting fact is that Stewart’s win also marks the first time Kawasaki won the premier class here since 1996. The rider who won that year? Jeff Emig.
As far as his performance yesterday, it was near flawless. Mike Alessi grabbed big holeshots in both motos, but his lead was short-lived. In the first moto, James absolutely checked out, gapping Alessi by 34 seconds by the time the checkered flag flew. In moto two Stewart backed it down and bested Alessi by just nine seconds at the end. 
As for the rest of the class, the top 10 contained the usual suspects, but we did see some great one-moto performances. Brawndo Energy/Solitaire’s Ryan Clark had an absolutely awesome ride in the first moto, as he ran in the top five for much of the moto, eventually finishing 11th. Suzuki City/OTSFF/Rockstar’s Jarred Browne turned a lot of heads with 20-10 motos, as did Honda privateer Jimmy Albertson (15-17), Chris Blose (38-12), Tyler Bright (30-14) and Billy Ainsworth and Chris Whitcraft, who battled for much of moto two, both earning their first national points of 2008. It was especially sweet for Whitcraft, who has already experienced enough bad luck this season to last a lifetime.
With High Point out of the way, it’s off to Thunder Valley MX Park in Lakewood, Colorado, for the first-ever night national in AMA motocross history. If there’s any race on the 2008 AMA/Toyota Motocross schedule that you should attend, this is it. We’ll see you there.