The night kicked off with the Superpole qualifying, and after setting the fastest laptime in practice, Stewart was the last to ride in the Superpole, and he was able to edge out Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed to claim a quick $10,000, completing the first step of the Trifecta.
Step two was pulling the main-event holeshot, which Stewart did with an aggressive inside move on Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, forcing the new permanent number 10 to the ground. In the second corner, it was another Suzuki rider hitting the ground – this time, two-time U.S. Open Champion Chad Reed. Reed quickly remounted in next to last (Dungey was last) but didn’t make it very far and pulled into the mechanics’ area looking down at his bike. So with less than a quarter of a lap complete, Reed’s night was done.
For the next ten laps, Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short was the man on the move, steadily working his way up through the pack. Right around the midway point, Short managed to make his way around the KTM of Brayton and into third, and quickly closed up on the rear fender of his teammate Tedesco. Since they’re teammates, one wouldn’t expect to see too much aggressive riding, but that wasn’t the case. Short dived to the inside on a left-hander and made contact, slowing both riders down considerably and forcing them to limp through the next rhythm section, allowing Brayton to close the gap. In the very next left, Short dived to the inside again, but this time Brayton was behind doing the bumping, forcing Short into Tedesco and resulting in both Honda riders falling down like dominoes. Brayton was stuck behind them, so he grabbed a handful of throttle and tried to launch over the Honda men, and nearly ran Short over in the process.
Tedesco and Brayton quickly remounted, only letting Yamaha’s Josh Hill around for second. Unfortunately for Short, this wreck cost him any chance for a podium finish, and he pulled into the pits.
“Yeah it got a little crazy there but that’s the U.S. Open,” said Tedesco of his crash with Brayton and Short. “I was riding pretty tight and Shorty was able to catch me. I was just doing what I could to stay up there. I was riding really terrible at first, but I’ve always been pretty good at turning a bad night around.”
In the final laps, it was Stewart maintaining a large cushion to take the win, followed by Tedesco, who got around Hill for second.
“I wasn’t feeling it tonight,” said Hill. “But that was the most fun race ever!”
Brayton capped off a night of fine riding with a fourth, and Dungey put on an astonishing charge from last to fifth.
“I heard the fans going buck-wild at one point, so I knew something was happening behind me,” said Stewart. “We’re pretty happy with the bike, we’ll make a few changes here and there. But really, I just want to go to bed right now.