AURORA, Ill. – Nathan Skaggs has stormed into the forefront of the AMA Arenacross Series early in this 2009 season. The Chillicothe, Ohio native garnered his first career victory at the opening weekend in Grand Rapids, Mich. and followed it up with career win number two exactly one week later in Baltimore, Md. Now, he is the closest challenger to current points leader Jeff Gibson, a familiar rival to Skaggs.
Thanks to his longtime friendship with team owner Dallas Avery, Skaggs has been able to take advantage of the opportunity of a lifetime and show the world that he is one of the most talented riders on the circuit. He and the entire Spinechillers Racing team have been a pleasant surprise throughout the three rounds of racing thus far and given their wave of momentum, should continue to do so.
With Louisville just a few days away, he hopes to continue the upward progress and build upon the impressive foundation laid so far this season.
You’ve had a pretty impressive start to the season so far. What has it been like for you?
It’s going pretty good so far. I’m pretty happy going into Louisville (this weekend). I’d like to get better every weekend and I think I can. I expected to do as well as I have and so far everything has turned out how I hoped it would. I just need to win some more rounds and stay on the podium.
What has the support from Spinechillers and your relationship with Dallas meant to your success?
If it wasn’t for (Dallas) I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I definitely wouldn’t have the bike he’s provided me. It is the best that he can get for me. I just know that he has put a lot of his own time into it. If it wasn’t for him I probably wouldn’t have been able to race last year or this year.
Give me some insight on your history with Dallas. How is your relationship?
We’re best friends. About nine years ago he started helping me. The better I got, the higher the level of racing we started doing. He kind of just started putting more of his time into it, more of his money and it just turned into a way of life for both of us. We do whatever it takes to get us to the races.
How has your bike been?
It’s really good, but it’s going to get better as time goes on. Everything didn’t really come together for us until three weeks before (Grand Rapids). We’re using some stuff we know, but there is still more that we can do and we will make them better. I haven’t been riding between any of these rounds and I only rode it one time before the season started. Pretty much all you can do here in Ohio is train and just go from building to building because it’s so cold.
What was it like to get the first victory and back it up just a week later?
I definitely knew that I could do it again. At the second round it just came natural. I was comfortable, not really nervous. I just rode the race and everything worked out. In Dayton I wasn’t really happy with my performance, but I was also was running a little bit of a fever. I wasn’t really up. I definitely feel way more confident. I like to look at the lap times. I’m usually top three and I like knowing that’s all I need to do that night in the main. Just run those lap times. That helps as a confidence booster as well, because every track changes.
There has been quite a bit of success for Ohio riders this season. How has it been to be a part of that?
There is a lot of talent in Ohio. We don’t get to ride all that much so maybe we are all just pumped about riding when we do get to actually ride. I’m not really sure though. It’s definitely cool to be a part of. These are people I’ve raced with my whole life. I’ve raced Jeff (Gibson), I’ve raced Michael (Willard) and then my two teammates Zach (Ames) and Willy (Browning). They know how I race and I know how they race so we’re comfortable with each other on the track.
Are you taking things race-by-race or are you gunning for this championship?
As of right now I’m gunning for the championship. I won’t be happy unless I’m there at the end. I’m just going to give it my best effort and see how it works out.
Are you gunning for Jeff Gibson and looking to beat him each race?
No it’s not really like that. I just worry about myself. Dallas tells me to make sure I’m on the front row (of the main) after my heat race. That’s my goal. To get a good gate pick for the main and just go from there. I know anything can happen to me or him so I try not to get to worked up about it. It’s out of my hands pretty much when the gate drops so I just need to put myself in a better position. I don’t really worry where he’s at, that way I just move forward. That’s all I really think about.
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