AURORA, Ill. – The 2009 AMA Arenacross Series began its Western swing last weekend, a three-race stretch through Northern California and Nevada with the midway point coming this weekend in Sacramento, Calif. During this portion of the season, the championship picture takes shape as the series prepares for the final chapter of the 11-round battle.
Valentines Day marked the debut of the AMA Arenacross Series’ race from the Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. Through the exciting heat races, last chance qualifiers, and bar-banging main event, in the end, a familiar face stood atop the podium.
Mahindra Tractors/Tuf Honda’s Jeff Gibson wasn’t having what many would consider to be an enjoyable two-week stretch. The series’ season-long top dog experienced his first instances of misfortune and, as a result, watched his points lead dwindle and the rest of his competitors come a little closer. While he was still in a comfortable position and panic was far from necessary, the Westerville, Ohio rider knew it was time to take care of business and dash any hopes his competitors may have garnered from his bad luck.
As a result, Gibson put on a convincing display in front of thousands of new eyes at the Save Mart Center to re-establish his dominance and firm grasp on the championship ladder. The win was the fifth of the season for Gibson, giving him two more than his closest competitor Nathan Skaggs, who experienced some hard luck of his own and now has reigning series champion Chad Johnson breathing down his neck for second place.
For Gibson, it was a needed cure for the woes of misfortune and a surefire boost to his confidence as the AMA Arenacross Series enters its most challenging and season-defining stretch. His team, Mahindra Tractors/Tuf Honda, is all smiles as they continue to prove their keen sense of rider selection. For the last two seasons, Tuf Honda has won the AMA Arenacross Series championship with two different riders. Danny Smith accomplished the feat in 2007 while current Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Johnson grabbed his second career title last season. With the 2009 title in sights, Tuf is on the cusp of one of the most remarkable accomplishments in AMA Arenacross Series history.
As the West Coast swing heads to Sacramento’s Arco Arena this weekend, Gibson holds a 40-point advantage over Skaggs. Despite the healthy lead, four rounds and seven races still remain and both Skaggs and Johnson have shown the ability to take advantage of open opportunities. From here on out, consistency is key for Gibson but the past has shown that lady luck can play a significant role in the outcome. At this point only time will tell.
Prior to the exciting action this weekend, PCP Motorsports will be hosting a meet and greet with the Babbitt’s Monster Energy Kawasaki team and its riders Chad Johnson, current series champion, and Codi Adams. Additionally, Miss Arenacross Lindsey Scheltema, a Babbitt’s team rider herself, will also be in attendance to meet the fans of the AMA Arenacross Series and provide them with smiles and autographs.
This weekend’s venue, Arco Arena, is one of the most familiar arenas in the country thanks to its role as the permanent home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. The AMA Arenacross Series has been a temporary tenant of the arena since 2003.
Completed in 1988, Arco Arena is also home to the WNBA’s Sacramento Monarchs. At $40 million dollars, it was the least expensive of all current NBA arenas to build. Additionally, Arco Arena is the smallest NBA venue in size and holds the second-lowest capacity in the league at 17,317.
Despite its small scale, Arco Arena still packs a punch in the noise department. Its acoustics garnered a Guinness World Record back in 2006 for the loudest sports roar, reaching over 130 decibels during a Kings basketball game against the Detroit Pistons. With over 50 four-stroke dirt-bikes filling the arena, that energizing noise level will surely present itself on Saturday night.
The first gates drop on the Sacramento Arenacross Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Amateur Day concludes an exciting weekend of action on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Gold Circle level seats are just $25, while Mid Level seats are only $18 for adults and $5 for kids. All seats are $2 more on the day of the show.
The AMA Arenacross Series heads to the Live Events Center in Reno, Nev., next weekend, February 27-March 1 for the final round of the West Coast swing and round nine of the championship.
About Feld Motor Sports
Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy® Supercross, AMA Arenacross Series, Freestyle Motocross, and IHRA® Nitro Jam®. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit www.feldentertainment.com.