Bench Racing Ammo: Ode to RCA

February 26, 2009 11:19am | by:

American Motorsports began in Indianapolis, Indiana, with the first Indianapolis 500-Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which ran on May 30, 1911. From that time, Indy became synonymous with auto racing and motorsports, and so just a short 81 years later, AMA Supercross rolled into Indy for the first time, racing at the Hoosier Dome downtown in 1992.

  • The RCA Dome
  • Lucas Oil Stadium stands behind the demolished RCA Dome
The Hoosier Dome had opened in 1983, and in 1984 the NFL’s Baltimore Colts snuck out of Maryland in the middle of the night and arrived in Indianapolis, to become the Indianapolis Colts, who would play in the dome. Ten years later, the Hoosier Dome was renamed the RCA Dome. The building is similar in design and appearance to two other stadiums that have hosted Supercross races, the Metrodome in Minneapolis Minnesota, and the BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The RCA Dome roof was deflated on September 24, and the dome was demolished altogether on December 30.

Into that pile of rubble stood a bunch of memories from the Dome’s 17 appearances on the AMA Supercross Schedule. Before they get carted away altogether, let’s run through some of those, here.

In the 1992 Indy debut race, Honda’s Jeff Stanton and Yamaha’s Damon Bradshaw put on one of their classic battles, going back and forth in a tussle for the lead. But then Bradshaw cross-rutted over a triple jump and had to bail off, knocking him out of the race, allowing Stanton to take the win.

The Jeremy McGrath era of supercross came next, and MC dominated in the dome, winning the next four races. As much as Indy was known for rutted, soft terrain, the California-raised McGrath dominated on the East Coast track as if it was built with Anaheim clay.

  • Michael Brandes won in 2000
  • Pastrana raced his first supercross that night and finished 4th
MC’s streak came to an end at the hands of Jeff Emig in 1997. Ezra Lusk won the 1999 race, which was also broadcast on the ABC Network. MC won again in 1998 and 2000. That 2000 race was a memorable one, too, as it marked the supercross debut of Travis Pastrana in the 125 class. Travis crashed on the parade lap trying to pull off a freestyle trick (a sign of things to come in his supercross career), and he eventually finished fourth. FMF/Honda’s Michael Brandes took the win that night in an upset.

Pastrana did come back to win the 2001 125 race, and he ushered in a new style of riding by jumping into the whoop section. Ricky Carmichael used that same technique to win the 250 race that night, and the Indy fans wondered what would happen if Carmichael and Pastrana came together in the same class in the same race.

They got their wish in 2002, when the duo battled all night long before Pastrana got sideways in a rhythm section. Carmichael moved to the inside to make a pass in a corner, but Pastrana dove down to try to block the move. They collided and Pastrana went down. The Pastrana fans erupted on RC, who held the lead all the way until the last lap when David Vuillemin snuck past him to steal the win. With Carmichael hearing the boos, Vuillemin was never a more popular winner than he was that night in Indy.

  • Mike Larocco was the surprise 250 winner in 2004
But the most popular win, by far, in Indy’s SX history came in 2004. Indiana-native Mike LaRocco grabbed a rare holeshot and took off out front. He fought off Vuillemin while series points leader Chad Reed tried to recover from a first-turn crash. LaRocco held on to win and the fans went crazy—it marked “The Rock’s” last supercross win.

Carmichael had plenty of success in Indy, taking wins in 2003, 2005 and 2006. James Stewart won the 2007 race after mounting a spectacular comeback—he rounded turn one in 19th place. In 2008, Reed led every lap on his way to a win on a track he designed.

This weekend the series moves to the brand-new Lucas Oil Stadium, across a set of railroad tracks from where the RCA Dome used to sit. The new building looks great, but it has a lot of catching up to do in the history department.

AMA Supercross
Date Winner, Hometown Machine

March 1, 2008 Chad Reed, Australia, Yamaha
March 24, 2007 James Stewart, Haines City, FL Kawasaki
March 4, 2006 Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL Suzuki
February 12, 2005 Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL Suzuki
March 20, 2004 Mike LaRocco, South Bend, IN Honda
March 1, 2003 Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL Honda
February 9, 2002 David Vuillemin, Corona, CA Yamaha
February 10, 2001 Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL Kawasaki
February 12, 2000 Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA Yamaha
April 24, 1999 Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, GA Honda
February 14, 1998 Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA Yamaha
February 15, 1997 Jeff Emig, Riverside, CA Kawasaki
March 30, 1996 Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA Honda
March 18, 1995 Jeremy McGrath, Murietta, CA Honda
March 19, 1994 Jeremy McGrath, Murietta, CA Honda
April 24, 1993 Jeremy McGrath, Murietta, CA Honda
March 21, 1992 Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI Honda

AMA Supercross Lites
Date Winner, Hometown Machine

March 1, 2008 Trey Canard, Elk City, OK Honda
March 24, 2007 Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, MN Suzuki
March 4, 2006 David Millsaps, Cairo, GA Honda
February 12, 2005 David Millsaps, Cairo, GA Suzuki
March 20, 2004 Josh Hansen, Elbert, CO Yamaha
March 1, 2003 Branden Jesseman, Fombell, PA Suzuki
February 9, 2002 Chad Reed, Australia Yamaha
February 10, 2001 Travis Pastrana, Annapolis, MD Suzuki
February 12, 2000 Michael Brandes, Lake Elsinore, CA Honda
April 24, 1999 Ernesto Fonseca, Costa Rica Yamaha
February 14, 1998 Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL Kawasaki
February 15, 1997 John Dowd, Chicopee, MA Yamaha
March 30, 1996 Mickael Pichon, France Kawasaki
March 18, 1995 Mickael Pichon, France Kawasaki
March 19, 1994 Ezra Lusk, Bainbridge, GA Suzuki
April 24, 1993 Doug Henry, Oxford, CT Honda
March 21, 1992 Jimmy Button, Corning, NY Yamaha