It all started in the second Heat race, when Reed got to the lead before Stewart and Stewart was forced to chase him down, which he did – slowly – before passing Reed and winning the race.
In the main event, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Reed finally got what he wanted – a holeshot – and he went about putting time on Stewart as the San Manuel Yamaha rider worked his way around Reed’s teammate Mike Alessi. As Reed and Stewart crossed the finish line to mark the end of lap one, they were first and second, separated by a couple of seconds.
After attempting to chase down Reed for the first couple of laps, Stewart ended up washing out the front end of his YZ450F on the third lap after a tricky double that was preceded by a small bump that the riders had to wheelie in order to do the double cleanly. Stewart got up quickly and was fourth behind Alessi in third, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham in second, and Reed in the lead.
Stewart immediately passed Alessi for third and then set out after Windham, and two laps later, he attempted to pass Windham on the outside in the same turn in which he fell a few laps earlier, and Windham pushed him wide. However, Stewart completed the pass anyway at the end of the ensuing straightaway when he dived to the inside of Windham for the spot.
Over the next eight laps, Stewart tried to trim Reed’s lead, but Reed held steady. Lappers made a difference, though, and just past the halfway point, Reed got through a set of three Honda lappers including Andrew Short (who got a rock stuck in his rear-brake lever earlier in the main while running fifth), Matt Boni and Heath Voss. Stewart made up a ton of time when, in a kamikaze move, Stewart passed all three riders in one turn when he swapped off of the track’s dragon back and then slid under all three Hondas. Intentional or not, it worked, and all of a sudden, Stewart was all over Reed for the lead.
On lap 14, Stewart got a run on Reed on the track’s longest straightaway, which was a rhythm section on this Mike LaRocco-designed track. Stewart pulled alongside Reed and then completed the pass in the next couple of turns, and he immediately began pulling away from Reed. However, only a lap later, Reed loosened up and began gaining time back on Stewart. Then, leading into the switchback before the finish line on lap 16, Reed actually cased an on/off jump, which caused him to nose-wheelie into the left-hand 180-degree turn.
Without the ability to brake like he normally would have, Reed surprised Stewart by showing him a fender going into the left-hander, and in the right-hander that immediately followed, Stewart fell, handing the lead back to Reed, who led the remaining six laps on his way to his first win of the season.
Stewart finished second, well ahead of Alessi, in his first-ever podium performance in the 450cc class. Windham, who ran third until the 16th lap, dropped out with an apparent mechanical malfunction.
In fourth was JGR/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant, followed by Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco, and in sixth was MCRMX’s Ben Coisy in his best finish ever. Everyone else was at least one lap down.
Interestingly, this was the first win for a brand besides Yamaha in the 450cc class this year, and it was also the first win for any rider wearing the number one since Jeremy McGrath’s last win in 2001. Reed and Stewart are again tied atop the points standings with eight rounds left to run.
The Lites class in Indy also saw the triumph of a rider who has been oppressed by a rival until now. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe was a favorite coming into 2009’s Lites East title chase, but it’s been his teammate Christophe Pourcel who had done all of the winning coming into Indianapolis.
Pourcel had a shot at making it three in a row, as he got the holeshot in the red-flagged and restarted Lites main, but Stroupe was right on his tail from the get-go. It didn’t take long before Stroupe hit his afterburner, caught and then passed Pourcel for the lead, and he rode a near-flawless race from that point on to take his first win of the year.
Pourcel hung on for second, though, and the points lead, while third, once again, went two Nico Izzi, who has been on the podium at every race so far this year and sits second in the points. In the late going, Izzi fought off the advances of Division 7/Yamaha’s Matt Lemoine, who fell on the final lap and had a hard time starting his YZ250F. He was credited with eight despite being unable to finish the race.