450 Words: Daytona

March 10, 2009 10:17am | by:

Once again, Daytona played a pivotal role in the AMA Supercross Series, this time the result of a brutal first-turn crash that left James Stewart picking up the wrong bike and Chad Reed refusing to look a gift horse in the mouth. When James’ front end washed out and his body slammed the ground faster than you can say “slick grass,” this series went back up for grabs. Again!

Reed, one of the last guys to get around the early carnage, put in the kind of yeoman’s effort he’s become known for, methodically climbing up through the lap charts with Jeff Stanton-like precision. (And here’s some credit to the overlooked Davi Millsaps, who also got bottled up on that start and climbed all the way up to the last spot on the box.) Chad gave his Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team their second win in a row after eight weeks of watching others take the night.

As for Stewart, this crash was all on him, just as both were in Indianapolis last week. Afterwards though, he did everything in his power to minimize the damage, riding with a bent bike, two fingers stuffed into one sleeve of his glove (after losing the glove briefly in the first turn), and a surrender-nothing drive to the front. His seventh place kept the points deficit within a manageable 11 points, but with two wins in a row, Reed must have some momentum building.  

  • Reed says this doesn't make up for last year, but it's got to feel good
We call this “450 Words” because it’s about the 450 class, but it could be narrowed down to 338 Words this time. You know what happened: Jason Lawrence took a shortcut past the first-turn carnage, took over the lead and then took off and damn near won the Daytona Supercross. Now folks are up in arms about that shortcut, and they have a good case. However, with all of the bikes laying across the track and course workers, team managers and photographers on the inside of the first turn, some jumping out onto the track with Mike Alessi-like reaction times, where else could he have gone? Kevin Windham and Ryan Villopoto practically wheelied over the fallen Josh Hill.

Tim Ferry tried to cut less and it cost him more… Whatever you think of his first turn maneuver, it's hard to argue with the next 19.95 laps that followed.

Jason Lawrence is our sport’s Bode Miller, our T.O., our Pac-Man Jones…. If you’re reading this, you probably think he’s either charismatically playful or a foolish clown, depending on how you feel about athletes who keep un-athletic hours. It was Super Bowl-winning Oakland Raiders quarterback Kenny Stabler who said, “There’s nothing wrong with studying the playbook by the light of a jukebox.” 

{LINKS}Apparently, they have a jukebox at Razzle’s.