Racer X: Talk about the pressure going into that main event. You’ve been in that situation before, but it’s probably not a whole lot easier now than it was then, is it? Ryan Dungey: Going into the main event, we [Dungey and his mechanic] actually arrived a little late [to the gate], and my mechanic Mark [Valcore] said we were “fashionably late” [laughs], and we laughed at that, but I was at ease more than I thought I would be, to be honest with you. I really kind of surprised myself in that case, and I just tried to take it like a normal race instead of worrying about the championship. I knew where I needed to be in my head, and I just tried to put in a solid ride, just like every weekend. I got a good start, which was going to be key, and I got out of the gate solid. My Bridgestones were hooking up, and the track really came around awesome toward the end, and got a little sunshine on it before the main event. I just tried to ride solid. I rode where I had to be, and I knew where everybody was. It was cool to be able to cross that finish line.
It looked like you were somewhat content following Jake Moss around, and then he fell and you inherited the lead before getting passed by Trey Canard. But then Jake Weimer caught you. What was going through your head then?
I knew that Weimer could beat me [and he could still win the title], so I let him just take it, because I wasn’t going to stress about it. I knew what was more important tonight. Knowing that they [Ryan Morais and Weimer] aren’t dirty riders or anything, they were on a mission, and he was after Canard. I was just like, “Go after it,” you know? I was where I needed to be, which was cool. We put a lot of hard work in for this, and not just me, but my whole team, family, God, and everything on my side. In the end, it was just that much better to pull it off.
What does it feel like to have finally gotten your number-one plate after the last two years full of disappointment?
Yeah, those two years, there was a lot of disappointment. Everybody knows what happened. I’m not going to explain it. But you learn from the past, and I took from it. You’ve got to fall to become a champion, and you’ve got to go through the hurts like that and pay your dues. That’s what kind of kept it alive for me. For me, the bottom hurts, and I never want to feel like that again. I know what it felt like in Seattle last year, and it hurt. It scars you deep down inside for the rest of your life, almost. But, to a certain point, you’ve got to let it all go, and each opportunity, I always tell myself I’ve got to take advantage of it and give 100 percent. I can only control what’s in my control, and I leave the rest up to the man above. My mechanic, Mark, did a great job all year, and that was big because the bike had to run good every weekend. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to him, and I’ve got to give a big shout out to all of the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team. They put their faith in me, and they saw something, and that makes me happy to pull through. And I proved a lot to myself. I proved that I can do this. For me, it’s a big step in my career, and I’m moving forward. I’m just going to try and carry the momentum and enjoy tonight. I’ll work heading into outdoors.
You had a lot to prove going into Vegas last year. You had a chip on your shoulder, but now you don’t. What does that do for how you approach next weekend?
Vegas will be fun. There’s nothing to it. Everything’s wrapped up already. It’ll just be good to get with all the east and west together, and it will be good to see how they do out there and to ride with a new group of people. It will be fun to do that in the main event. I’m just going to enjoy it, but also keep it real and keep it safe and start getting ready for outdoors, because that’s what’s most important.