Veterans showed the way in practice, as Kevin Windham logged the fastest time in the first session, and Chad Reed led the way in session two. K-Dub was definitely on it throughout the afternoon. He also is setting up perhaps his biggest transfer yet in opening ceremonies—110 feet from the take off of a triple, over an entire lane, and landing on the finishline jump. He cleared it all with ease on a practice launch.
In the final session, Reed led the way for most of the way, until Dungey (47.2) and Villopoto (46.8) put in their fast times on the eighth lap. But Reed responded immediately with an even faster 46.5 lap to retake the top spot—and that time would hold up to make Reed the fastest rider of the day. With just a few minutes to go, James Stewart starting tripling into a sand section where everyone else was doubling, and his time picked up. He ended up third with a 47.0, just behind Villopoto and just ahead of Dungey. First came Windham with a 47.6, then Millsaps, Nico Izzi (more on him in a minute), Jake Weimer, Brett Metcalfe and Justin Brayton.
Andrew Short will not be racing tonight. He gave it a shot in practice after hurting his shoulder last week, but the pain was too much.
The highly-anticipated Lites East opener is ready to showcase the highly anticipated battle between Justin Barcia and Ken Roczen. They were fastest in practice, Barcia’s 48.736 from the second session leading the way with Roczen right behind in the same session with a 48.910. Barcia was also fastest in the first session, so the defending East Champ is bringing his 2011 game back for the new season. Malcolm Stewart was third overall (49.5) after logging a late fast lap in the final session, and rookie Justin Bogle was fourth overall (49.672) just ahead of privateer Matt Lemoine (49.673).
Blake Baggett, Blake Wharton Kyle Cunningham Darryn Durham and Jake Canada rounded out the top ten. Baggett, after taking a few wins last season, is expected to be a Lites title contender but didn’t make many waves in practice.
That’s it until the night show begins at 7 p.m. central. You’ll probably hear people cheering Windham’s big transfer jump no matter where you live.
Attack of the new numbers! Blake Wharton looks fast and aggressive on his new Suzuki. He's running the 956 in honor of Jesse Masterpool. Run it!