10 Things to Watch: Atlanta

10 Things To Watch Atlanta

February 22, 2013 6:00am

By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo

Jake Weimer
After missing a pair of races with broken ribs suffered at A3, Jake Weimer will make his return this weekend in Atlanta. As anyone who has ever had broken or bruised ribs knows, it's an extremely painful injury that makes even minor physical activity very demanding. Plus, the field just seems to get faster and more dialed in every weekend. Weimer was a top-five threat before his injury. Where will he fit in now? -Aaron Hansel

Round One Throwaway

Had you taken a poll before the gate dropped in Dallas asking how Jeremy Martin would do, it's likely that more people would have guessed top ten, or even top five, than a DNQ. But that's where Martin ended up after taking twelfth in his heat and fourth in the LCQ. Expect the talented Star Racing Yamaha rookie to bounce back and put in a better showing this weekend. -Hansel

Weimer makes his return from injury in Atlanta.
Simon Cudby photo

The Breakout
Although Gavin Faith put in some pretty good rides in supercross last year, it's doubtful that anyone would have called him out for a heat race win over guys like Marvin Musquin and Wil Hahn (except for Jason Thomas, Steve Matthes and Jason Weigandt in the Racer X Eastern Regional 250SX preview podcast, just sayin'). But that's exactly what happened, and neither guy made it easy on Faith either, as he was under heavy pressure from both for a good portion of the heat. If Faith can get a good start and ride with the same confidence and poise this weekend that he showed in said heat race, he could end up on the podium. -Hansel

Tale of Two Rookies
Rookie Justin Hill hadn't raced a motorcycle, not even at the local level, since March of 2012, due in part to injury. But that didn't stop him from going out and putting in a truly fantastic ride to nail down fifth place in the first professional supercross race of his life. Meanwhile, Zach Bell's last few months have been injury-filled also, but at much higher-profile level. Hill's race in Dallas was solid, but Bell's was dotted with crashes and-just about everything else. How will they perform in pro SX race number two? -Hansel

Hometown Hero
Davi Millsaps has hands down been the best 450SX rider this year, and even if Monster Energy Supercross wasn't heading into his home state this weekend he'd still be one to watch. The fact that he's a Georgia native who took the first 450SX win of his career in Atlanta in 2008 just makes things that much more interesting. Will the points leader make the fans in Hotlanta go crazy by taking his third win of 2013? -Hansel

Canard looks to get back on track Saturday.
Simon Cudby photo

The Slump
After four straight top five finishes, Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard has been in a slump the last three rounds (no podiums, no top-five's). The culprit? Starts. Canard has started 13th, 14th and 16th the last three rounds, compared to 2nd, 6th, 2nd and 3rd the first four rounds. Can Canard get the rails back on track in Atlanta? -Chase Stallo

Pecking Order
After the four title contenders (Wilson, Wharton, Hahn, Musquin) in the 250SX East Region, the pecking order is extremely convoluted. Cole Thompson, Gavin Faith, Justin Hill, Kyle Peters, Vince Friese, Jimmy DeCotis, Zach Bell, among others are all vying to solidify themselves as consistent top-five/podium threats. And with Friese in the mix, there's always the potential for dust ups (remember, Wil Hahn took him down last weekend). Will Atlanta begin to separate the contenders from pretenders? -Stallo

Red Clay
Atlanta has always been known for its tacky red clay, which should provide the riders more traction, and hopefully more lines, than Dallas. But over the last few years, even that sticky red clay has grown harder and slicker for supercross. With riders expressing their unhappiness about the tracks thus far, will Atlanta ease tension in the paddock? -Stallo

Can Stewart secure his first podium of the year in Atlanta?
Simon Cudby photo

Before having to pull out of the main with a clutch problem, Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart arguably looked the best we've seen him all season. He's reportedly able to practice a few times a week now, and the ACL doesn't seem to be bothering him that much right now. For certain, they're searching for answers-like bringing his dad down to the line to pack his gate last weekend. Can Stewart break through and grab his first podium of the season in Atlanta? -Stallo

Chizz Filling In

After missing the last two rounds due to a concussion, and following a rocky start to the season with the new-found Velocity 3 Yamaha team, Kyle Chisholm will fill-in for the injured Josh Grant in Atlanta. Chisholm has been a top-ten performer in the past; will the switch to JGR provide a spark to his 2013 season? -Stallo

Late Bonus Entry: As if we needed anymore competition in the 450 class. After his announcement on SPEED last week during the live broadcast from Dallas, everyone has been salivating over the possibilities 2012 West Region Champion Eli Tomac brings to the table. Can he podium in his debut? Will he throw a wrench in the title chase? Those and many more questions will be answered this weekend in the ATL. -Stallo