By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo

Stomping Grounds

Could there be a better time for Chad Reed, fresh off a pair of Anaheim victories, to come to San Diego? This has always been a magical place for him, and since he’s obviously on his game (don’t call it a comeback) this season, there’s a chance for a seventh career victory here (his mark of six is already a record for the venue). If he does win, he’ll head east with the red number plate. – Aaron Hansel

Opposite Swing

The pendulum swings both ways. After the first part of his season went poorly, and a sure win in Oakland evaporated thanks to a mechanical gremlin, Dean Wilson is finally headed in a positive direction. The last two weeks, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider was faster than anyone in qualifying (including the 450s) and grabbed an overdue win at A3. Facing a twelve-point deficit with four races left in the Western Regional 250SX Championship, Dean’s got to stack some more twenty-five point weekends together—including this one in San Diego. - Hansel

The Constant Battle

Jason Anderson and Cole Seely have found themselves battling on the track frequently this season. Although they weren’t really near each other at A3, they still managed to trade paint in the points department. Both riders went down, with Seely ending up in second and Anderson fourth, which resulted in a tie for the lead at 109 points. Whoever records the better finish this weekend will get to wear the red plate for the entire Western Regional 250SX hiatus. - Hansel

Who will head to the break with sole possession of the points lead? Photo: Simon Cudby
Who will head to the break with sole possession of the points lead? Photo: Simon Cudby

Angry Dungey

Ryan Dungey has been criticized in the past for a perceived lack of aggression. But lately we’ve seen a different Dungey, one who is pulling the trigger on big quads, running it in on his competitors and generally pushing the limits. Unfortunately, we’ve also see a departure from the Dungey that Kevin Windham described as a racer who will “podium you to death.” In five rounds Ryan Dungey has had multiple crashes, a DNF and has only been on the podium twice. As a result, he sits a distant sixth, twenty-eight points back of championship leader Ryan Villopoto. It’s weird to be saying this about the #5, but if Angry Dungey resurfaces in San Diego, he might want to dial it back a notch if that's what it takes to keep it on two wheels. - Hansel

Mafia Man

The action at the front of the pack has been so spectacular this season that there hasn’t been much of a spotlight on guys outside the top ten. That’s a shame because guys like Nick Wey (and many others) are quietly putting together good seasons. After failing to make the main event at A1, Wey rebounded with a pair of fifteenths and two thirteenths. Obviously, the veteran is getting it done. Can he take the next step forward in San Diego by knocking on the door of the top ten? - Hansel

The Substitute

As part of Toyota/JGR Yamaha’s pilot program—“designed to assist promising talent while also providing a substitute rider ready to fill in on a moment’s notice”—Phil Nicoletti was schedule to race three Monster Energy Supercross and three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds, barring injury, beginning in Atlanta. But after Josh Grant reinjured his shoulder at Anaheim 3, the team has decided to let the injury heal and bring in the substitute—Nicoletti. (Grant’s status going forward has yet to be determined.) The innovative program kicks off this weekend. Will Nicoletti bring validity to it? – Chase Stallo

Can Roczen inch closer to RV in San Diego? Photo: Simon Cudby
Can Roczen inch closer to RV in San Diego? Photo: Simon Cudby

Overlooked

“Does it still not seem like Ken Roczen is getting less attention than the other contenders this year?” proposed Racer X Online editor Jason Weigandt earlier this week. (Ping, JT$ and Matthes weighed in on Roczen’s chances as well.) With Reed finding the fountain of youth, RV going for history, Dungey upping the aggression, Barcia struggling, and Brayton’ surprising run, other stories have overshadowed the impressive rookie. Roczen is just seven points back of Ryan Villopoto, and has a legitimate chance to join McGrath and Dungey as the only rookies to win a premier class title in their rookie seasons. Roczen has excelled on the hard pack California tracks, and finished second a season ago in San Diego (250SX). Can Roczen tighten the points gap before the series heads east? – Stallo

Rookie Success

Cooper Webb was tabbed early on as one of the “next” riders to leave a mark in the sport. And while many expected Webb to be a top-five contender, his two podiums through five rounds have exceeded expectations. Furthermore, Webb is the first rookie to enjoy such early success since Eli Tomac in 2011—when the GEICO Honda rider racked up six podiums, including two wins. Will Webb add another podium to his resume in San Diego? – Stallo

Webb is seeking his third podium in six rounds Saturday. Photo: Simon Cudby
Webb is seeking his third podium in six rounds Saturday. Photo: Simon Cudby

Ready to Head East

Ryan Villopoto has been vocal of his dislike for the Southern California dirt. “I think for me this is the style track or dirt that I would struggle on by far the most,” he told Racer X following Anaheim 3. The three-time defending champion has won just five times out west (not including Salt Lake City and Seattle) throughout 2011-12. During that same span, RV has won twelve races on the east. If RV can hold serve at the last round of the West Coast swing, on dirt he doesn’t like, another big title run could be on the horizon when the series heads east. – Stallo

Salute to the Troops

For the first time in history, Feld Motor Sports and Monster Energy Supercross will call this event the Military Appreciation Race, in support of Operation Homefront. The race will honor over one million service men and women in the armed forces and Feld Motor Sports will make a monetary donation to Operation Homefront. GEICO Honda’s Blake Wharton has partnered with Guide On and will personally host a group of children who have lost a parent serving overseas in the U.S. military. Feld Motor Sports also announced that the Armed Forces Network will broadcast the race live to the 175 military bases around the world. In addition, expect to see armed services themed graphics and gear on the riders and bikes. Overall, expect a special atmosphere this weekend. - Stallo