AURORA, Ill. (Dec. 31, 2007) – The Toyota AMA Arenacross Series returns to Grand Rapids’ (Mich.) Van Andel Arena for two nights of pro indoor arenacross racing action beginning this Friday, Jan. 4, and running through Saturday, Jan. 5. Kansas City’s Kemper Arena will host one night of arenacross racing Saturday, Jan. 5 on another double race weekend. Honda’s Chad Johnson holds the current points lead 130-127 over fellow Honda rider Josh Demuth.
Featured in the racing line up in Grand Rapids is Michigan’s own Kelly Smith (Ludington). Sponsored by a local motorcycle shop, Babbitt’s Sports Center (Muskegon), Smith is currently 3rd overall in the Arenacross point standings.
“I’m pumped to be racing back in Michigan,” said Smith. “I grew up here, still live here and am raising my family in Ludington. I plan on doing well at Van Andel Arena the first weekend in January. I’m thinking we’ll have a real good turnout. Van Andel always rocks when arenacross is in town – bringing out the dirt bikers and snowmobilers from all over the Grand Rapids region.”
Note: Smith and the rest of the Babbitt’s Kawasaki team will be appearing on Thursday, Jan. 3, at Babbitt’s Sports Center, 3712 Airline Road (Muskegon) from 4-6 p.m. on
Leading the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series heading into Grand Rapids is Chad Johnson (Honda) from neighboring Rhinelander, Wis. Johnson, the 2004-’05 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion, will in addition have to deal with Smith’s Kawasaki-mounted teammate, Brock Sellards (Sherrodsville, Ohio), who swept both Arenacross class main events at Van Andel last year.
“I know Grand Rapids will have a lot of Kelly Smith fans, and that’s fine with me because I’ll be bringing the Buckeye pride and a few fans of my own from Ohio up north to the Wolverine State,” said Sellards. “it should be a great weekend of dirt bike racing for sure.”
Dennis Jonon, of Spring Hill, Kan., leads the way in Kansas City this weekend as the local favorite.
“This is going to be pretty cool racing in my hometown,” said Jonon, who races for the GPS Racing team. “I remember seeing some of the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series greats here when I was a kid, now it’s my turn to see if I can’t put a couple solid motos together and pull off a podium finish in front of all my friends and family.”
Jonon, who has an issue with his hip that forces him to wear an orthopedic boot and shoe, is a true “fighter” story in the demanding sport of Toyota AMA Arenacross Series racing. This past weekend at Rockford’s (Ill.) MetroCentre Jonon battled through the afternoon qualifiers to make his first main event of the season – something that’s been difficult for even some of the nation’s top pro racers to accomplish.
“I feel like I’m on a bit of roll here, so brining the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series action to my hometown will be some added incentive for me,” added Jonon.
The last time the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series stopped at Kemper Arena (2004), local Tommy Hofmaster (Pearl City, Ill.) swept the Lites class races on both Friday and Saturday, scored an Arenacross class main event podium finish (3rd) on Saturday and a 5th overall in the Arenacross class on Friday. Also noteworthy: 2005-’06 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion Chad Johnson was on the Lites class podium both nights (3-3) with former champion Darcy Lange sweeping the Arenacross class (1-1).
Last year at Van Andel Arena:
Friday AMA Arenacross Lites Saturday AMA Arenacross Lites
1. Teddy Maier, Honda 1. Kevin Markwardt, Honda
2. Nick Vaughn, Kawasaki 2. Travis Hodges, Honda
3. Kevin Markwardt, Honda 3. Brad Modjewski, Yamaha
Friday AMA Arenacross Saturday AMA Arenacross
1. Brock Sellards, Honda 1. Brock Sellards, Honda
2. Teddy Maier, Honda 2. Teddy Maier, Honda
3. Matt Barnes, Honda 3. Matt Barnes, Honda
2004 Kemper Arena Toyota AMA Arenacross Series results:
Friday AMA Arenacross Lites Friday AMA Arenacross
1. Tommy Hofmaster 1. Darcy Lange
2. Brad Hagseth 2. Justin Brayton
3. Chad Johnson 3. John Dowd
Saturday AMA Arenacross Lites Saturday AMA Arenacross
1. Tommy Hofmaster 1. Darcy Lange
3. Chad Johnson 3. Tommy Hofmaster
2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Point Standings
1. Chad Johnson, Hon, 130
2. Josh Demuth, Hon, 127
3. Kelly Smith, Kaw, 117
4. Jim Neese, Suz, 113
5. Brock Sellards, Kaw, 111
Tickets for the entire Toyota AMA Arenacross Series are available online at www.Arenacross.com, www.Ticketmaster.com, www.Tickets.com. For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to www.Arenacross.com.