AURORA, Ill. (Jan. 22, 2008) – Michigan’s Eddie Babitt, the “Babbitt’s” in Monster Energy/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki, is riding high these days on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series tour. With two of his athletes – Kelly Smith and Brock Sellards – comprising what’s turning out to be a three-horse race (along with TUF/Honda’s Chad Johnson) for the overall Toyota AMA Arenacross Series title, Babbitt is in an enviable position as a team owner.
Babbitt’s, who started his business in 1965, has been an integral part of the arenacross circuit over the years. His powersports super store in Muskegon, Mich., recently played host to one of the largest pre-Toyota AMA Arenacross Series stops (Grand Rapids) the series has seen all season.
Catching up with Babbitts, he took a few minutes out of his busy schedule to answer a several questions on his team and the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series season thus far.
Arenacross.com: Eddie, the Monster Energy/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki team is having a tremendous year as we’ve just cleared the halfway point of the 2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series. From a team owner’s perspective, are you pleased with the way things have gone so far?
Eddie Babbitt: “I am very happy with our performance. My guys are really pushing hard and looking great! I am very proud to have two guys in the top three.”
Arenacross.com: You’ve got two racers – Smith & Sellards – in what’s turning out to be a three-horse race for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series title. Chad Johnson is awfully fast. Are you confident your guys can reel him in in the coming weeks and take a points lead into Green Bay in March?
Eddie Babbitt: “I believe we are on Chad’s heels and the pressure is all on him. Chad is a great racer and we do have our work cut out for us, but we are up to the challenge and believe we are on pace for taking over that #1 position.”
Arenacross.com: One thing that was going to be key for Johnson was having defending Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion Danny Smith in the thick of things to help disrupt the points for Brock and Kelly. Do you think Smith being out helps the cause of your two racers?
Eddie Babbitt: “You know I don’t know if that would have been a key issue for Chad or not. It really hasn’t helped us nor hindered us either way. We just need to stay healthy and stay on the bikes. We have the speed and handling it will be hard to beat us in the end.”
Arenacross.com: Along those same lines, is it difficult being the owner of a team with two guys gunning for the title – or is it a dream come true?
Eddie Babbitt: “Well it is actually become an expectation, after winning the other series the last two years in row 2006 with Josh Demuth and last year with Darcy Lange. I like the taste of winning; I hope that is being selfish! Oh yeah this is definitely a dream.”
Arenacross.com: Talk about the rest of the team and the team effort it takes week in and week out to help put your racers in front of the rest of the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series field.
Eddie Babbitt: “First of all I have the best team manager and could not do it without him. Thank you Denny Bartz. My mechanics Rob Goodwin, Ken Lile and Tony Esch. Junior Jackson has also been very helpful for the past several weeks helping the riders in their training as well as in the dyno room. I also have to mention Pro Circuit’s awesome engines and suspension. Kevin Boyle from Concept Haulers has also been there week in and week out doing whatever it takes to get things done and look outstanding in the process; my hat is off to Kevin as well.”
2007-’08 AMA Arenacross Class Points Standings
2. Kelly Smith, Kaw, 222
3. Brock Sellards, Kaw, 219
4. Teddy Maier, Hon, 195
5. Kevin Johnson, Yam, 188
6. Keith Johnson, Yam, 185
7. Danny Smith, Hon, 149
8. Jim Neese, Suz, 144
9. Tommy Hofmaster, Yam, 141
10. Nathan Skaggs, Hon, 138
Tickets for the Jan. 25-27 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series at Louisville’s Broadbent Arena are available through www.arenacross.com, at the Broadbent Arena Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at (502) 367-5001. Fees and handling may apply. Show time is Friday at Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday (amateurs) at noon. Doors open Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m., Sunday at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday advance tickets are $20 to $25 for adults, $5 for kids ages 2-12. Sunday’s tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for kids. All tickets $2 more day of show.