Feld Interview with Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLube Kawasaki’s Chad Johnson
AURORA, Ill. (January 28, 2010) – A quarter of the way through the 2010 AMA Arenacross Series, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/TiLube Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers is taking the series by storm. Last weekend at the Hampton Coliseum, Bowers extended his current winning streak to five races, making him 5-1 so far this season and giving him a solid points lead as the series heads to Kansas City’s Kemper Arena on Saturday night.
Only one other rider has stood atop the podium so far in 2010, Bowers’ Babbitt’s teammate Chad Johnson who won the opening night of action from Grand Rapids. Johnson is in the midst of a rebound season, bouncing back from what he considered to be a disappointing 2009 in which he was the defending champion.
Now, just three races into the 12-race season, Johnson sits second in the standings and has been one of the most consistent riders on the track through six races. While he has been forced to work from mid-pack more often than he’d like, he has the speed necessary to get on top of the box and hopes to break his teammates streak this weekend and take away some of the momentum.
Chad, we’re three rounds into the 2010 AMA Arenacross Series. How would you say this season has gone for you?
Definitely better than 2009! I definitely can’t complain. I’d like to be winning a little more, but Bowers is handling that one pretty well. He’s going really fast. I’m just trying to get my starts down a little bit and working on moving forward.
How does it feel to come back this season so much stronger than last year when I’m sure you expected a little bit more from yourself as the defending champion?
It feels good, you know? When I found out that we were going back to 450′s (in the premier class) I wasn’t really worried about it. I figured the season would go pretty decent since 450′s are good bikes. It suits me a little better and I figured it would take less preparation on the 450 for sure.
You’re the only other race winner so far in 2010. What do you think has helped Tyler get such an early advantage and do you think it has helped you pick up your own speed?
You know, he’s definitely going fast. I kind of do what I do no matter what anybody else does. I do what I do and try to push hard at the end of the races. I’m just going to try and get some starts and run (Bowers) down. He’s getting good starts and he’s definitely going fast and is really quick at the beginning of the (main events) and I think that’s definitely where he’s winning his races. He’s real quick at the beginning and he carries his speed to the end so I’m going to have to get a little bit better in my pre-game. My endurance is good and my end speed is fine, my starts and my pre-game need to get a bit better.
Do you think it’s too early to be thinking about the championship at round three of 12?
No, you know you definitely got to think of it. You got to keep it in mind and try to stay consistent and ride as smart as you can for the next nine rounds. So you definitely got to keep it in mind that’s for sure.
Whats it been like to have such a strong team? Have you been able to feed off one another this season?
It’s great for the team. I don’t know if we really feed off each other since we all go to different places during the week to ride. That’s where your results come from on the weekend, going to a solid team, having good mechanics and good people running your team, and then going home during the week and training. Doing what you’re supposed to do during the week. I think it’s definitely a feather in everyone’s cap and everyone’s attitude on the team is awesome because we’re all doing real well and that always makes things better. So it definitely makes the atmosphere coming to the racetrack better than when everyone isn’t doing so well.
Are there any tracks coming up or any cities coming up that you’ve had a lot of success in and have traditionally been good to you?
I hear Reno has a bigger floor so hopefully if they build a bigger track it’d be pretty neat. However, I’m not quite sure how they are going to build the track and what obstacles they’re going to put out there. I know San Antonio is a bigger venue too and I don’t know what the plan is there either but the bigger tracks definitely seem to suit me better.
You mentioned the 450cc coming back this year a little earlier. What has it done to the racing this season? Has it increased the level of competition and maybe help separate the top riders from the rest of the field?
Yeah I think so. It makes a rider work harder. On a 450, you can’t just get on it and hold it wide open until the end of the race and be ok. You have to manage the power and when you get tired you really got to pay attention. On a little bike, it’s real easy to get on it and just go wide open until the checkered flag drops versus on a 450 you would usually end up on your head.
What are you hoping to accomplish this weekend and what is your game plan for the rest of the year to chip away at that points lead?
Good starts. I want to be consistent for 25 laps. I think my speed is definitely there. I just need to get some holeshots and get up front right away. I think that is the most important thing.
Advance tickets are available for this weekend’s Kansas City Arenacross at the Sprint Center Box Office, Ticketmaster charge by phone and ticketmaster.com. Tickets cost $2 more the day of the race.
Fans in attendance also can take part in the Track Party on Saturday from 5-6 p.m. for the chance to meet the riders and get autographs. Simply recycle any MONSTER ENERGY can at the gate entrance for FREE admission. Must have valid Saturday event ticket to enter.
For more information on the AMA Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.
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