AMA Arenacross Notebook: 1st Mariner Arena Hosts Baltimore Arenacross

_Opening Weekend Excitement Promises Highly-Competitive Season

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AURORA, Ill. (January 14, 2010) - The 2010 AMA Arenacross Series season started with a bang last weekend inside Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. as arguably the most talented field in the history of the sport began a three-month battle for supremacy. Over the course of two nights of action, four different winners claimed the first place trophy in both the AMA Arenacross and AMA Arenacross Lites classes.

A pair of familiar faces stood atop the podium in the premier AMA Arenacross class as two-time series champion Chad Johnson and young phenom Tyler Bowers grabbed the Friday and Saturday night victories, respectively. Each rider is a member of the preseason favorite Babbitt's Monster Energy/Ti Lube Kawasaki team and have an early jump on the championship battle as they sit 1-2 in the points with Bowers leading the way by two.

In the first round of the AMA Arenacross Lites Eastern Regional championship, reigning Central Region champion and title favorite Kurt McCabe cruised to an impressive night one victory while rookie Taylor Futrell broke through for his first career win in just his second start. McCabe leads the way in the standings by five points.

The lineup of teams and riders for the 2010 AMA Arenacross Series is a who's who of the sport. Names like Bowers, Johnson, Josh Demuth, Brock Sellards, Kelly Smith, Kevin Johnson, Robbie Reynard, Jeff Gibson litter the standings while new faces like Colton Facciotti and Ezra Lusk make their foray into the series.

With such a strong lineup, the 2010 season has the potential to showcase the most parity in the history of the sport. Minus the pair of riders making their dull-time debut in the AMA Arenacross Series, each of the aforementioned names are past winners as are young, up and coming riders like Nathan Skaggs and Gray Davenport.

"This is going to be an exciting season for sure," said AMA Arenacross Series Director Jayme Dalsing. "Despite a tough economy, we have an incredibly strong group of riders who really want to race arenacross and have that chance to capture a national title. With a sport as unpredictable as this and a lineup as strong as we have, it's anyone's guess as to how things will turn out."

In recent years, two teams have slowly risen to the top of the heap in the premier class and have definitely set the bench mark for all other competitors. The Babbitt's team has won championships in the past and continuously fields the top riders in the series. However, Tuf Honda has served as an antagonist to the Kawasaki team, winning the last three series titles with three different riders. The budding rivalry has the potential to come to a head this season as each team is fielding a trio of highly talented and hugely successful riders.

Joining Johnson and Bowers at Babbitt's is two-time champion Josh Demuth, arguably the biggest name in the sport of arenacross. The team drew first blood at the Des Moines prequel in November by finishing 1-2-3 and continued to build momentum by sweeping its hometown race last weekend. Tuf Honda brings back defending series champion Jeff Gibson for 2010 while also enlisting the efforts of Brock Sellards, a perennial championship runner-up on the verge of breaking through, and supercross legend Ezra Lusk, who will join the series after recovering from injury.

"Fans are in store for some epic racing with two of the sports most historic teams," stated Miss Arenacross Lindsey Scheltema. "Tuf has had everyone's number the last three years no matter who they put on the bike. Now, Babbitt's is pulling out all the stops in order to break the streak. And there is no way you can count out teams like Spinechillers and Jackson Performance KTM who boast riders that are just as talented and hungry to win."

No matter what happens. It's going to be a memorable year.

This weekend, the intimate and exciting action of the AMA Arenacross Series will be showcased at 1st Mariner Arena, the largest indoor sports and entertainment facility in Baltimore. Opened in 1962, it served as the Civic Center before becoming the Baltimore Arena, which was the official title until 1st Mariner Bank garnered sponsorship rights in 2003.

There are 11,000 permanent seats inside the arena, but as many as 14,000 can be in attendance when using its spacious floor, which will be covered with tons of dirt and over 100 of the most competitive arenacross riders in the world this weekend.

The first gates drop on the Baltimore Arenacross Friday, January 15 beginning at 7:30 p.m. The action continues Saturday night from 1st Mariner Arena at 7:30 p.m. for night two, followed by Amateur Day on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m.

All Gold Circle Level seats cost just $20. Mid-level seats are $18 for adults and $8 for kids, ages 2-12. Tickets cost $2 more the day of the race. Purchase at 1st Mariner Arena Box Office and Ticketmaster charge by phone at 800-551-SEAT.

Tickets are available online at www.arenacross.com, www.ticketmaster.com, www.tickets.com. For more information on the AMA Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.
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