Villopoto Becomes Wild Card In Stewart/Reed's Monster Energy Supercross Points Race Heading Into Rice-Eccles Stadium - Dirt Rider Magazine

Villopoto jumped out to an early lead in the AMA Supercross class main and put himself in position to become the first racer to beat Stewart in a race where he didn't crash
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby

AURORA, Ill. (April 21, 2009) - Ryan Villopoto has thrown a wrench into the two-man machine that has dominated the 2009 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, and with the penultimate round set for this Saturday at Salt Lake City's Rice-Eccles Stadium, the story line is expected to take another exciting twist. On the heels of his first career victory last week in Seattle, the Monster Energy Kawasaki-backed Villopoto has become the wild card in the James Stewart and Chad Reed championship race. Villopoto's win not only turned Reed's five-point lead into a three-point deficit to Stewart, but he also became the first AMA Supercross class rider to win a main event in which Stewart did not crash, snapping the previous string of 54 consecutive races that Stewart had either won or crashed.Coming into Seattle, Stewart had won 34 of 53 starts to that point with at least one crash in each of the 19 races he lost. He did stall his motorcycle on Saturday night, but he never touched the Seattle dirt, which means Villopoto's first win came with the rare distinction of doing it on a night when Stewart either crashed or won -- the first such night in his AMA Supercross class career.At the start of the AMA Supercross main, Reed, of Tampa, Fla., crashed and began to play catch up from 19th place, and Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., was mired in 11th by the end of lap one. Throughout the early portion of the race, Alessi and Villopoto battled for the top spot before Alessi washed out just before halfway to give up the lead. Villopoto, in his first race back since New Orleans on March 14, put his head down and rode to an impressive and surprising victory."It's awesome," said Villopoto. "I can't thank my team enough and everybody that put effort into it. It hasn't been the year we wanted but they never gave up. I could see James and Chad out of the corner of my eye sometimes. I just focused on Mike (Alessi) and he made that mistake. The track was super tricky tonight and there were some slick spots so you really had to ride smart."Stewart managed to salvage a second place finish while Reed finished seventh, which is the worst finish of his 2009 season."I don't know what happened. We all almost went down and we got the short end of the stick," said Stewart. "I was so far in the back and saw Ryan and Mike out front and realized how far back I was. It's all about the championship though and tonight was good for that. The way Chad has been riding all year, it was definitely surprising to see how things played out."In the penultimate round of the AMA Supercross Lites Western Regional Championship, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., took advantage of a stellar start to gap the field and extend his points lead heading into the class' final race this Saturday in Salt Lake City."I'm super pumped," exclaimed Dungey. "Just pumped on the whole day. I had 100-percent effort from my team. The track was falling apart out there but they just kept working hard. I was able to get a good start and just took it from there. I do have a (bigger) points lead but we still got a race left so it's not over. I'm just really happy, the fans were great and now I have some momentum going into next weekend."Dungey's closest challenger in the championship, Jake Weimer, of Rupert, Idaho, suffered from a bad start on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki and completed the first lap in eighth place. Dungey now leads by nine points heading into Salt Lake City.The first supercross race held at Rice-Eccles Stadium took place in 2001 where 42,135 packed the home of the 2002 Olympic Opening and Closing Ceremonies to watch Ricky Carmichael race to victory. Carmichael holds the all-time AMA Supercross win record in Salt Lake City with two. Stewart holds the all-time AMA Supercross Lites class win record at Salt Lake City with two.The AMA Supercross class will air on CBS Sports Sunday, April 26 at Noon (EST), and the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class will air on Sunday, April 26 at 2:00 p.m. (EST).Tickets are available at www.SupercrossOnline.com, www.utahtickets.com, by phone at 801-581-UTIX and the Rice-Eccles Box Office. Goldcircle seats are $40; Mid-Level seats are $20 for adults and $10 for kids; Treadhead seats are $10. All seats are $2 extra on the day of the event. Practice and qualifying times begin at 12:30 PM with the main event beginning at 7:00 PM.AMA Supercross Class Results, Seattle
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash. Kawasaki
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
3. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda
4. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha
7. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki
8. Paul Carpenter, Ithaca, N.Y., Kawasaki
9. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee,, Fla., Honda
10. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., HondaAMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 332
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Suzuki, 329
3. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 241
4. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 208
5. Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 204
6. Mike Alessi, Apple Valley, Calif., Suzuki, 203
7. Ivan Tedesco, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 199 8. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 190 9. Davi Millsaps, Tallahassee, Fla., Honda, 188 10. Josh Hill, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 146Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Results, Seattle
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
2. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda
4. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
5. Jake Moss, Temecula, Calif., Honda
6. Jimmy Albertson, Ozark, Mo., Honda
7. Kyle Cunningham, Fort Worth, Texas, Kawasaki
8. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda
9. Michael Hall, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
10. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., HondaWestern Regional AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 160
2. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki, 151
3. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 146
4. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 103
5. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Honda, 95
6. Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., KTM, 89
7. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 74
8. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 67
9. Jeff Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Honda, 62
10. P.J. Larsen, Stanley, N.C., Kawasaki, 61Past Winners in Salt Lake City
AMA Supercross Class
April 24, 2004: Kevin Windham
April 26, 2003: Chad Reed
April 27, 2002: Ricky Carmichael
April 28, 2001: Ricky CarmichaelAMA Supercross Lites Class
April 24, 2004: Ivan Tedesco
April 26, 2003: James Stewart
April 27, 2002: James Stewart
April 28, 2001: Ernesto FonsecaFor more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossOnline.com. For all media requests, please contact Denny Hartwig dhartwig@feldinc.com or 630-566-6305.About Feld Motor Sports
Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. productions include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, AMA Arenacross Series, Freestyle Motocross, and IHRA Nitro Jam. Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world's largest producer of live family entertainment. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit www.feldentertainment.com.About The Utah Sports Commission
The Utah Sports Commission is a not-for-profit, 501c3 charitable organization consisting of a statewide coalition of leaders from both public and private spheres throughout Utah. The Commission was created to foster national and international amateur sports competitions held in the state of Utah acting as a catalyst in unifying Utah's sports community and strengthening Utah's presence in the global sports marketplace. The Utah Sports Commission partners with Utah Sports Commission members and sports entities to target and develop bids, coordinate volunteer efforts, and develop sponsorship and promotional opportunities for new sporting events. For further information, visit www.utahsportscommission.com.

Stewart proved that he is human in getting beat by Villopoto but he did take over the points lead
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
Chad Reed needs to refocus heading into this weekend\'s race in Salt Lake City
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
Ryan Dungey moves one step closer to winning his first Lites class championship
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
Stewart proved that he is human in getting beat by Villopoto but he did take over the points lead
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
Chad Reed needs to refocus heading into this weekend\'s race in Salt Lake City
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby
Ryan Dungey moves one step closer to winning his first Lites class championship
Photo Credit: Simon Cudby