Perfect Barcia Sets Sights on Win Number Five in Supercross Lites
AURORA, Ill. (March 12, 2012) – After winning his first race of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season in Oakland six weeks ago, Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart returned to the top step of the podium last Saturday in Daytona, gaining nine points on Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto’s championship lead. This weekend, the schedule returns to the Midwest and the Circle City of Indianapolis, with the 11th race of the season from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Last weekend’s stop in Daytona presented an extremely wet night of action for all riders. Heavy rain resulted in a difficult track, placing an even greater emphasis on the start and line selection as the surface continued to deteriorate. Stewart was fast throughout the afternoon practice and carried it into the night program.
After a strong heat race performance in which he outran Villopoto, Stewart slotted into second behind teammate Davi Millsaps in the main event. After following Millsaps for a couple laps, Stewart carefully picked his spot on the track to make a move, assuming the lead on Lap 3 and gradually pulling away from the field for a seven-and-a-half second advantage at the finish.
Stewart’s victory was significant in that it allowed the former Monster Energy Supercross Champion to show the progress he and his Joe Gibbs Racing team have made in recent weeks. For the past two races, Stewart has shown tremendous speed, but encountered misfortune at both Atlanta and St. Louis, ultimately limiting his results. In Daytona, Stewart was able to secure the start he needed and put together 16 strong laps for a much-needed win. The triumphant effort highlighted a perfect night for the JGRMX effort, which celebrated its first ever 1-2 finish after Millsaps fended off GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham for the runner-up spot.
For Villopoto, the difficult conditions almost resulted in a disastrous night for his hopes of capturing back-to-back titles. After news broke Friday afternoon that Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was going to be out of the championship indefinitely due to injury, Villopoto’s closest championship challenger became Stewart. As a result, Villopoto entered Saturday with a 53-point cushion.
In the main event, Villopoto became entangled in a set of tuff blocks while fighting for position on the opening lap. As freed himself and attempted to remount his Kawasaki, the wet, muddy conditions forced him to lose control of his motorcycle and ultimately fall into the ground. Villopoto crossed the line in 17th and could have lost as many as 21 points to Stewart out front.
The reigning Supercross Class Champion fought valiantly through the field in the most challenging conditions of the season, working his way into the top 10 by Lap 5. By the time the checkered flag flew, Villopoto had moved into fifth, his worst effort of the season, but just his second finish off the podium in 2012. In the end, Villopoto lost just nine points to Stewart, and carries a 44-point advantage into Indianapolis.
Dungey’s unfortunate departure from the championship comes just one week after he posted a come-from-behind runner-up finish to Villopoto in St. Louis. An official announcement from Red Bull KTM revealed a broken collarbone that Dungey suffered prior to St. Louis, but was ultimately severe enough to require surgery this past week, eliminating him from competition in Daytona and for an estimated four to six weeks. While a championship is no longer in his sights, Dungey does have hopes of returning to competition before the conclusion of the Monster Energy Supercross season.
With a two-rider battle in store for the final seven races of the championship, Villopoto and Stewart will lead the field into Lucas Oil Stadium. Behind them, GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, and Millsaps will engage in battle for the final spot on the championship podium.
Last season’s Monster Energy Supercross visit to Lucas Oil Stadium produced one of Villopoto’s most dominant efforts of the entire 2011 championship. The Kawasaki rider led all 20 laps of the main event, marking his fifth win of the season and generating a three-race winning streak at a pivotal point on the schedule.
In Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class competition from Daytona, GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia continued his perfect start to the 2012 season. The reigning Eastern Regional Champion won his fourth race of the year, in another near-perfect performance. Barcia grabbed the lead on the opening lap, but was given his toughest challenge of the season by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett.
A fall by Baggett while in pursuit of Barcia helped the Honda rider open a lead at the midway point of the main event, but over the final few laps, Barcia was forced to hit his marks on the treacherous track as Baggett had closed to within less than a second. In the end, Barcia was able to pull away on the final section and stay undefeated.
For Baggett, it was his best effort of the season and could be the spark to make a charge over the second half of the Eastern Regional Championship. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Darryn Durham made an impressive charge from seventh to claim his second podium finish of the year.
The first Supercross race in Indianapolis was held on March 21, 1992, and Jeff Stanton won a Honda. This will be the 21st time the gates will drop in Indianapolis and the fourth time that Lucas Oil Stadium has been the host of the race. The first Lites class race was held March 21, 1992, and Jimmy Button won on a Yamaha.
SPEED will broadcast the Supercross class race LIVE at 7:30pm EST on March 17, 2012.
Supercross Class Results: Daytona
- James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
- Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
- Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
- Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
- Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki
- Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
- Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Kawasaki
- Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Suzuki
- Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
Supercross Class Season Standings
- Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 221
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 192
- James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 177
- Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 143
- Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 134
- Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha – 131
- Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda – 128
- Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki – 124
- Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda – 121
- Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Calif., Suzuki – 113
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Results: Daytona
- Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki
- Darryn Dunham, Butler, Pa., Kawasaki
- Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
- Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki
- Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Honda
- Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., KTM
- Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ontario, Honda
- Tommy Weeck, Menifee, Calif., Suzuki
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
- Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda – 100
- Darryn Dunham, Butler, Pa., Kawasaki – 76
- Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Ga., KTM – 75
- Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki – 72
- Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki – 62
- Jake Canada, Sun City, Calif., Suzuki – 56
- Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda – 46
- Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., KTM – 42
- Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha – 42
- Cole Thompson, Brigden, Ontario, Honda – 32
Past Winners in Indianapolis
March 12, 2011: Ryan Villopoto
February 20, 2010: Ryan Villopoto
February 28, 2009: Chad Reed
March 1, 2008: Chad Reed
March 24, 2007: James Stewart
March 04, 2006: Ricky Carmichael
February 12, 2005: Ricky Carmichael
March 20, 2004: Mike LaRocco
March 01, 2003: Ricky Carmichael
February 09, 2002: David Vuillemin
February 10, 2001: Ricky Carmichael
February 12, 2000: Jeremy McGrath
April 24, 1999: Ezra Lusk
February 14, 1998: Jeremy McGrath
February 15, 1997: Jeff Emig
March 30, 1996: Jeremy McGrath
March 18, 1995: Jeremy McGrath
March 19, 1994: Jeremy McGrath
April 24, 1993: Jeremy McGrath
March 21, 1992: Jeff Stanton
Supercross Lites Class
March 12, 2011: Ryan Sipes
February 20, 2010: Christophe Pourcel
February 28, 2009: Austin Stroupe
March 1, 2008: Trey Canard
March 24, 2007: Ryan Dungey
March 04, 2006: David Millsaps
February 12, 2005: David Millsaps
March 20, 2004: Josh Hansen
March 01, 2003: Branden Jesseman
February 09, 2002: Chad Reed
February 10, 2001: Travis Pastrana
February 12, 2000: Michael Brandes
April 24, 1999: Ernesto Fonseca
February 14, 1998: Ricky Carmichael
February 15, 1997: John Dowd
March 30, 1996: Mickael Pichon
March 18, 1995: Mickael Pichon
March 19, 1994: Ezra Lusk
April 24, 1993: Doug Henry
March 21, 1992: Jimmy Button
Tune into the enhanced exclusive weekly video content from Supercross LIVE! during the entire 2012 season on SupercrossOnline.com, the Official Website of Monster Energy Supercross.
Weekly Supercross LIVE! Video Content Schedule
The Official Supercross LIVE! Pre-Show Race Days at 11 AM Local Race Time
Behind the Scenes with Supercross LIVE! All Day on Race Days
2 Minutes on the Track Race Days at 3:30 & 5:30 PM Local Race Time
And on the Podium Tonight Following Each Round’s Main Events
The Official Supercross LIVE! Post-Show Saturday Nights at Each Round
Toyota Tailgate Talk Wednesdays at 5 PM ET
After The Checkered Flag Thursdays at 5PM ET