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Atlanta: Round eight preview

REED COMES TO ATLANTA SUPERCROSS WITH SERIES LEAD PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 23, 2006) -- Yamaha's Chad Reed finds himself in the points lead of the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series as the championship moves to Atlanta's Georgia Dome on Feb.

REED COMES TO ATLANTA SUPERCROSS WITH SERIES LEAD

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 23, 2006) -- Yamaha's Chad Reed finds himself in the points lead of the Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross Series as the championship moves to Atlanta's Georgia Dome on Feb. 25, for round eight of the 16-race series. Reed took over the championship chase after a pair of unexpected turn of events in this past Saturday's race in St. Louis.

Defending AMA Supercross champ Ricky Carmichael lost his points lead after his Suzuki suffered mechanical problems resulting from a first-turn crash in St. Louis. He finished 20th, his worst result since crashing out of Anaheim I in 2002. That opened the door for Kawasaki's James Stewart to move into the series lead, but Stewart could not capitalize on the tremendous opportunity handed to him. He crashed as well and spent nearly a lap trying to bend his lever back into place and getting his bike started. Stewart eventually got back in the race, but could only muster a 17th-place finish.

Meanwhile Reed took maximum advantage of his rivals' misfortunes. The 2004 AMA Supercross champ moved past Suzuki's Ivan Tedesco just past half-way and pulled away to a convincing 11.3-second victory. It marked Reed's first victory since the Las Vegas round last year and led to an emotional podium celebration for the Australian rider.

"It's unbelievable," Reed said after winning Saturday. "I've been pulling my hair out this season trying to find my speed. At times I almost felt like giving up. I kept telling myself that it was a long series and I still had what it took to win. I'm so happy for my team. It felt horrible to see them working so hard and not being able to produce the results. I thank my wife and my fans for believing in me. Their support made all the difference in the world. Now we're starting fresh and I'm ready for the second half of the season."

Carmichael dropped to second in the standings, nine points behind Reed. Stewart is now third, eight points behind Carmichael. With Atlanta marking the halfway point, the series is shaping up to be one of the best battles for the championship in many years.

Carmichael has the opportunity to tie Jeremy McGrath for the record of five Atlanta Supercross wins this weekend. The Floridian has won four of the last five races in the Georgia Dome. Reed won the race in 2004. Mike LaRocco is the other former race winner expected in the field on Saturday.

The AMA Supercross Lites East Series kicked off last weekend in St. Louis and Georgia's own Davi Millsaps won the event to take the early series lead. Millsaps, riding for American Honda, will try to keep his momentum going in Atlanta. If he wins Saturday it would mark the first Atlanta Supercross Lites (formerly 125 Supercross) win for Honda since 1993.

Christopher Gosselaar, of the Monster Energy Drink/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, finished a close second in St. Louis, followed by Boost Mobile Yamaha's Branden Jesseman making them among the favorites to challenge Millsaps this weekend.

Tickets for the Atlanta Supercross are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, all participating Yamaha Dealers, at the Box Office, or charge by phone at 404-249-6400. A special Family Section is also available in the Georgia Dome for non-alcoholic family fun. When ordering tickets through Ticketmaster, request the Family Section for an alcohol-free atmosphere. You can also meet the stars of the AMA Supercross Series in the Georgia Dome pit party going from 12:30 -- 5:30 pm.

The St. Louis round will receive next-day coverage on SPEED, Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6:00 pm EST.

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Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , Jeremy McGrath , Chad Reed , Branden Jesseman , James Stewart , Davi Millsaps