Houston Press Conference: 250cc Reed: "I came into the race just like I went into every other race, just trying to get in there, concentrate on the starts, and put good laps together. That's all I tried to do this weekend. Try and win...
Houston Press Conference:
"I came into the race just like I went into every other race, just trying to get in there, concentrate on the starts, and put good laps together. That's all I tried to do this weekend. Try and win the race, and whatever happened, happened after that."
On Bubba and Reed
"I think we were just going within our means. Never really getting too crazy and killing each other. It was a lot of fun. It was the first time I've got to really battle with James this season, and it was fun."
"I felt really good on the track. I just wanted to get a good start and battle for the lead and be in a good position to win. I kind of missed the jump on the start, but then I went to the inside and did what I had to do. I got into second, and I made a mistake and Ricky got by me, and we just kind of went back and forth, playing a little cat-and-mouse. That wasn't too much fun. And then Bubba got away and I had to play catch-up from there."
"I kind of knew what he was doing when he was doing it, so I kind of just had to be smart and make sure I didn't go down. I was surprised. I didn't think he'd put himself in a vulnerable position like that. I'm a desperate guy. I need to win a title. But I wasn't going to resort to that. All season long, I tried to race clean, so I challenged, but I wasn't good enough to win a title this year. We started off chasing our tail, so it's tough."
"I think Anaheim was a tough race just because of the front brake and things like that, but that's what I was dealt and I had to deal with it. There was plenty of races to go and to get the title back, but I just wasn't able to do it. He rode great at the beginning, and we knew we had a lot of catching up to do. We caught up, but not in points."
Getting another title
"I'm real motivated. I think this year was the first year that I was surrounded by a lot of stuff, and I think I learned a lot this season. I learned a lot about the preparation in the off-season and bike setup, and all season long I felt really strong physically, so that was good for me."
"I think the lappers were playing a big deal, and I was just trying to put good laps together and try and shorten up the distance. Lappers kind of just didn't really do anything. I just made a few little mistakes in the whoops, and I started out really good, but then I changed my line and it wasn't good."
"Not really, that's a long ways away. There's a long outdoor season to go, and then what happens in the off-season planning. Right now I'm planning my off-season, and I'm just looking forward to Vegas, mainly."
"I think everyone's doing the same stuff now. The practices, from the very first lap, are a race. I think it makes it a long weekend, but it kind of keeps it fun. These tracks are getting easier and easier, and I sit back and watch it on the video, and from the very first lap in practice yesterday, we did every jump that we did tonight in the race, so it was pretty crazy and you've got to keep it safe because the pace does get up really high."
"The three of us up here go out to do the best we can, and I knew that he'd give it all he had and he knew what he was doing. In the beginning of the race, it's kind of funny because there was the three of us, and then Lewis was in front and he was kind of battling like he was going to go win the race, and I was just sitting back kind of laughing. It was kind of fun to have someone up there who maybe couldn't win the race, but was battling like it could. That was kind of cool."
How hard was it to make up points on Ricky?
"From the beginning of the season, it was really tough. He was on his game, and I felt like I was put in a position I didn't expect to be in. I was chasing little things every week. I was working on my turns and the whoops and things, and it was fun to go home every week and have to work so hard, but it was tough. He deserved to win the title. He raised the bar and did what it took to win the title."
"I think as Supercross goes, this is the first time I've really battled with James, but I think they have the same thing. They want to win, and they ride hard and they do what it takes. I think that's exciting for the competitors and the fans. We've got a lot of different personalities, and it makes it fun, I think."
"I made the choices I made. Maybe I could've rode a little easier in the mud, but it was what I was dealt with. It wasn't meant to be. You can't change it, unfortunately."
"Practice was fun. They built big whoops, and I was excited for that. I like a challenge out there, and second practice, they kind of knocked them down, and they got kind of tore up from then on. Houston always has a lot of dirt, and good dirt, so it was fun to be here."
James Stewart Sr. making tracks in your favor
"Bring back the berms. I don't know what they can do different, it just seems that we figure them out so quickly and it seems like next year they're going to take away Friday practice, so that will make it a little more interesting. The reason is, from the very first lap, we have it down, and from then on, it's just a stopwatch game for the rest of the weekend. It just wears on you and gets a little boring."
"I went down pretty hard, and actually I kind of got lucky the way I fell. I went back to the pits and I've got to give it up to my mechanic -- he changed the whole bike from the subframe to the front end. It was tough. I was really struggling in the semi, and I got a good start in the main, and like Chad said, Kyle Lewis, he about took me out a few times. He was really going for it. But I got around him and just rode my own pace."
"It was just an accident on my part, and those things happen. There was no bad blood going. I'm sure after the race, he was a little heated, and after the race, I was just pumped to win. I would've said anything. I think it was going to be a good race here either way. Chad rode good last weekend and this weekend, and it was fun."
"I'm sure I would've had a better chance not sitting out 9 races. But you know, I've got to give it up to Ricky. I can't say right now whether it would be me or him or Chad up here. He won. There's nothing else you can say about that. He's the 2005 250 Supercross Champion, and there's nothing me, Chad or anybody else can take away from him. He won fair and square, and I've just got to congratulate him."
"I don't know, kind of the same thing that happened to me in the heat race. Freak accident. I almost had my part about taking his championship away. I want to apologize now. My bike flew right into him. I had a really rough weekend, and like Chad said, the track was just kind of really easy. I went out on the first lap and something was different and I didn't know it, and I just went down off of it. I just had a rough weekend from practice, and I wasn't fastest. I just got through the semi and the heat race and just put it down for 20 laps."
"I'll be fine. I'm just really sore. It's a little hard to breathe out there, but no excuses. If I'd have gotten beat tonight, I definitely wouldn't have blamed it on this. I just saw the work those guys did to get my bike ready, and all the work they've been doing all weekend, and I'm not going to let them down. If I can't ride, I don't want to be able to walk. The biggest thing that changed my whole night around was this is the first race my mom's been to since Phoenix, and we had a serious talk between the heat race and the semi, and that changed a lot of things for me. She doesn't really speak up, but she spoke her mind that time, and it was different."
"If it was power, I think I should be looping out. I should be going the opposite way. I've been endo-ing. The crashes that I've had this year have been really freaky -- nothing where I felt out of control or anything. In the heat race, Chad fell, and next thing I know, I'm picking myself up off the track. It sucks. It's a real bummer to fall and to not know why, but I think I'm just getting used to it, and I feel like I can get up and race with these guys and win some races."
Bubba backs it off, he wouldn't bail and he'd still win
"I definitely hear it from all you guys out here. It's something I really get tired of hearing. It's weird going into practice in Phoenix, and everyone's saying I'm smooth. And then I crashed, and everyone's saying I'm out of control. Whatever happens that weekend is the opinion you guys have about me. The biggest thing is I listen to my team and I listen to my family. I don't listen to nobody else -- just the people who are really supporting me and are behind the Stewart camp. Until I jump the triple and land in the stands, you can't say I'm going too fast. I feel strong, I'm happy, and I've got a great family and team behind me. That's who I listen to the most."
What did your mom say?
"My mom's the backbone of the family. It's me and my dad on the racing part. My dad comes to the races with me on the weekend, and my mom's back doing the tickets, going to the races with my brother, making dinner and stuff like that. She's keeping us in line. She doesn't really speak up about racing, she comes out just to hang out and doesn't say anything. And she told me today, 'Son, I just want you to go out there and have fun. I didn't come to watch you get hurt. If you get 20th, that's fine with me, I just want you when you come off the track to have a smile on your face.' For her not saying anything, and then telling me that, and a couple other things, it really motivated me to go out there. She's not in here right now, but I just want to tell her that I love her."
Dad on track changes
"It's frustrating. Me, Chad and Ricky, we do stuff every weekend that's different from everybody else. It's nice to come back in after first practice and think, 'Maybe I'm not as fast over here, but I've got this combination that I can do,' and I come back in the second practice and it's changed. Then there's people who aren't even making the main in the 125 class doing the same thing. I don't know if they wait for us to do things every weekend, but I've got a word of advice for Ricky and Chad. Let's just roll everything the first two practices and then do it in the main event. They can't change nothing then."
"I don't think anybody in this room thought that I could do it besides the people who are with me every weekend, and all week, and it's awesome to show the non-believers that I can still do it. The only thing that I regret from this title that will disappoint me is that James wasn't in there. That's the only bummer part about it. But I was able to get a title back that everybody wants. I don't care how many races I won, or what I got the last five races, because I know one thing: I've got the number-one plate, and it's all over with."
"It's pretty sweet, for sure. For never being on the bike, it's my first year on the bike, and I'm learning a lot. It was great. It's hard to beat the first of anything. Racing Jeremy McGrath was probably the most fun of my supercross years that I've ever had. This is second-best, if not really close to the best."
"I think that all our contracts were up last year, and it was close between myself and another guy up here, and things just happened to where they took a chance with me and that's the route they went. It was exciting and definitely challenging. I just thank Suzuki for believing in me, my manager -- David Mormon -- and Mel Harris and Roger Decoster for meeting up and putting together a great deal and a great package. They put a lot of things aside from the way they used to do things and they turned things around to where it's a championship team. I wish that I could've had a little bit better results at the end of the series, but I won more races than anybody this year, and I've been on the podium more times than anybody this year, and I don't think there's much to be said."
"I think the team is great. Suzuki's a huge company, along with all of the other manufacturers, but you kind of get the family feel the same as I had with Kawasaki. That's nice. They hadn't won in a while, and there's no Suzuki curse. Not to discredit any of the other riders that they've had on the team. Pastrana, he won the outdoor title and a supercross 125cc title, so they have what it takes. But their riders just didn't get it done. They have a great team, and they get all of the credit. It changed things around. I think they're confident in themselves and their work, and that's important. The mind is an amazing thing."
"I definitely wanted to take my time and not leave any open doors. I was behind Kyle Lewis, and he took the second turn after the triple tight and Bubba went by me and Chad went by me, so I was behind them. Surprisingly, I snuck up behind Chad there and he was trying to make this outside turn work after the long set of hoops, and everybody else was kind of sneaking up the inside. I pulled up alongside him a couple times there, but I couldn't make the pass. It was cat-and-mouse, and if I could get by him, I knew he would square up and try to get me back. I believe if I could've made it stick, I could've ended up beating him tonight, but once I seen it was cat-and-mouse, I said go ahead. Then I just followed him for a while and then just said, 'The hell with it,' and took my third. We're going next week, and I guess I've got no excuses next week. The title's over, and then we'll go to the outdoor season."
Vegas, racing with them
"Definitely. I don't think I'm the same rider as I was. I was watching some tape this week of some old races, and my riding style is different. I'm hesitant. Tonight, the first laps, I should've made a pass on Kyle and been a little more aggressive, but I was afraid of who would cut inside me. Next week, I don't have anything to lose. I'm not going to go out there and ride dirty or anything, but I'm not going to think twice about what the repercussions could be of it, and I'm not going to do anything stupid, either. I think I'll be a different rider, and I should have no excuses."
Top three titles so far
"My 125cc outdoor with Pro Circuit in '97. That was great. My first 250cc supercross was unbelievable, and now this one here. I've had a great career. If you'd have told me I was going to win 7 races and be on the podium 15 times, I would've signed on the dotted line. My goal at the beginning of the year was to win 6 supercrosses. I knew if I could win 6, I'd have a great shot at the title. I did that, then I said I'll try for 8. I'm one shy, and we've got one more race, but I really wanted to get this title under my belt. Now I feel like I don't have anything left on the table. It won't be so mentally tough on me if something goes wrong and I can't win this title next year. I think, in another sense, it will be easier for me because I won't have as much pressure -- but 115 races later, it's been great, and I'm just glad I don't got to race Bubba for another six years or seven years."
"No supercross for me anymore. It's time to move along, and I'm glad that I was fortunate enough to wrap this title up a week early and I'll work hard. I've got something for these guys. Chad is going to step his game up -- he did really good last year outdoors; we dominated. And we've got another guy, and that's James Stewart, and everybody knows how good he is. I know that outdoors is easier for me than supercross, and a lot of people know that, and I'm looking forward to it. I think that we're all going so fast that bike setup is important, and I know how to set my bike up for outdoors. I'm looking forward to racing with these guys. It's fun, the track is wide, and it goes back to how hard you work and who wants to take the most chances, and I like that."
Congratulations on your championship and your position
tonight. I don't know about most of the people in this room, but I
knew you for a long time, and I know your parents, and we all came up out
of Dade City, Florida. It's very, very tough racing you, because we
look at you not only as a racer, but also as a friend of the family and
stuff. So I just want to congratulate you.
"It's funny seeing Bubba up here. (laughs) I'll never forget the time he stayed at my house when he was about this big, and my mom made him go running before Loretta Lynn's and he ran in his motocross socks. My mom made him run like two miles, and he didn't wear shoes -- he ran in his socks. It's funny to see a guy that has excelled so well, and I'm glad that I've been able to race James and a guy like Jeremy and Chad -- it's awesome. I appreciate the kind words, and all the support."
"The second time I ever rode, I was on a Tri-Zinger Yamaha. I don't know if you guys know what that is -- like the three-wheeler thing. I got a little buck-wild over a jump, and I flipped and my helmet went down in the front, and the pipe burned my hair. It never grew back. The doctor said it was supposed to grow back. Now you guys know that story. That's why I never really shaved my head really short because I kind of had a complex about it. But now that I'm married, I don't need to be looking good for the girls -- just my wife."