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Phoenix: Bank One Ballpark preview

Carmichael, Mcgrath and Vuillemin vying to become first two-time winner at Bank One Ballpark PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA EA Sports Supercross Series races have been held at Bank One Ballpark since 1999 and in those years there have been three ...

Carmichael, Mcgrath and Vuillemin vying to become first two-time winner at Bank One Ballpark

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- AMA EA Sports Supercross Series races have been held at Bank One Ballpark since 1999 and in those years there have been three different winners -- Jeremy McGrath (1999), David Vuillemin (2000) and Ricky Carmichael (2001). This Saturday, Jan. 26, those three are hoping to become the first two-time Supercross winner in the stadium. For Vuillemin a victory would mean an expansion of his series points lead, for McGrath and Carmichael a win would go a long way in getting their respective seasons back on track.

The Phoenix round of the championship is round four of 16. Coming into this weekend's event Yamaha's David Vuillemin, of France, is narrowly leading the series by five points over Factory Connection Honda rider Mike LaRocco. LaRocco is coming off his first AMA Supercross victory in nearly seven years last weekend in Anaheim, and after just three events Vuillemin and LaRocco have already put some distance on the rest of the competition in the point standings. Team Kawasaki's Ezra Lusk is third in the series, but is a full 27 points behind Vuillemin (a win is worth 25 points).

Former Phoenix winners Carmichael and McGrath are both suffering through bumpy start. Defending champ Carmichael crashed out of the first round of the series and suffered a concussion and a cracked bone in his left hand. RC has soldiered on and has worked his way back to seventh in the standings.

"I just need to start winning races," said Carmichael, who moved to Honda this year from Kawasaki. "I still haven't gotten to ride like I normally ride. I am going to stay out here (in California) this week and try and get something going. I have what it takes to win."

Seven-time AMA Supercross champ McGrath is tied for ninth in the standings and has been riding better every week despite suffering arm pump during the grueling 20-lap races. A win by either Carmichael of McGrath could drastically change the complexion of the season. The same could be said if LaRocco manages to win his second-straight race Saturday. "The Rock" has earned two podium finishes in three years at Bank One Ballpark, but is hungry to earn his first win at the scenic downtown venue. The 15-year supercross veteran stated at Anaheim last week that he definitely doesn't want to wait another seven years before he wins his next race.

The wealth has been spread out a bit more in the AMA 125 West Region Supercross Series. Three different riders have won the three races coming into Phoenix. Leading the way is 16-year-old Floridian James "Bubba" Stewart, who rides for Kawasaki. The rookie sensation has suffered through a number of crashes so far this season -- perhaps the result of being a little too eager to get up front -- but he always seems to be able to bounce back and score good results. David Pingree and Travis Preston join Stewart as 125 West winners coming into this weekend's race. Pingree is second in the standings, 11-points behind Stewart, while Preston is fourth.

AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for professional motorcycle sport in the United States. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

<pre> AMA/EA Sports Supercross Series Schedule Of Events Bank One Ballpark, Phoenix, Arizona

9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.  -  Rider registration and Tech Inspection  at the Venue
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon  -  Bonus Awards Participant/Mechanic registration at the Venue
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon -  Rider Track Walk
11:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon -  Junior Supercross Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 noon - 12:15 p.m. -  Riders Meeting (Mandatory)
12:15 p.m. - 12:30 p.m. -  Junior Supercross Practice
12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.  -  125cc Practice
1:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.   -  250cc Practice
2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.   -  Track Maintenance
2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.   -  125cc Practice
3:15 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.   -  250cc Practice
3:45 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.   -  Qualifying Heats
5:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.   -  Junior Supercross Practice
5:45 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.   -  Track Maintenance
7:00 p.m. - 7:20 p.m.   -  Opening Ceremonies
7:30 p.m. - 7:40 p.m.   -  125cc Heat #1 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
7:40 p.m. - 7:50 p.m.   -  125cc Heat #2 - 6 laps - 20 riders (1st - 9th to Main)
7:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.   -  250cc Heat #1 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main, 5th - 20th to Semi 1)
8:00 p.m. - 8:10 p.m.   -  250cc Heat #2 - 8 laps - 20 riders (1st - 4th to Main, 5th - 20th to Semi 2)
8:10 p.m. - 8:25 p.m.   -  Junior Supercross Exhibition- 3 laps - 15 riders
8:25 p.m. - 8:35 p.m.   -  Track Maintenance (10 minutes)
8:35 p.m. - 8:40 p.m.   -  125cc Last Chance Qualifier - 4 laps - 22 riders (1st - 4th to Main)
8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m.   -  250cc Semi #1 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main, 6th - 16th to LCQ)
8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.   -  250cc Semi #2 - 6 laps - 16 riders (1st - 5th to Main, 6th - 16th to LCQ)
9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m.   -  Track Maintenance/ EA Sports Challenge Main
9:10 p.m. - 9:20 p.m.   -  250cc Last Chance Qualifier - 6 laps - 22 riders- (1st & 2nd to Main)
9:20 p.m. - 9:25 p.m.   -  125cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:25 p.m. - 9:45 p.m.   -  125cc Main Event - 15 laps - 22 riders
9:50 p.m. - 9:55 p.m.   -  250cc Rider's Parade Lap
9:55 p.m. - 10:15 p.m.  -  250cc Main Event - 20 laps- 20 riders

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Ricky Carmichael , David Vuillemin , Jeremy McGrath , Ezra Lusk , Mike LaRocco