Crashes Mar Stewart's Night as Reed Wins at St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome Rookie Blake Wharton Captures First Career Supercross Lites Victory ST. LOUIS, Mo. (March 21, 2009) -- In front of 55,815 rabid fans inside St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome,...
Crashes Mar Stewart's Night as Reed Wins at St. Louis' Edward
Rookie Blake Wharton Captures First Career Supercross Lites Victory
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (March 21, 2009) -- In front of 55,815 rabid fans inside St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Chad Reed, of Tampa, Fla., earned his third win of the 2009 Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season and extended his series points lead. In the AMA Supercross Lites class, GEICO Powersports Honda's Blake Wharton, of Pilot Point, Texas, broke through with his first-career victory, ending the stranglehold by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki.
San Manuel Yamaha's James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., was undoubtedly the fastest rider on the track all night, but found himself on the ground on three separate occasions throughout the evening. The ever-consistent Reed took advantage of his rival's misfortune to persevere and take what could be the biggest victory of the season with just five races remaining.
"Like I say every week, you got to be in it to win it and that's what we're doing," boasted Reed, who extended his advantage over Stewart to 11 points. "I'm having a ball out here. The track was just awesome tonight. Travis (Pastrana) designed a great track. I just love this St. Louis dirt. James started hitting his lines early on and pulled away, but I just kept my head down."
JGRMX/Toyota Yamaha's Josh Grant, of Riverside, Calif., led the field through turn one with the holeshot as Monster Energy/Cernics Kawasaki's Paul Carpenter, of Ithaca, N.Y., and Boost Mobile/AMPM/ Troy Racing Yamaha's Jason Lawrence, of Carlsbad, Calif., followed. Both Reed and Stewart found themselves inside the top ten but quickly asserted themselves by moving into the top three by the completion of lap 1. On lap 2, Reed made his move on Grant for the lead while Stewart followed into second. Just two laps later, Stewart worked by Reed with an impressive move and began gapping the field. In his heat race earlier in the evening, Stewart crashed on two occasions and snuck into the main event. He experienced similar problems on lap 14, over-ending his motorcycle and allowing Reed to get by and steal the victory. Stewart would hold on for second while Grant brought home third.
"I just hit neutral," explained Stewart. "I made a mistake in the whoops. Sometimes that's the way it goes you know. I had a rough night with the heat race and stuff. I'm trying my hardest and that's the best I can do. I just keep training so I can give it my best each week. I'll never stop and I'll fight until the end."
Wharton blasted out of the gates in the 15-lap main event to nip Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Austin Stroupe, of Lincolnton, N.C., for the holeshot as Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Nico Izzi, of Murrieta, Calif., followed in third. The trio would remain at the front of the pack throughout the remainder of the main. Wharton fended off the advances of Izzi, who slipped past Stroupe on lap one, throughout the first half of the race and slowly began to pull away. A determined Stroupe reeled in Izzi on the final lap to take second.
"I'm excited," said Wharton, who turned pro last August. "I got the holeshot and just rode my own race. The track was great. My bike was great. It was just a great night. Getting the podium last week gave me the confidence I needed to ride up front. I just want to thank everyone that's supported me this season and in my career."
Points leader, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Christophe Pourcel, of Corona, Calif., suffered from a bad start that placed him in second to last place on lap 1. He would work his way through the field to bring home an impressive fifth place finish and maintain his advantage over teammate Stroupe.