Daytona Supercross Insider

March 9, 2009
Coverage Provided by Vital MX

Just when you think things couldn’t get better in the series…

Daytona’s always an interesting race. You’ve got a really rough track that’s a lot longer than usual. Then there’s the mix of tribes, as the Supercross guys check out the road race action, and the road racers come by to check out the Supercross. (We spotted Yamaha’s Josh Hayes talking with Davi Millsaps and Michael Byrne after practice, and Daytona 200 winner Ben Bostrom hanging out during pre-race ceremonies. Heck, even a few of NASCAR’s stars (Johnson, Vickers, and Harvick, along with Joe Gibbs and Ricky Carmichael) jumped over from Atlanta to Daytona on Saturday night to stop by before returning there for Sunday’s race.
James Stewart crash - Daytona
You can see Stewart falling after grabbing too much front brake in the first corner.

Of course, there’s also the chance to roost on the beautiful green grass in the infield at Daytona.

Ah yes, the grass. It seemed to have played a major factor in the Supercross results on Saturday night, after James Stewart appeared to grab a bit too much front brake heading into the first turn. That caused a chain reaction crash, which took down not only Stewart, but Michael Byrne, Josh Hill, Andrew Short, among others. It also caused nearly everyone else to check up, or take come kind of evasive tactics. Chad Reed didn’t get a great start, but he had a front row view of the action. “I was somewhat caught up in the first turn as well,” said Reed. “I think James just came in there and grabbed a handful of front brake and washed out. I was pretty much just trying to avoid the carnage.”

After the crash, it was Mike Alessi (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) and Jason Lawrence (Boost Mobile / ampm / Monster Energy / Troy Racing) who had broken away from the pack and were out front. Jason had actually set the fastest lap times during practice, and after three laps he dispatched Alessi and began building a solid lead.

Reed eventually reeled in Lawrence, making up over ten seconds on Lawrence in his first “real” 450 ride. Of course Jason rode practice the weekend prior in Indy, but dropped out before the start of the night show, with an ongoing stomach ailment.

Supercross Podium - Daytona
Reed takes his second win of the season followed by Jason Lawrence and Davi Millsaps.

Lawrence was impressive in his ride, and later said, “I would have been happy with anything in the top ten, honestly. Just to get around the track 20 times with the level of fitness I’m at right now. I think I was the only guy who wasn’t in the first turn pileup. These guys to my right (Reed and Millsaps) were, so they had a hard race. I was kind of handed the race, and had a huge gap on Chad, which he shouldn’t have been able to close up. But it’s so hard with someone like that behind you, and you know what they can do.”

“When I’ve watched all the 450 races this year, I see what he does when he has a bad race. At the end he just keeps clicking them off going faster, and I was definitely not in that situation. I was kind of dropping off, getting a little slower. I definitely didn’t want to battle Chad too hard, and force him into putting me off the track or taking myself out…something like that. So I just kind of played it smart, and here I am in second. It’s good. It’s better than being out there in the sand, face down.”

So what was going through his mind while he was out front? “I kind of felt a little Josh Grant-ish at Anaheim 1, like I was going to pull off some crazy upset. That wasn’t the case, but I just tried to stay calm. It wasn’t really too bad, because I had Alessi behind me and he wasn’t turning the fastest lap times for the first ten laps. I was getting a pretty big lead and though I might be able to take it, but I got tired.”

When asked how he felt afterward, he quipped, “I’m still kind of tired, but I can work on that.” When Chad quipped, “You’re going to bed right now?” Jason replied, “Yeah, I’m getting out of here right now, and going to the gym in the morning.”

Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps finished third on the night, though his main event had a rough beginning…and end. “I got caught up in everything, and had to literally back my bike up, and watch Bubba get on Hill’s bike. I got a little laugh out of that one, so that made my night. I mean, no offense to Bubba. That had to suck. From there I just picked off one-by-one, and ended going from almost dead last to third.”

Jason Lawrence - Indianapolis
Lawrence suprised everyone by taking the early lead and staying ahead of Reed for several laps.

As for the end of the main, he said, “Me and Alessi came together. I hit him in the corner and his bike ended up landing on me. I kind of hit him that hard. I didn’t mean to, but hey, I ended up third.”

Of course, for Chad Reed, this might have taken a little bit of the sting out of last year’s DNF in the mud with only two corners to go. “It’s tough to make up for last year. That walk back to the pits last year was long. This walk will definitely be much more enjoyable. You know what, I felt I rode a good race last year. I felt I rode solid in the muddy conditions, and unfortunately, dirt bikes don’t run on water, and mine quit two turns from the end.”

I wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be, and that kind of hurt a little bit. I was lucky it was this guy’s (Lawrence’s) first race, and that he hasn’t been racing a whole lot.

Regarding Jason’s second-place finish, Chad said, “When you’re going for your first 450 race win, and you’re in Daytona, it’s pretty special. Especially around the crap that this kid goes through. I think it would have been pretty special for him to win, but he made it pretty easy on me as he did in the heat. I have a lot of respect for him.”

This was Chad’s third Daytona Supercross win, having also won in 2004 and 2005. It’s also his second-straight win of the season, and Suzuki’s sixth win in the event. With his second win in a row, he now has an 11-point lead over James Stewart. Things are getting interesting in the title chase. There’ll be no runaway champ this year.

Christophe Pourcel and Martin Davalos - Daytona
Pourcel and Davalos battling for the top spot.

In the Lites class, for much of the main event, it looked like Muscle Milk MDK KTM’s Martin Davalos might be taking his first Supercross main event win. But championship leader Christophe Pourcel (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) had other ideas, and he hunted down Martin with three laps to go. That gives Pourcel his third main event win of the ’09 season, and a 15-point lead in the title chase.

Up until now, Austin Stroupe had been Pourcel’s closest competition, but a tangle and crash left Pourcel with a DNF, and a big hit to his title hopes.
Next week, the series returns to New Orleans, and you can check back here for more on the Supercross Insider.

2009 Monster Energy Supercross Results:
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL

Supercross Lites Heat 1
1. Nico Izzi
2. Darryn Durham
3. Martin Davalos
4. Josh Lichtle
5. Matt Goerke
6. Matt Lemoine
7. Levi Kilbarger
8. Brad Ripple
9. Jason Thomas

Supercross Lites Heat 2
1. Austin Stroupe
2. Christophe Pourcel
3. Wil Hahn
4. Daniel Blair
5. Steven Clarke
6. Kyle Keylon
7. Vince Friese
8. Blake Wharton
9. Shane Sewell

Supercross Heat 1
1. James Stewart
2. Kevin Windham
3. Ryan Villopoto
4. Ryan Sipes
5. Mike Alessi
6. Heath Voss
7. Michael Byrne
8. Benjamin Coisy
9. Timmy Ferry

Supercross Heat 2
1. Josh Hill
2. Chad Reed
3. Jason Lawrence
4. Matt Boni
5. Andrew Short
6. Tyler Bowers
7. Broc Hepler
8. Kyle Chisholm
9. Tommy Hahn

Supercross Lites LCQ
1. Branden Jesseman
2. Broc Tickle

Supercross LCQ
1. Davi Millsaps
2. Ivan Tedesco

Supercross Lites Main Event
1. Christophe Pourcel (Kawasaki)
2. Martin Davalos (KTM)
3. Nico Izzi (Suzuki)
4. Matt Lemoine (Yamaha)
5. Wil Hahn (KTM)
6. Matt Goerke (Suzuki)
7. Darryn Durham (Yamaha)
8. Broc Tickle (Yamaha)
9. Blake Wharton (Honda)
10. Kyle Keylon (Honda)
11. Daniel Blair (Honda)
12. Levi Kilbarger (Honda)
13. Branden Jesseman (Kawasaki)
14. Vince Friese (Honda)
15. Shane Sewell (Yamaha)
16. Steven Clarke (Suzuki)
17. Josh Lichtle (Honda)
18. Brad Ripple (Honda)
19. Austin Stroupe (Kawasaki)
20. Jason Thomas (Honda)

Supercross Main Event
1. Chad Reed (Suzuki)
2. Jason Lawrence (Yamaha)
3. Davi Millsaps (Honda)
4. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
5. Kevin Windham (Honda)
6. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
7. James Stewart (Yamaha)
8. Andrew Short (Honda)
9. Ryan Sipes (KTM)
10. Tommy Hahn (Kawasaki)
11. Josh Hill (Yamaha)
12. Broc Hepler (Yamaha)
13. Ivan Tedesco (Honda)
14. Tyler Bowers (Honda)
15. Heath Voss (Honda)
16. Kyle Chisholm (Yamaha)
17. Benjamin Coisy (Honda)
18. Matt Boni (Honda)
19. Timmy Ferry (Kawasaki)
20. Michael Byrne (Suzuki)

Supercross Lites East Point Standings
1. Christophe Pourcel 97
2. Nico Izzi 82
3. Austin Stroupe 59
4. Martin Davalos 56
5. Wil Hahn 52
6. Branden Jesseman 51
7. Matt Lemoine 47
8. Blake Wharton 46
9. Steven Clarke 40
10. Matt Goerke 38

Supercross Point Standings
1. Chad Reed 224
2. James Stewart 213
3. Andrew Short 163
4. Ryan Villopoto 153
5. Ivan Tedesco 140
6. Josh Grant 138
7. Davi Millsaps 136
8. Mike Alessi 131
9. Kevin Windham 128
10. Timmy Ferry 100

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