News 10 Apr 2010

AMA SX: Dungey leads championship into Houston round

Ryan Dungey has had an incredible rookie season in the 450cc category.

Ryan Dungey has had an incredible rookie season in the 450cc category.

Since 1974, the city of Houston has been synonymous with AMA Supercross, and this weekend the tradition will continue as the 13th stop of the 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, unfolds inside of Reliant Stadium.

Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, of Belle Plaine, Minn., brings a 21 point lead in the AMA Supercross class point standings, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel, of Groveland, Fla., has an eight-point lead in the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites class championship.

This weekend marks the 44th time the gate will drop for an AMA Supercross class race in Houston. Although the return of defending AMA Supercross class champion James Stewart, who has missed most of the season with a hand injury, is uncertain, he’s inline to tie Jeremy McGrath and Mark Barnett on the all-time AMA Supercross class win list in Houston. Stewart currently owns four main event wins in Houston.

“I’ve had a good couple of weeks of training,” said Villopoto. “I know it isn’t going to be easy to win the title, but I’m going to try and win out and hope things go my way.”

Dungey, a rookie in the premier AMA Supercross class, has four wins on the season and nine podium finishes. His consistency through the first 12 races has paid off.

“Houston should be good. We have a lot of momentum with the points lead, and I’m really focusing on just taking it minute by minute and racing my best,” said Dungey. “Hopefully we can put it together this week and finish well.”

Former two-time AMA Supercross class champion Chad Reed is expected to make his return to racing tomorrow night after suffering a hand injury at the second race of the season in Phoenix.

“I set the fastest lap in Daytona, so I know I have the speed,” said Reed. “I’ve been riding as much as I can and trying to stay in shape for my return. This week should be a fun one for me.”

In the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites class, Pourcel, who won in Houston last year, could become the second rider in history to earn back-to-back wins in Houston. This weekend will be the penultimate race of the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship, and Pourcel will be challenged by Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Austin Stroupe, who won the main event at Reliant Stadium in 2008.

“I’m going to go out and try to win the race,” said Pourcel. “If I win the next two races the championship will take care of itself. I’m not going to think about points or situations; I’m just going to ride like I have all season.”

In five of six races this year, Stroupe has finished in second place.

“I’m heading into Houston glad that we had a week off so that my thumb could heal up,” said Stroupe. “It’s feeling better now and I’ve been practicing. I feel good and my bike is working the way I want it to. I really want to get out front in Houston and make it happen.”

Pourcel will have a teammate on the track with him as Dean Wilson is returning to race after missing the last two events. Wilson was able to re-enter the United States last week and he has been anxiously waiting for the Houston event.

“This has been a tough couple of weeks,” said Wilson. “I’m ready to stop thinking about other stuff and just going out and racing. I’ve finished on the podium once, and I want to finish the season with two more podiums and hopefully even a win.”

After missing seven races due to injury, Andrew Short takes back the reins to his Honda Red Bull Racing CRF450R from fill-in rider Trey Canard this weekend in Houston. Short rejoins teammate Davi Millsaps, who is currently fourth in the championship points race, and will make his return to racing in front of his Houston home crowd.

“I’m really excited to get back to racing at the Houston Supercross this weekend,” said Short. “Everything about my recovery has gone smoothly and according to plan. I started riding my Honda Red Bull Racing CRF450R two weeks ago and I’ve been gradually working my way back up to race pace.

“After missing seven races I’m obviously not in the series points hunt but I’m more than ready to get back on the track and just give it everything I’ve got. This is a local race for me so it should be a lot of fun racing in front of my home crowd.”

GEICO Powersports Honda’s Brett Metcalfe and Justin Barcia head into Houston in top form.

“Things are going well in preparation for this week’s race,” said Metcalfe. “I finished third on the podium last round but it’s time to really step things up with only two rounds to go. I want to finish the season off with a win.”