Truth is, I hadn’t attended an Amsoil Arenacross Series race in a couple years and, had never seen the new format; with the afternoon timed qualifiers, evening race heats, the one-on-one match-ups, and the wild ‘n whimsical dual main events. I’d heard rumors though, from the first two rounds, at Worcester, Massachusetts and Baltimore, Maryland – that things were getting chippy, especially between the young guns and the crusty vets on this tour – and it was time for me to investigate these shenanigans first hand. Embarking from a snowy and very chilled Ohio, I was looking forward to the balmy, Southern country air of ol’ Kentucky, only to find it a little less snowy, yet even colder, although the warmed pits of Louisville’s Freedom Hall are always welcoming and, the dozens of old friends and faces renewed my love for this wacky indoor sport.

Justin Buckelew (right), with Jeff Gibson.

I was surprised to see Justin Buckelew hanging about, haven’t heard from him in a while, I guess the former hot-shot is coaching some aspiring pros these days. The orange KTM’s are super popular in Arenacross right now, as their lucrative contingency bonus program makes it very attractive for the aspiring night-show attendees, and podium dwellers alike. There appeared to be about seventy (70) racers attempting to qualify for the night show in both the “Arenacross” and the “Arenacross Lites” class, with this being an Eastern Regional race, for the Lites division. Thirty (30) riders from each class are rewarded for fast lap times by being accepted into the night program, which guarantees the opportunity to whip it good in front of the enthusiastic crowd and, perhaps go home with some loot. Plenty of young guns making their impressions, too – very fast young men like North Carolina’s Jacob Hayes and Ohio’s Aaron Plessinger getting real comfortable battling the established regulars, the local yokels and grizzled vets on this tour, as the junior stars gain valuable points through the “Ricky Carmichael Road-To-Supercross” program. Of course, three-time Arenacross champ- Tyler Bowers is tough to beat and, he was pretty much unbeatable on this night, although Ohio fast guys Willy Browning, Mike McDade and former AX champ Jeff Gibson did their best to make him work.

From the practice sessions to the qualifiers to the heats. I was, quite frankly, disappointed in the lack of drama; I witnessed few intentional take-outs, little bar-banging, paint-scraping, plastic-chewing or bad words exchanged, everybody seemed to get along well…with a lot of smiles and high-fives. Perhaps everybody was on their best behavior because I was in town and, maybe, all hell is going to break loose at an upcoming round. Ricky “The GOAT” Carmichael is slated to be at some upcoming rounds, to officiate, resonate – and marinate…..

In Arenacross racing, saying, \

Bottom line – some great exciting race-action, I loves me some Arenacross,  just wish they’d bring a few rounds back to Ohio – the heart of it all. Cha cha cha.

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