Vital MX Pit Bits: Indy

Are you playing catch-up from the last few days? Here are links to some of the goodies you may have missed.

If you've been to a Supercross this year, or watched one on TV, you've seen the "pit boards" that Toyota has been handing out to fans. As far as we're concerned, they're probably one of the biggest PR hits of the season. But better than that, they provide a constant source of amusement when it comes to seeing what message they deem worthy of emblazoning on there. Occasionally, they're also a gauge of fan sentiment, like the one we spotted asking, "I wonder what Ricky's doin tonight?"

Actually, he was in Lake City, Florida, driving the Monster Energy number 4 late model stock car under the watchful eye of Mark Martin. While his night ended prematurely after some contact early in the main event (he'd finished fourth in his heat race), and finished with some sparktacular contact with the outer wall a few laps later, it was his debut behind the wheel in competition, and it wasn't exactly a hobby stock division. It'll be fun to see how he progresses in future events.

Back on the Supercross circuit, things were pretty much back to normal…minus Ricky's presence. The biggest event of the weekend was the 450 start, where Chad Reed got the jump on James Stewart, and moved over, causing James to back off. Afterward, James held no grudge, " I did a decent job, but Chad had a better jump and cut me off…and he had the right. He had a wheel on me. I just had to back off, otherwise he'd have took my front end. I thought maybe I could squeeze through around the first corner and do my little normal move, but I was too far back. It was all right, we got through it as best we could."

That meant that Stewart rounded the first corner in 19th, but he quickly went to work on the pack in front of him…though it wasn't without a few hair-raising moments. "I think one time through the whoops I got a little hucklebuckle and sideways. I think Millsaps ran into me right before the whoops…it was just carnage back there. I was so far back, you have to expect that racing with all the guys. They probably were shocked to see me that far back."

With a high-speed straight going by the mechanic's area, James didn't really get too many looks at his pit board, so he said he didn't have a good sense of where he was in relation to Reed. So what kind of chance did he give himself of catching the leader? "I didn't know how good my chances were, all I knew was that I was in shape, and I had to push for 20 laps. I knew if I could get up quick enough to keep it within seven or eight seconds I had a chance."

"I didn't know if he was pacing himself to run the last ten laps. I think he knew that I was coming. He picked it up when I got there, but I had to dig a little deeper and pick it up and bust a few hard laps."

James Stewart James Stewart crossing the finish line, and showing where he was on the night, as well as where he is in the AMA and FIM standings.

But overall, James was pretty pleased with the result. "19th to first? I'll take that any day of the week."

Following the race, Chad told a group of journalists, "Right from the time that I rode down the start straight I felt good, and love the track, and I love the dirt, and, uh…man, I'm disappointed and pissed-off. Just little mistakes coming through the lappers, I need to get better at that. A couple of things that were out of my hands…there were a couple of tuff blocks. I landed on one, and got caught up on it, and lost a lot of ground on that lap. Other than that, I felt strong. I felt I could have won tonight. I felt good on the bike, the bike was awesome, and we made a lot of changes between the heat and the main, and I think it was a lot better. I got off to a great start again, and it felt good. I felt great in the whoops."

Indy Supercross main event start Chad Reed (22) got the jump, moved over, and forced James Stewart to shut off.

Chad did also step up his riding during the main, doing a triple/triple/triple section. "I never did it until the main event. I knew that James was doing it. I wanted to do it in the main event right away. I had the holeshot, and was watching where James was. We were just going…it wasn't like he was really just murdering me coming real fast. I would get some clean laps and I felt good, so I was like, 'At this point I'm comfortable doing what I'm doing.' A couple laps I made mistakes and he got right up on me, and then he passed me there. So I was like, 'Hey, I've got to do it. I've got to pull the trigger.' I'm excited. I'm super-pumped that I did that. Normally that's something that you do in the practice and I felt confident in me and my bike, and just coming out of the corner I pulled the trigger and did it. I was happy for that. I almost passed him back, actually, doing it. That was pretty cool."

"I felt like I had a lot of fight in me tonight. Like I said, I feel those mistakes cost me a win, and that's all on me. And I can handle that. I prefer it all on me, because I can go and work on that."

Chad concluded with, "I think that this is by far the best track…prepared, dirt, layout, that I've rode in four years. We're probably going to go to one of the worst dirts next weekend, that we have on the season, and who knows what the layout's going to be. We'll see what next week brings."

Tim Ferry Tim Ferry's having his best-ever Supercross season.

With an "open" spot on the podium, the race was on to see who'd fill it, and for the fourth time this season, Tim Ferry was the man for the job, though it's gotten tougher. "I've got some competition coming up behind me. Grant's riding good, and Millsaps and Windham, they're starting to pick up steam and get up to my speed right now."

Unfortunately for Windham, his bike suffered a mechanical on the first lap, leaving him sidelined for the rest of the race, giving Ferry one less thing to worry about. "I was just trying to look at my lap times and follow Chad and try and stay with him.  I was kind of looking over my shoulder wondering when James was coming around. I had my eye on him, I didn't want to mess him up."

One thing that we've heard people mention lately is that they’re not so into the Supercross because, “It’s boring.” Are you kidding? Sure, there are times when the leader looks like he's putting on a riding clinic, there's always good racing in the pack. With guys like Langston and Short coming back, Davi Millsaps picking up speed throughout the season, and the race for the "open" spot on the podium now that RC is done with Supercross, and there's plenty to watch.

Andrew Short For not having raced in over half a year, Andrew Short turned in a very solid ride and an eighth-place finish.

Grant Lanston Check out the focus in Grant Langston's eyes.He made Chad Reed work to get around him in the heat race.

The other half of the equation is the Lites class, which is offering up way more championship drama than the Lites West ever had this season. Watching Ryan Dungey's struggles after his win at the season-opener in Atlanta, Ben Townley's continued development in the Supercross scene; and the weekly point fluctuations between the series point leader, Ryan Morais and his closest pursuer, Darcy Lange have been pretty fascinating. Coming into Indy, Morais was holding onto a six-point lead. After Indy (despite a horrible start that left him at the back of the pack), he'd extended it to ten points, all without the benefit of a win, but top-five finishes in every round to date. Part of the added point total was due to a first-turn crash by Lange, but Morais put in a great charge that left him fourth at the finish. Ben Townley is now Morais' closest pursuer with two rounds left.

Ryan Dungey Ryan Dungey? A little happy? Yeah, you could say that.

But the win this time around belonged to one very pumped-up Ryan Dungey, and it was fun to watch the talented teen strip off his helmet and goggles, and charge to the top of one of the triples to interact with the crowd. Afterwards he said, "It feels good. You've got to understand where I'm coming from. The last three weeks have just been hard. I knew I had the speed to do it, and there was stuff happening…it was a test from God, that's what I think it was. But I've just got to thank the main upstairs tonight for a great night, and I hope to do more good stuff in the future."

Afterward, Ryan also had words for his dad at the podium, and he later shared what they'd said. Ryan explained that he'd told him, "It ain't a dream. All our life we've always watched TV and, '…that's hopefully going to be us one day, dad,' and I just told him, 'It's not a dream now.' It's emotional, but it's great to be where I'm at today."

About the main event, Ryan said, "I was really happy with myself tonight, being that Townley was right there. For ten laps he was right on me. I just keep my cool, and was being smooth…no mistakes. I knew if I made a mistake, he was going to catch me. I was just trying to be relaxed, fluid, and be smart and consistent out there."

And finally, we're not sure what this pit board is supposed to accomplish, but it's one more example of the kind of messages we're seeing. Hopefully we'll see more creativity from the fans in the stands in the coming weeks.

holding a cup of artificial braveryOkay...but what's that supposed to accomplish? Better yet, who's Chap Reep?

 

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