In front of 59,919 fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey captured his first win of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship season on a night that resulted in a major shakeup in the 450SX Class standings.
In the third race of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo captured his second career victory to extend his points lead.
Smartop MotoConcepts Racing’s Mike Alessi secured the Nuclear Cowboyz holeshot to start the 20 lap 450SX Class Main Event and was followed by Dungey and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac.
Behind them several of the championship’s leading title contenders encountered misfortune, as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, the 450SX Class points leader, and Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, second in the standings, crashed on the start straight.
Just a few feet in front of them, Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, third in the championship, crashed in the first turn. All three riders were able to get back on their bikes and re-enter the race at the tail end of the 22-rider field.
Out front Alessi had established a gap over Dungey and Tomac, but Dungey soon closed the deficit and made a pass for the lead on lap four. Once out front, Dungey pulled away to a comfortable margin.
Tomac battled with Alessi for the runner-up spot for several laps until Alessi crashed on lap 12. Meanwhile, Villopoto had mounted an impressive charge through the field and moved into fourth following Alessi’s crash while Roczen went down on the same lap while running eighth.
Dungey continued to pull away and won his 14th-career 450SX Class Main Event by nearly seven seconds.
“We needed that win, it’s been a long season,” said Dungey, who became the fifth different 450SX Class winner this season.
“The track got really torn up tonight, but it feels good [to get the win]. I got up front pretty early and was able to hold a good pace, and not do anything stupid. It was one of the toughest races of the season for sure. We have to keep taking [the championship] one race at a time. It’s a great series with a lot of good riders so you have to just keep plugging away.
Tomac posted a career-best finish in second, as did Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Cole Seely in third in his first 450SX Class start of the season filling in for injured riders Justin Barcia and Trey Canard. Villopoto held on for fourth, with Stewart finishing seventh and Roczen 21st as a result of a DNF.
The championship standings experienced a shakeup as a result of the contenders’ various fortunes. Villopoto maintained possession of the lead, which now sits at 23 points over Dungey, who jumped from fourth to second. Roczen fell to third and faces a 26-point deficit, while Stewart dropped to fourth and is 30 points behind Villopoto.
The Factory Metal Works Honda’s Vince Friese began the 15 lap Eastern Regional 250SX Class Main Event by racing to the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot, with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Martin Davalos and Cianciarulo in tow.
Shortly thereafter Davalos took over the lead while Cianciarulo followed into second. GEICO Honda’s Matt Bisceglia moved into third a short time later. Davalos led the first six laps of the race but crashed, allowing Cianciarulo to move into first and Bisceglia into second. Davalos remounted in third.
Cianciarulo opened a comfortable lead over Bisceglia, which allowed him to maintain the position despite a brief fall on lap seven. Once back on two wheels, Cianciarulo pulled away again to win by over five seconds.
“I’m definitely happy with my ride, it was more of a smart race for me,” said Cianciarulo. “I knew the whoops would be key because they really deteriorated. I had a couple close calls early on, but was able to keep it close to Martin [Davalos]. He made a mistake and I was able to capitalise on it. I almost gave it back a little bit later, but I got back on the bike quick and kept the lead.”
Davalos recovered from his crash to finish second, while GEICO Honda’s Justin Bogle passed his team-mate late to secure his second straight third place result.
Cianciarulo extended his lead in the 250SX Class Eastern Regional Championship to five points over Davalos. Bogle moved into third, 16 points out of the lead.
Monster Energy Supercross visits Daytona International Speedway next Saturday, March 8, for the 10th race of the 2014 season.