Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki rider picks up 13th career win at Minneapolis
MINNEAPOLIS (Feb. 21, 2004) — Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James Stewart added his name to the AMA history books with a 125 main event win on Saturday night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The 18-year-old, two-time AMA 125 Champion registered the 13th main event win of his career and tied Jeremy McGrath as the all-time 125 Supercross win leader.
Stewart seems destined to break his childhood idol’s record and add yet another chapter to his Kawasaki racing career. With another win next week in Atlanta, Stewart can place his name alongside former Kawasaki rider Ricky Carmichael as the sport’s winningest 125 riders. Carmichael set the record of 26 Motocross titles while riding for Kawasaki, a mark Stewart hopes to eclipse later this summer.
On Saturday, Stewart was again dominant, putting in lap times that were consistently two seconds faster than the field. As has been the case so often throughout his career, his lap times were within one-half second of Kevin Windham and Chad Reed’s in the 250 class.
After easily winning his heat race, he was forced to overcome a mid-pack start in the main event. He worked his way through the pack and, by the end of the first lap, had caught up to the leader, Josh Hansen. The two nearly collided in mid-air over a triple jump as Stewart served notice he was on the move. He would pass Hansen in the next turn and sprinted to the lead. He wound up winning by a 7.724-second margin and claiming his second consecutive win of the season.
“I think the track suited my style this week and I was able to use it to my advantage in some areas, said Stewart, who was noticeably faster in the rhythm section before the finish line. “I was sick all week and hadn’t ridden at all since last Saturday in Houston, so I wasn’t sure what to expect for 15 laps.
“Tying McGrath’s record is really cool. It was definitely one of my goals before the start of the season. He’s the best the sport’s ever seen and I’m just lucky to have a chance to break one of his records.
Stewart’s success wasn’t the only reason for celebration in Minneapolis as Paul Carpenter made his Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki debut aboard the Kawasaki KX250F four-stroke. Carpenter, out of action since breaking a bone in his right wrist in December, was released by his doctor on Tuesday to return to competition. He finished his first 125 main event in 12th place and figures to improve as his stamina and conditioning improve.
Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki/Chevy Trucks’ Eric Sorby followed up last week’s third place main event finish with an 11th place showing this week.
Stewart now has a 15-point lead over Broc Hepler in the 125 Eastern Region Supercross standings, 50 to 35. Sorby is fifth with 30 points. Carpenter is 12th.
In the 250 class, Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki rider Michael Byrne grabbed the holeshot in the 250 main event and went on to finish 9th in the 20-lap feature. Windham was the winner.
Byrne is in 6th place in the point standings, trailing Damon Huffman by one point, 109 to 108. Reed is the leader with 191.
The THQ AMA Supercross Series heads east for the annual event at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.