One might not think that James Stewart would be very happy about a second-place finish, but after following Ryan Villopoto across the finish line last night at Qwest Field, it seemed like Bubba couldn’t have been any happier. Any why not? With Chad Reed finishing uncharacteristic seventh after crashing in the first turn, Stewie took over control of the series points lead with only two rounds to go…
What happened on the first lap? That was a big change on pace to see you and Chad both down on the first turn.
I don't know. I just know somebody went down, I think it was Chad, and then we all were down with him. I don't even remember the whole thing, just things like stalling the bike after the finish, almost crashing, and getting caught up with a few guys. But I was able to get the points lead, which is what all the work is for, and that's all that matters.
When you came around on the first lap and you're way back in the pack, what's going through your head? Did you already know where you were and where Chad was?
That's funny, because after all that carnage, I looked up at all the guys ahead of me and didn't see a red number one, so I knew he was behind me. It's was just important to beat him and I wasn't worried about anybody else. I saw him in back and all I needed to do was get up and get going, and I planned on just going for third, but Millsaps was falling back a bit, so I got by him for second. But I didn't have anything for Ryan, the track was gnarly and he was so gone, there wasn't anything I could do.
This was a crazy turn of events, with you both going one-two every round, and tonight all hell breaks loose in the first turn.
Yeah, at some point in the series it's bound to happen. I rode well all day, and I'm honestly happier now with second than winning. This is a big moment for me, I could have pushed it to go for Ryan, but I knew the track was brutal. So I'll try and win another race and see what happens, just stay consistent with what we've been doing.
What'd you think of that crazy main event? You had some pretty close calls out there.
Oh yeah, dude, when I stalled all I could think was "Baby, if you're gonna start any time, start for Daddy right now!" I was still rolling when I stalled, and she fired up on like the second kick. Then I was going past all these guys, and they'd come down to keep their spot and slam you, so it was crazy because I was in a spot I'm not usually in.
Were you relieved when you crossed the line, because this has got to be the best second you've ever had, right?
Oh yeah, definitely. Man, that's crazy to say this, but I was pumped to get second. (Laughs) Just with how everything went for a lot of guys crashing, my night could have been different and could have been in Chad's position, and I don't like how it feels back there.
So you'll be hitting the links this week after tonight?
I played last week, and I'll be playing this week and the weeks after that too (laughs). My routine never changes, and it shows when I get to the races every weekend