2008 U.S. Open Race Report – Night Two

2008 Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open – Night Two
By Kyle Cowling
Photos by Garth Milan

With night one of the 2008 U.S. Open already in the books, L&M San Manual Yamaha's James Stewart was on the verge of clinching a quarter of a million dollars. While Bubba had everything to lose, his biggest threat, Chad Reed, had nothing to lose after a DNF last night when his rear brake pedal was ripped off his Suzuki, compliments of some rubbing in the first turn with Lites teammate Ryan Dungey. However, if last night's festivities were an indication of anything, it was that anything can and will happen; and tonight's racing was no exception as the long-awaited battle between Reed and Stewart emerged for well over 15 laps. To find out what exactly happened tonight in Sin City, continue on for all of the racing highlights.

HEAT 1 (Top Three Advance)
As the gate dropped on the first heat race of the evening, it was Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki pilot Michael Byrne grabbing the holeshot and the early lead with fellow teammate, Chad Reed, just behind him. Reed, however, was able to make his way around Byrne just after the whoop section to take control of the lead. Red Bull Honda's Andrew Short also made his way around the number 26 of Byrne before the end of the opening lap. Meanwhile, further back in the pack, Factory Yamaha rider, Josh Hill, found himself buried in the back of the pack and was forced to work his way through the 12-rider field. At the conclusion of the eight-lap heat race, Reed was able to put a comfortable six-second lead on Short for the win

1. Chad Reed (SUZ)
2. Andrew Short (HON)
3. Michael Byrne (SUZ)

HEAT 2 (Top Three Advance)
When things got underway for heat number two, it was Factory Yamaha pilot Broc Hepler taking the holeshot. Just behind Hepler were Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki's Ryan Dungey and Xtreme/Motorsports/Kawasaki's Thomas Hahn in the third spot. Though Dungey was on the 250F, it didn’t hold him back from throwing down a lap time of 44.027 compared to Hepler's (who was on the 450) 44.203. With only three laps in the books, Dungey was putting all kinds of pressure on the Yamaha pilot for the lead and just before they rounded the finish line to begin lap four, Dungey was able to find his way around the number 60 of Hepler for the lead. Once Dungey found his way around Hepler, he was able to put four seconds between himself and Broc. Not only did RD10 take the heat race win, but he also used the clear track to his advantage, laying down a 43.413

1. Ryan Dungey (SUZ)
2. Broc Hepler (YAM)
3. Thomas Hahn (KAW)

HEAT 3 (Top Three Advance)
In the final heat race of the evening, the holeshot went to none other than L&M Yamaha's James Stewart with Ivan Tedesco and Justin Brayton rounding out the top three. While Stewart wasted no time putting some distance between himself and the rest of the field, Hot Sauce was starting to receive some pressure from Brayton; however, Tedesco was able to pick up the pace just enough to hold the hard charging KTM rider at bay for the remainder of the heat race.

1. James Stewart (YAM)
2. Ivan Tedesco (HON)
3. Justin Brayton (KTM)

SEMI 1: Josh Hill (YAM)
SEMI 2: Matt Boni (HON)
SEMI 3: Nico Izzi (SUZ

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LCQ 1: Dan Reardon (HON)
LCQ 2: Daniel Blair (HON)


After wrapping up all of the qualifying, it was time to produce a champion inside the MGM Grand for the 10th annual U.S. Open. When the gate hit terrafirma, Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki's Chad Reed took the holeshot and the early lead. James Stewart suffered from a terrible start, but at the end of the first lap, Stewart had moved his way into third place, behind fellow Yamaha teammate Broc Hepler. However, Bubba wasted no time behind Hepler and quickly made his way into second place and began setting his sights on Reed. Just behind the top three was Red Bull Honda's Ivan Tedesco and Andrew Short rounding out the top five. Last night's third place finish, Josh Hill, ran into some issues in the early stages of the 20-lap main event and was never able to find his groove. Meanwhile, Shorty eventually found his way around teammate Tedesco and both Short and Hot Sauce were starting to put pressure on Hepler for third until Hepler went down, handing both Honda pilots a free position. Meanwhile, up front, Bubba was slowly reeling in Reed. Bubba had the advantage in a rhythm section right after the finish line where he was going triple triple. Reed, however, was going double, triple, single. At the halfway point, Stewart was only 0.854 seconds behind Reed and looking to find an opening to take over the lead. A little ways behind the top two, Shorty ran a lonely third place, and Ryan Dungey had moved his way around Tedesco to take over fourth place. Up front, Stewart attempted to make his bid for the lead on lap 15 through the triple triple section, but Reed shut him down and was able to pull a bike length lead over the Yamaha pilot. However, only one lap later, Reed would go down in flames in the triple triple section, flying over the bars and into the opposing lane, handing Stewart the lead and the eventual race win.”I really have no idea what happened,” said Reed when we asked him about his get off. “I’m going to watch the tape to see what I did. It was so quick, so I really can’t tell you what I did.”

1. James Stewart (YAM)
2. Andrew Short (HON)
3. Chad Reed (SUZ)
4. Ryan Dungey (SUZ)
5. Ivan Tedesco (HON)
6. Michael Byrne (SUZ)
7. Dan Reardon (HON)
8. Thomas Hahn (KAW)
9. Justin Brayton (KTM)
10. Nico Izzi (SUZ)
11. Broc Hepler (YAM)
12. Josh Hill (YAM)
13. Daniel Blair (HON)
14. Matt Boni (HON)

1. James Stewart 1-1
2. Ivan Tedesco 2-5
3. Ryan Dungey 5-4
4. Andrew Short 12-2
5. Justin Brayton 4-9
6. Josh Hill 3-12
7. Michael Byrne 7-6
8. Chad Reed 14-3
9. Thomas Hahn 8-8
10. Broc Hepler 6-11