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Dungey Brings Double-Digit Points Lead into SX Debut in San Diego’s Petco Park

| 4 February 2015 12:01 pm

Monster Energy Supercross Series
Round 6: Military Appreciation Race at Petco Park

Courtesy of Feld Motor Sports
Photos by Kardy Photos
SAN DIEGO, CA, FEB. 2, 2015

On a night in which he had the opportunity to make a major statement in the title fight for the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey seized the moment in Anaheim, California’s Angel Stadium to claim his first win of the season. Entering the night as the new 450SX-class points leader, Dungey extended his advantage to double digits heading into this weekend’s Southern California finale on Saturday night, with the series’ inaugural visit to San Diego, California’s Petco Park and the second Military Appreciation Race. In the Western Regional 250SX-class Championship, the breakout season of Yamalube/ Star Racing Yamaha’s Cooper Webb continued, as he claimed his third win in five races.

Ryan Dungey, extending his championship points lead in Anaheim.

Ryan Dungey, extending his championship points lead in Anaheim.

The Military Appreciation Race signifies the world’s premier off-road motorcycle racing series’ paying tribute to the members of the United States Armed Forces, in support of Operation Homefront, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides assistance to service members and their families, with a focus on wounded veterans who served on or after 9/11. In recognition of their dedicated honor and services, members of the military can save $10 on tickets at Ticketmaster with the code OPHOME. Military members will also be granted free access to the Pit Party by showing a valid military ID (limit one entry per ID).

Saturday night’s race will air live on Fox Sports 1 at 7 p.m. PST/ 10 p.m. EST. Live coverage from San Diego will also be available on the authenticated Fox Sports Go app. On Saturday, February 7, fans can log on to www.SupercrossLive.com to watch “Supercross: Race Day Live” with Jim Holley and Andy Bowyer from 12:50 p.m. PST/ 3:50 p.m. EST to 4:50 p.m. PST/ 7:50 p.m. EST.

Here are some key insights to watch for heading into this Saturday night’s race…

Who will be the first-ever winners at Petco Park? Monster Energy Supercross has raced in San Diego for 31 years, but this will be the first year the event has been held outside of Qualcomm Stadium.

Can Dungey earn back-to-back wins for the first time since 2012, claiming his – and KTM’s – first victory in San Diego? By doing so, he would be become the first consecutive race winner of the 2015 season.

Will Ken Roczen return to the top step of the podium and chip away at the deficit he faces to Dungey in the championship points standings?

Can the Honda-mounted duo of Trey Canard and Eli Tomac continue their upward progression in the championship? They currently sit tied for third.

Will the 450SX class see its fifth different winner in six races?

Will San Diego have its fifth different winner in as many years? Only Davi Millsaps and Chad Reed have won in San Diego before, and both have yet to win in 2015.

With Cole Seely’s podium finish last weekend, Justin Barcia, Davi Millsaps and Blake Baggett are the only top-10 riders in the championship standings without a podium result this season.

Will Cooper Webb earn his fourth win in five races and continue to extend his points lead?

The last five 250SX-class wins in San Diego have come from Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki and GEICO Honda. Will they continue their dominance?

The Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki team is winless thus far in 2015. Will it earn its first win this weekend? How will Tyler Bowers bounce back from the adversity he faced in Anaheim?

After taking over second in the points, will Jessy Nelson be able to narrow his deficit to Webb?

Can Justin Hill earn his first win for Red Bull KTM? He won his first career race in San Diego last season. A victory would give him back-to-back San Diego wins on two different brands of motorcycles.

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Dungey was nearly perfect in Anaheim, leading both timed practice sessions, winning his heat race and capping off his evening by leading 19 of the 20 laps in the main event. He entered the night with a slim four-point lead over RCH Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s Factory Suzuki’s Ken Roczen, but he left with a double-digit 11-point advantage after Roczen’s fourth-place finish.

“The whole day was great!” said Dungey on the podium. “We went out there and got a good start, got into the lead and led all of the laps. That is all we can do. We’ve finished fourth, third, second, second and now first [this season], and that is a step forward. We will continue to take it race by race and give it everything we have.”

Dungey’s continued consistency has been the biggest factor in his current position. He’s finished no worse than fourth in five races and is in the midst of a four-race podium streak, including finishes of second, second and first the last three weeks.

Cole Seely (14) captured second place in the 450SX main event in Angel Stadium.

Cole Seely (14) captured second place in the 450SX main event in Angel Stadium.

In response to his deficit in the championship and his season-worst finish the week prior, Roczen was in the battle at the front of the field in Anaheim, but he ended up not being a major factor. He battled back from his worst start of the season, in sixth, to move into third on lap 10, but a late pass by GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac on the final lap dropped the German rider off the podium for just the second time this season. It also was the second straight weekend in which Roczen didn’t lead a lap in the main event.

“I started out in practice not feeling the greatest, for some reason,” Roczen commented following the event. “I just felt a little bit off. In the heat race, I didn’t grab that good of a start, but I could kind of sneak around, and then I rode a good race. Same thing happened in the main: I had a horrible start. I don’t know what I was doing. Then [Blake] Baggett held me off for three or four laps, and that’s when the guys in front gapped us. We caught them at one point, but then I got passed by [Eli] Tomac on the last lap, which I’m not happy about. Basically, the starts are what really hurt me. It is what it is. We’re looking forward to this weekend. We finished fourth, which isn’t awesome, but it’s okay.”

Roczen finished on the podium last year in San Diego, and he has been one of the best starters – and finishers – thus far in 2015.

Anaheim 450SX Class Highlights

Canard, Tomac and now Team Honda’s Cole Seely have led the resurgence of the manufacturer this season, looking for the brand’s first title since 2003. Both Canard and Tomac have won already this season and appear to be significant threats for the title, while Seely earned the best finish of his career last Saturday in Anaheim, helping him close in on sixth in the standings.

“Those guys [Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen] were pressuring me toward the end of the race, but I was able to put my head down and hold them off,” Seely said of his runner-up finish; he now has three straight top-10 finishes and has emerged as one of the strongest riders the last three weeks.

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Since breaking through for his first career win at the second race of the season, in Phoenix, Webb has been on a tear in the Western Regional 250SX-class Championship, taking full control of the title fight. Webb has had a flair for the dramatic with his success, which has made this one of the most compelling championship battles in recent years. Each of Webb’s primary competitors – Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil/ Red Bull/ KTM’s Jessy Nelson and Monster Energy/ Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers – have challenged him throughout the season, with Nelson fighting him for the win last Saturday in Anaheim.

Cooper Webb (17) contesting the Western Regional main event in Anaheim.

Cooper Webb (17) contesting the Western Regional main event in Anaheim.

Nelson led the first half of the 250SX main event in Anaheim, but Webb was persistent in his challenge for the lead, and he took control on lap eight, pulling away from there. Since starting the season in seventh, Webb has won three races and finished second to open an 18-point lead in the championship standings.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better race,” Webb said on the podium in Anaheim. “I look forward to keeping the momentum up next weekend in San Diego.”

Nelson earned his third podium finish of the season with a second-place finish and moved into second in the championship as a result. Webb’s Yamalube/ Star Racing Yamaha teammate Aaron Plessinger completed the top three in Anaheim with the first podium result of his career. Bowers, who entered the night eight points behind Webb, crashed in the main event while fighting his way toward the front and had to soldier home for a 15th-place result, dropping him to fourth in the points.

Anaheim 250SX Class Highlights

During last year’s 450SX main event in San Diego, Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart won his first race of the season at Qualcomm Stadium at the first-ever Military Appreciation Race. In the Western Regional 250SX class, Justin Hill won the first Western Regional 250SX main event of his career.

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Tickets are available at the Petco Park box office beginning February 3, 2014, and at all Ticketmaster outlets, or you can charge by phone at 800/745-3000 or online at www.SupercrossLive.com or www.ticketmaster.com.

Practice and qualifying begin at 12:30 p.m. and the main event will start at 6:30 p.m. Ticket Prices: Club Level – $75 for all seats; Gold Circle – $65 for all seats; Mid-Level – $50 for all seats; Field – $45 for all seats; Upper Level – $35 for all seats; Treadhead – $20 for all seats. Fans can also get into the pits for free from 12:30 to 6 p.m. on race day when they recycle a Monster Energy can at the stadium’s pit entrance. (This offer valid only with event ticket.)

For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossLive.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross.

[For more from the fifth round of the Monster Energy Supercross Series, please see “Dungey Dominates at Angel Stadium for First SX Win of 2015” … Editor]

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