Following nine consecutive weeks of competition and 14 nights of action, AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, is coming off its lone break of the season to bring the 2013 season to a close on Friday and Saturday night in Denver. The inaugural Race to the Championship has produced exceptional competition through the first three of its final four rounds of the season, and this weekend Babbitt’s Monster Energy/ASMOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Bowers will bring a two-race winning streak and a six-point lead in the standings into the final two nights of the year from the Denver Coliseum. Broadcast coverage of the action can be seen Sunday on SPEED, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Bowers captured his 10th overall win of the season at the previous stop of the championship in Kansas City two weeks ago, giving him a surge of momentum coming into this weekend’s Denver stop. On the podium, Bowers revealed that he suffered a broken collarbone while practicing for the opening round of the Race to the Championship three weeks prior and although still recovering from surgery to repair the break, was still able to overcome an early deficit in the showdown and reclaim the top spot coming into Denver.
The two riders who still sit within the closest proximity to Bowers in the standings are Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Jeff Gibson and Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Zach Ames. The duo sits six and seven points out of lead, respectively, and have both performed very well throughout the Race to the Championship. Ames took the overall win in the opening round of the Race to the Championship, his second of the year, and has since finished third and second overall. Gibson captured his first overall win of the season just prior to the start of the Race to the Championship and has a pair of runner-up overall efforts and a third-place result through its first three rounds.
Despite Bowers’ season-worst fifth-place overall finish to start the Race to the Championship, he has overcome a four-point deficit by capturing three of the last four Main Events and back-to-back overall wins. After reclaiming the lead in the Race to the Championship at the second round, Bowers extended his advantage from two points to six by virtue of sweeping last weekend’s pair of Main Events.
Inspired by a playoff format, the Race to the Championship has pitted the top 10 riders against one another for the last three weeks in a winner-take-all battle for the title. Since it began, the on-track competition has intensified with multiple riders taking turns running at the front of the field. However, Bowers, Gibson and Ames have asserted themselves as the riders to beat and now sit in position to engage in a three-way battle for the title this weekend in the Mile High City.
Now more than ever, with two nights of competition set to finish the season, will every lap hold so much significance. The Denver Coliseum has been the site of many great AMSOIL Arenacross battles and this weekend will add to that legacy. Any instance of misfortune for these three riders or the rest of the Race to the Championship field could be the difference between winning and losing the title.
“It all boils down to this,” said Mike Muye, Director of Operations, AMSOIL Arenacross. “This has been a landmark season for AMSOIL Arenacross and a lot of history has been made since we started racing in January. With only two nights left, we will be witness to an incredible pair of evenings that are sure to provide the best racing of the entire 2013 season.”
In total, there is a 44-point differential from Bowers at the top of the Race to the Championship standings to Ankle Savers Kawasaki’s Gared Steinke in 10th. A total of 64 points are available in the pair of Main Events scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night, meaning each of the 10 riders in the Race to the Championship could still walk away as AMSOIL Arenacross Champion.
AMSOIL Arenacross has not raced in Denver since the 2011 season. That year, Bowers and veteran rider Chad Johnson emerged with the wins over two nights of action.
This weekend’s return to Denver will also determine who will win the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Championship. Currently, just three points separate the top three riders in the championship, led by BWRengines.com Honda’s Maxx Malatia. At the previous stop, Malatia took over the points lead after Ticketwow.com Honda’s Kyle White suffered from misfortune and fell to second in the standings, one point out of the lead. Fellow BWRengines.com Honda rider Kyle White vaulted into title contention by virtue of his podium finish and now sits only three points from the lead.
In addition to the culmination of each respective championship, Denver will also serve as the final stop for the inaugural year of the Ricky Carmichael Road to Supercross program, The Road to Supercross is the official advancement system for Monster Energy Supercross, requiring riders to earn at least three Road to Supercross points in AMSOIL Arenacross competition in order to obtain a license to compete in Monster Energy Supercross. Friday and Saturday night will be the final two opportunities for any riders still in search of their license.
The five-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion, Ricky Carmichael, will also be in attendance this weekend to not only spread the word of the Road to Supercross, but also lend his support to the championship contenders. Carmichael will be on hand to spend time with the fans, signing autographs at the post-race sessions on Friday and Saturday night, as well as Saturday’s pre-race Monster Energy Track Party.
The final two nights of the AMSOIL Arenacross season from the Denver Coliseum kick off on Friday, March 15, before coming to a dramatic conclusion on Saturday, March 16, when a pair of champions will be crowned. Both nights of action begin at 9:00 p.m. ET. Next-day broadcast coverage will air exclusively on SPEED on Sunday, March 17, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.
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