Villopoto Thrills 49,759 In Houston
HOUSTON — In front of 49,759 fans inside NRG Stadium, the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, made it’s 41st visit to Houston on Saturday night. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto dominated the 450SX Class event to secure his fourth win of the season and extend his advantage in the standings.
In the return of the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship for its seventh race of the 2014 season, Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson captured his fourth win of the season to extend his points lead.
Despite a difficult path to the Main Event that included a hard crash in his Heat Race and a needed win in the Semi, Villopoto put himself up front early after racing to the Nuclear Cowboyz Holeshot Award to start the 20-lap 450SX Class Main Event. Behind him, title contender Ryan Dungey went down aboard his Red Bull KTM and fell to the tail end of the field while Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, who won the last three races heading into Houston, battled to put himself in the top five.
While Villopoto began to open a gap on the field, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia and Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen asserted themselves in second and third, ultimately maintaining those positions throughout the Main Event. Villopoto was never challenged out front, posting a wire-to-wire effort for his most dominant performance of the season and his fourth straight win inside NRG Stadium.
“It was awesome tonight considering everything we had to overcome,” said Villopoto. “With the start the way it was, I don’t think I could have asked for anything more and it made my life easy. The track was tough, but our Kawasaki was able to handle everything. That’s not the way I wanted the Heat Race to go, but we were able to bounce back even stronger.”
Barcia secured his third consecutive podium finish in second, while Roczen finished on the podium for the first time in three races in third. Stewart, who was battling an illness all day, rode to a fifth-place finish that allowed him to take over second in the 450SX Class standings while Dungey battled back from his opening lap crash to pass 11 riders and finish seventh.
Villopoto extended his lead in the championship to 45 points over Stewart as he chases a fourth straight title with three races remaining.