Ryan Dungey has chance to expand Supercross lead - latimes.com
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Rookie Ryan Dungey enters tonight’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series race at Angel Stadium as the surprise leader in the standings. With one of the top riders in the series out with a broken hand and the reigning AMA Supercross champion nursing a collection of injuries, Dungey has an opportunity to take a commanding lead in the standings.
Chad Reed, a two-time AMA Supercross champion, is expected to miss the next six weeks after breaking his hand in a crash during the race at Chase Field in Phoenix last Saturday night.
James Stewart, the reigning AMA Supercross champion, crashed with Reed in Phoenix, resulting in his broken hand. Stewart sustained injuries to the right side of his body – shoulder, wrist and ankle – and spent the week in Florida being examined and evaluated by doctors, but said he will race at Angel Stadium in Round 3 of the AMA Supercross Series.
“I don't want to let my fans or my team down,” Stewart said in a release. “They've been really supportive this week while I did what I needed to do. I'm close enough to the points lead and I need to be out there if I'm going to have a shot at another championship.”
Larry Brooks, manager for Stewart’s San Manuel Yamaha team, said Stewart spent 15 hours at a hospital on Wednesday for examinations and tests. He had his right wrist x-rayed twice, but they did not reveal any broken bones, Brooks said.
Stewart is in seventh place in the AMA Supercross standings, 16 points behind Dungey. With Reed out and Stewart racing injured at Angel Stadium, Dungey is looking to capitalize on a strong start to the season. Dungey won the race at Phoenix, finished second at the season-opening race at Angel Stadium and has a nine-point lead over Ryan Villopoto in the AMA Supercross standings.
“Going forward from Anaheim, I knew I could lead laps. I knew I was right up there with the speed and everything,” Dungey said. “I could take a lot from that too and carry that over and learn from that. It was definitely a good experience and one I learned a lot from and one I can keep applying moving forward.”
Stewart won the season-opening race at Angel Stadium two weeks ago. He had to chase down Dungey, who led the first 17 laps of the race. With the rain and bad weather, the next race at Angel Stadium will be much different than the first. The muddy track could be beneficial to Stewart, Brooks said, because the speeds and pace of the races will be much slower than a typical race.
The track has been covered with tarp since Monday, but Dungey said he expects the rain will create some challenging racing conditions.
“Mud is weird,” Dungey said. “One second you feel like I’m winning and I’m doing good and then the next second your face first in the mud. It’s tricky to ride in it and it takes a lot of finesse. It’s something you can’t really control everything and you should enjoy it at the end of the day.”