Davi Millsaps Tightens Grip on Monster Energy Supercross Lead with San Diego Win
Mike Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
The Monster Energy Supercross Series made its way to Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego for its final stop of the season in the state of California.
Overnight rains on Friday made for some slippery conditions in certain spots on the track, which placed a premium on the riders' abilities as they made their way around the facility that also serves as the home of the NFL's San Diego Chargers.
Chad Reed came into this event having won an unprecedented six times at this venue, but it would be a first-time San Diego winner who would claim the top prize by the end of the evening.
After an intense battle at the front of the field, two-time Supercross champion James Stewart won the first qualifying heat race for the 450cc bikes over series points leader Davi Millsaps.
Ryan Villopoto had built a somewhat comfortable lead in the second-heat race after early front-runner Justin Barcia literally fell off his bike and then took a detour through the mechanics area. However, the race was briefly halted by a red flag when safety crews had to tend to injured rider Jake Browne.
By rule, the second heat was restarted in a single-file manor after Browne had been assisted out of harm's way. Villopoto maintained the lead after the green flag waved and went on to win the qualifying race over Andrew Short and Reed.
Browne was reported to be conscious but was transported to a local hospital for further evaluation.
Josh Hill and Kyle Partridge made it to the main event by claiming the top two spots in the Last Chance Qualifier race.
Will Davi Millsaps hold on to win the Monster Energy Supercross title?
Millsaps got out to the early lead once the gate dropped for the 20-lap main event with Reed following close behind. In the meantime, Ryan Dungey, Villopoto and Stewart were further back trying to make up ground.
Three laps into the race, Millsaps had pulled away from the pack with Reed and Barcia also putting some distance between themselves and those behind them.
Reed began to close on the lead bike by Lap 7 and appeared poised to take the top spot and ride away to his seventh victory in Qualcomm. However, the Australian rider's hopes were dashed when he went down just after the halfway point of the main. As a result of the fall, he dropped all the way back to seventh place.
Reed's misfortune left Millsaps and Barcia to fight it out for the win. On Lap 15, Barcia closed right up behind Millsaps but the points leader responded by clicking off some of the fastest laps of the race over the final five circuits.
Millsaps went on to claim his second win of the season ahead of Barcia, Dungey, Stewart, Reed and Villopoto.
This is the first time since 2008 that Millsaps has had a multi-win season. And, this was the first-ever win in San Diego for Suzuki Motorcycles. Millsaps now holds a 19-point lead over Dungey in the standings as the Monster Energy Supercross Series heads to Arlington, Texas next Saturday.
Eli Tomac just edged a fast-closing Ken Roczen for the win in the 250cc class main event. Roczen continues to lead the standings in that class over Tomac.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. For the latest NASCAR news and views please visit his RacingWithRich.com site. And for dirt late model action please visit his TennesseeRacer.com site.
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