Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Davi Millsaps hung onto the lead in the 2013 AMA/ FIM World Supercross series despite a chaotic night at Edward Jones in St. Louis on Saturday night.
In an up-and-down, drama-packed evening that saw two red-flag restarts, including the third staggered restart and illegal passes on ‘red-cross medical flags’ and multiple protests, Millsaps had a bad race, but still came away holding the series red plate with sixth position in the 450 Class Main Event.
Millsaps started the day well, posting fast lap times in practice and then following-up with a solid second place in his heat race. But when the gate dropped for the 450 Main, things started to go sideways: Millsaps didn’t get his customary good start and was hit by Trey Canard with heavy contact to his forearm. His arm immediately swelled and pumped up, limiting control in his throttle hand. Then, half-way through lap three, there was a serious crash. Ryan Dungey appeared to pass Millsaps under a red-flag caution, and then took him out in the next corner. Millsaps lost two positions as a result of this altercation. This lap also marked the second red flag of the evening and the third lap was finished under caution (when three full laps are completed in the Main Event, it warrants a staggered restart). Unfortunately, for the series leader, he lost those two positions and was forced to start even further back in the single file line.
The team was hoping for a full restart from the gate but that was not the case. Already hampered by the swelling in his right arm, Millsaps did everything he could. He was able to move into sixth place by race’s end, salvaging as many points as possible. Then the drama unfolded: Dungey’s pass on Davi was protested. James Stewart protested a pass Ryan Villopoto made – also appearing to be during another red flag caution. Team videos were provided by each team to the AMA, but the final results went unchanged.
The Rockstar Energy Racing team has put the weekend result behind it and looks ahead still holding a 12-point lead in the series.
Said Millsaps: “It was a weird night; I did the best I could and salvaged what I could. All in all I had some bad luck tonight but there’s always another night.”
Team mate Blake Wharton appears to be back on track in the 250 class. After a bit of an off-weekend in Atlanta – where he still finished a commendable fourth – he looked to be a different person in St. Louis from the first lap in practice.
Wharton was aggressive all day and it showed as he won his heat race in impressive fashion with a great start, followed by gapping the rest of the field by the end of his six laps. Wharton’s start wasn’t as good in the Main, but he made moves immediately to put himself in a good position among his top competitors. He had some good battles throughout, eventually settling for his second podium in three races.
Said Wharton: “The track was good in St. Louis, the dirt is always good here; and it turned out to be the same this weekend. I got the heat race win which is never a bad thing. You’re never ‘gonna complain about that. In the Main my start was pretty average but I managed to work my way up pretty quick and find myself in second. It was a kind of a battle there for a while with me and Will Hahn and then with Dean Wilson.
“I ended up getting passed back to third where I finished. I felt better this weekend. Still trying to make improvements and get faster and faster. We’re three rounds in but there’s still a lot more racing. Going to Daytona next weekend – which is an unpredictable track – we’re gonna try to get on the top step.”
The Rockstar Energy Racing duo will make the trip southeast to Daytona International Speedway next weekend in Florida. Daytona is somewhat of a hybrid Supercross/ Motocross track. Millsaps, who spent part of his life growing up in the area, will look to get back on track on the sandy surface where he has always excelled. Wharton will aim to build on his momentum and aiming for his first win of the 2013 season.