James Stewart has won so much in AMA Supercross, he knows when to cruise across the finish line.
The winner of 47 career races kept his bike on the ground and rolled it nice and easy over the finish ramp, capping a dominating victory Saturday night at AT&T Stadium that gave him his second victory in two weeks and pushed him within 14 points of the standings lead.
The 28-year-old Florida rider became the third-winningest racer in Supercross, one behind Ricky Carmichael. Jeremy McGrath is the all-time leader with 72.
“I’m so happy. I’m so happy,” Stewart said. “I can’t take this victory. Got to thank everybody — the whole team. Thanks, everybody. Back-to-back. East-West.”
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Stewart won last week in San Diego and also had runner-up finishes in Oakland and Anaheim as the series wrapped up its season-opening West Coast swing. In the past six races, he has two firsts, a seventh, two seconds and a fourth.
“It doesn’t matter,” Stewart said of the points standings. “Got to keep riding like we are. If we do that, we’ll be all right.”
Ryan Dungey, who took the holeshot, had the lead until Stewart — who had been stalking him from the start — completed an aggressive pass on the inside line of the tight fifth turn. One turn later, Dungey had the lead back, but only for seconds. Stewart recovered and held it for the rest of the race.
“We got off to a good start,” Dungey said. “That holeshot is always helpful. James got around us. Tried to follow his lines, and he picked up. Wish I could have followed more on his tail. He rode awesome.”
Stewart said he was just hoping for a smoother ride than he had experienced in practice and qualifying.
“Hoped we rode better in the main event. We did,” he said. “It was fun riding against my buddy Ryan. Always clean races.”
Justin Barcia was third.
“Wish I could have rode better,” he said. “Rode really tight. Wish I could have given James a run for his money.”
Points leader Ryan Villopoto was fourth.
Rookie wins 250cc
Rookie Adam Cianciarulo opened the East Lites season with a resounding victory in his first race, winning by 5.3 seconds in the 250cc class.
The 17-year-old from Port Orange, Fla., got a break on the fifth lap when top qualifier Martin Davalos crashed out of a jump, erasing what had been a 2 1/2-second lead and allowing Cianciarulo — who won the holeshot but gave up the lead by the time the first lap was complete — to go to the front.
“I couldn’t be more pumped, not just for me, but for everybody who stuck behind me through the good times and bad times,” he said. “It’s taken a lot of good days and bad days to get me here.”
Blake Baggett of Grand Terrace, Calif., was second, settling for that spot after mountingadam c only one brief challenge. Davalos rallied to finish third.
“Just made a mistake,” he said. “When I hit the ground over there, my bike was pretty banged up. I ended up crashing again. Was running really well the first couple of laps, and I made a mistake. I’m human. I was able to salvage third.”
He congratulated Cianciarulo.
“Such a positive kid,” Davalos said. “I like being around him.”