2012 AMA Arenacross Series Notebook: Going Bar-to-Bar One More Time
After four months of intense, bar-to-bar competition, the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series will come to an exciting conclusion tomorrow night from Minneapolis, Minn., and the Target Center. In a little over 24 hours, the final two main events of the season will ultimately result in a pair of riders who will stand atop the podium as the Arenacross Class Champion and Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Champion, respectively.
Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers enters the season finale as the premier class points leader. The reigning Arenacross Class champion has matched his 12-win total of a year ago, and enters the Target Center with a 24-point lead over FMF Power/Poynt TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson, the only rider still in contention for the title.
For Bowers, the biggest priority will be qualifying for the 25-lap main event that will bring the 2012 season to an end. The Kentucky native needs just one point to secure back-to-back titles and with a minimum of five points available to any rider who does make his way into the main event, Bowers simply needs to try and keep it on two wheels in either the heat race or last chance qualifier. Through 18 races this season, Bowers has yet to miss a single main event.
The obstacle that lies ahead of Gibson when it comes to the championship is a challenging one to say the least. However, Gibson has been exceptionally consistent this season en route to claiming three victories. He’ll be sure to keep Bowers honest on Saturday night, but he’ll need some luck on his side if he hopes to steal a second career title.
The entire Arenacross Class field will be looking to end the 2012 season on a high note, which will result in some of the best on-track action of the season tomorrow evening. Riders like Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Chad Johnson and Team Faith KTM’s Kelly Smith have tasted victory this year, while Bella’s Cupcakes/Club MX Kawasaki’s Zach Ames has picked up his pace in recent weeks, and is a mere handful of points behind Smith for fourth in the championship. Additionally, the Foremost Insurance/Spinechillers Racing duo of Nathan Skaggs and Willy Browning have been knocking on the door of the podium all season long and would like nothing more than to give the veteran team a strong finish to close out the year.
As if the intensity brewing in the premier class wasn’t enough, the fight for the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class title is coming down to the wire. Currently, defending champion Chad Cook leads the way aboard his HOK Racing Kawasaki, but a tough weekend at the previous round in Reno has shrank his advantage to one single point over BNTQ.Net Honda’s Kevin Markwardt. Both riders have relied on consistency this season to put them in position to win the title, but neither has stood atop the podium yet in 2012. Simply put, a win will seal the deal for either of these riders on Saturday night, and both will be laying it all on the line for the chance to earn the coveted title. Fans can expect this duo to be locked in battle throughout the evening.
The Target Center is the state of Minnesota’s premier arena. With a full capacity of 20,500, it serves as the home of some of the premier sports teams in the country, like the Minnesota Timberwolves of the NBA and the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA. The Timberwolves initially built and owned the arena in 1990, but it was shortly bought by the city of Minneapolis, who still owns the facility. In addition to its sporting events, the arena has hosted a variety of entertainment shows and holds the distinction of being the first arena with a green roof – a roof covered with living vegetation.
The action commences for the season ending Minneapolis Arenacross tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CT. Amateur Day concludes the captivating weekend, and entire 2012 AMA Arenacross Series season, on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. CT.