The team performed well in the timed qualifying sessions with all three riders making it to the night show this past Saturday. AJ Catanzaro (#93) appeared to be on a mission in the timed sessions gaining the attention of the stadium announcer who commented that AJ appears to be stepping up his game.
Les Smith (#46) and AJ Catanzaro (#93) were both in the second heat race which proved to be a chaotic event. Both riders were side-by-side on the starting gate and came out together mid-pack where riders were colliding with each other left and right. AJ had to work hard during the heat race to avoid the traffic and the related carnage that was occurring. He ultimately found his rhythm late in the race making a last lap charge that got him to the main event.
“I felt really good in practice. I have made some changes to my program that I feel are starting to pay off,” said AJ. He also said, “In the heat race I was caught in traffic and could not seem to get into a good rhythm but I found it in time to get to the main. The track and soil were really tough. In the main event I was totally focused on not making mistakes. 11th overall is not bad but I know I am capable of much more so I have to put in the work to get better results.”
Les was able to move away from the madness early on making a charge towards the front. He was making a pass for 6th place when another rider lost control of his bike after the whoop section colliding with Les and taking him out of contention.
“The track was very tough and I honestly did not feel that comfortable during practice. I did do well enough to get to the evening show,” said Les. He also stated, “I felt great in the heat race. I know I would have qualified but got taken out. In the LCQ, I basically gave it away with too many mistakes. I am on my way home to do more work now in preparation for the next race.”
Taylor Futrell (#86) was in the first heat race. He quickly moved into qualifying position and appeared ready to make other passes. However, the effects of not racing in a while due to injuries took a bit of a toll on Taylor forcing a few mistakes that moved him out of a qualifying spot late in the race.
“Being this is my first true race in almost a year, I obviously have some rust to work off. I rode well enough for a while in my heat race to qualify but I think nerves and the effects of not being in competitive mode for so long took its toll and I just tightened up late in the race,” said Taylor. Taylor also commented, “There are some positives to take away from tonight and I am going to work this week to build on those.”
Grant Langston, Team Manager, said, “It was a night of mixed emotions. AJ rode well and I am happy to see him improving. All things considered Taylor did well too. Unfortunately, Les ran into some bad luck when he was riding well enough to improve on what he accomplished last week.” Langston went on to say, “Knowing Les the way I do, I know he will work even harder now. It is refreshing to see AJ in the main. We just need to see a bit more aggression from him in the races. As for Taylor, he just needs more race time to get the rust and dust worked off. Overall, I remain pleased with where we are as a team and I see good things on the horizon.”