When the 2012 season began four months ago, expectations were high from fans and riders alike thanks to last year. The 2011 Monster Energy Supercross series was one of the most competitive years for indoor racing since the inception of the sport more than 30 years ago. Since two of last years championships were not decided until the final round, many hoped that the racing would continue to be as gripping as 2011, and for the first few rounds it looked like 2012 would deliver.

In the Supercross Class there were four different winners in first four rounds, with Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, and James Stewart all getting their time in the spotlight. The Supercross Lites West wasn’t much different, as Cole Seely, Dean Wilson, and Eli Tomac took the first three rounds of their series. But then things began to go south.

First Chad Reed had a big crash in Dallas that tore his ACL amongst other injuries and basically took him out for the remainder of the 2012 season. Then Ryan Dungey broke his collarbone while practicing and, James Stewart had enough crashes to put a crash test dummy to shame and has chosen to sit out the remainder of the series due to an injured hand.

With three of the big four out (not to mention Trey Canard only getting one full race in before incurring a nasty injury in LA along with Ryan Morais), the title was Ryan Villpoto’s for the taking; and take he did, a record-breaking four rounds early. With another number one plate in the books, Villopoto should have been on cruise control leading up to the Outdoor Nationals. But in Supercross racing, even cruise control can be too much for the body to handle.

After a low speed, low-side crash in Seattle, Villopoto suffered a surprise torn ACL that has taken him out of the 2012 season. With so many of the top guys injured or ailing, someone was bound to step into the front runners’ shoes, and that man was Andrew Short, who took the very first 450 SX win of his career in Seattle.

But in Salt Lake City, Ryan Dungey rebounded from his injury to take the checkers, and while he is only fighting for second place after missing several midseason rounds, he remains the clear favorite to win the final race in Las Vegas.

In Lites racing, this weekend marks the second time around for the new format of the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout in which the two divisions race their own individual main events, then the top ten finishers from each coast duke it out in final event to see who is the best of the best. This year, both championships have already been decided, with the GEICO/Honda duo of Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac taking the East and West titles respectively.

So, expect to see a few riders upfront pushing to get their faces in the spotlight as most of the pressure for the wins will come in the form of pure bragging rights. Ken Roczen took the first Supercross win of his career in Sin City last year, so we could very well see another new face at the top step of the podium. Be sure to check out all of the action here on Supercross.com, along with following our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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Supercross Class Stats Courtesy Feld Motorsports: Las Vegas

The first race was held on March 17, 1990, and Jeff Matiasevich won on a Kawasaki

This will be the 22nd time the gate will drop for a Supercross Class race in Sam Boyd Stadium

First time winners: Jeff Matiascvich: 1990; Mike Larrocco: 1991; Jeff Emig: 1995

Jeremy McGrath won his first-ever supercross race in Las Vegas aboard a Kawasaki in the Supercross Lites Class

McGrath has won Las Vegas seven times, three times in the Supercross Lites Class, four times in the Supercross Class

From 1993-2002, there were 156 Supercross Class races held and McGrath only missed one of them, which was Las Vegas in 1995

In 1997, Doug Henry made history when he won the Las Vegas Supercross Class race on a Yamaha 4-stroke; that was the first time a 4-stroke won a Supercross Class race

Supercross Class: Wins by Brand in Las Vegas: Yamaha (8), Honda (6), Kawasaki (5), Suzuki (2)

Supercross Lites Class Stats: Las Vegas

The first race was held on March 17, 1990, and Jeremy McGrath won on a Kawasaki

This is the 22nd time the gate will drop for a Supercross Lites Class race in Las Vegas

In 1995, this race became the Dave Coombs East/West Shootout

In the 16 Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Shootout races, the Eastern Region has won eight and the Western Region has won eight

Since the shootout started in 1995, the newly crowned Supercross Lites Class Champion has gone on to win the shootout seven times: Windham (’97); Carmichael (’98); Ramsey (’99); Stewart (’04;) Dungey (’07), Pourcel (’09); Weimer (’10)

Supercross Lites Class: Wins by Brand in Las Vegas Kawasaki (9), Suzuki (6), Honda (3), Yamaha (3)

Supercross Class Laps Led: Ryan Villopoto: 161, Ryan Dungey: 35, James Stewart: 25, Chad Reed: 24, David Millsaps: 22, Andrew Short: 20, Justin Brayton: 11, Cole Seely: 7, Mike Alessi: 5, Jake Weimer: 5, Brett Metcalfe: 1

Supercross Lites Class Laps Led: Justin Barcia: 75, Eli Tomac: 45, Dean Wilson: 30, Darryn Durham: 22, Ryan Sipes: 15, Cole Seely: 15, Jason Anderson: 10, Blake Wharton: 9, Ken Roczen: 6, Tyla Rattray: 3, Alex Martin: 2, Martin Davalos: 1, Blake Baggett: 1


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