LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Saturday night marked one of the most important moments in the history of AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, as the inaugural Race to the Championship kicked off from inside Verizon Arena. The top 10 riders in the Arenacross Class standings will do battle over the final five nights of competition and after a pair of captivating Main Events, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Zach Ames grabbed the early advantage by capturing his second overall victory of the season. Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Steven Mages won the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Main Event.

In the opening Main Event of the night, Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade looked as if he would bounce back from his recent misfortune to make an early move in the Race to the Championship. McDade controlled the entire 12-lap Main Event, while Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM teammates Kelly Smith and Jeff Gibson put themselves in good position heading into the second Main Event with strong second and third-place results, respectively. Championship points leader Tyler Bowers followed in fourth, battling his way forward from a mid-pack start aboard his Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki machine. Ames followed in fifth.

Thanks to the win, McDade became the rider who would select the inversion for the final Main Event of the night, which would end up reversing the gate selections for the entire 16-rider field.

As the gate dropped on the second Main Event, Motosport.com/JBR/Spinechillers Racing KTM’s Willy Browning asserted himself at the front of the field. He was followed by Ames, who grabbed the best start of the top five finishers from the first Main Event, and Fun Mart Cycle KTM’s Michael Willard.

The rest of the riders in contention for the podium had their work cut out for them, with Gibson emerging in eighth, McDade in ninth, Bowers in 11th, and Smith in 12th. Each of these riders had difficulty working through the field during which McDade was the recipient of misfortune that dropped him to 11th.

In the end, Browning held on to become the fifth different Main Event winner this season, with Ames in second and Willard in third. Gibson clawed his way to a sixth-place result, while Bowers wasn’t far behind in eighth. Both McDade and Smith finished outside the top 10 in 11th and 14th, respectively.

As a result of his consistent 5-2 finishes, Ames captured the overall win for the second time this season, his first coming at the opening round of the championship. Ironically, in each of his triumphant efforts, Ames has claimed the overall without winning a Main Event.

Gibson’s 3-6 results landed him second overall, while Ankle Savers Kawasaki rider Gared Steinke earned his best overall finish of the season in third after finishing seventh and fourth in the Main Events.

By virtue of his win, Ames is now in control of the Race to the Championship, surpassing his top-seeded teammate Bowers. Ames lead in the standings sits at three points over Gibson, who also moved past Bowers into second. Bowers is an additional point behind in third.

Collectively, only 18 points separate the 10 riders in the Race to the Championship, with Advocare Suzuki’s Daniel Blair holding on to the 10th spot following a tough night.

In Saturday night’s Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, Smith outdueled Browning in the final pairing to earn the championship point. The bonus point allowed Smith to move into a tie with Browning in the standings, currently sitting sixth.

The return of the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship proved to be good night for Mages in the championship standings. The KTM rider needed to work past a speedy Johnny Moore aboard his Team Sakai Racing Honda as well as Letko KTM’s Tanner Moore in the early going, but ultimately took control of the 18-lap Main Event. BWRengines.com Honda’s Kyle White was strong in second, while an exciting battle for third ensued between Ticketwow Honda’s Michael Lang, the points leader, and BWRengines.com’s Maxx Malatia.

Malatia made a pass on Lang for the final podium position in the late stages of the race, but Lang responded just a lap later to hold onto the position and follow Mages and White across the line.

Mages moved to within three points of Lang in the championship standings thanks to the win, while Malatia moved into third, 10 points out of the lead. Coming into the evening, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Tyler Villopoto was in the thick of the title hunt, sitting just two points behind Lang. However, the rookie AMSOIL Arenacross rider suffered from misfortune in the Main Event, ultimately recording a DNF and falling to fourth in the championship, 15 points out of the lead.

The 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season and the Race to the Championship continue next weekend from Wichita, Kan., and INSTRUST Bank Arena on Saturday, February 23, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Next-day broadcast coverage of next Saturday’s action can be seen exclusively on SPEED, beginning next Sunday, February 24, at 1:00 p.m. ET.

Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 1
Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki
Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM
Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM
Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, KTM
Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM
Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM
Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM

Arenacross Class Results – Main Event 2
Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM
Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM
Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM
Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM
Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM
Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., Suzuki

Arenacross Class Overall (Main Event Finishes)
Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki (5-2)
Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM (3-6)
Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki (7-4)
Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM (9-3)
Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki (4-8)
Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki (1-11)
Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM (12-1)
Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM (8-5)
Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM (2-14)
Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM (10-7)

Arenacross Lites Class Results
1.     Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM
2.     Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
3.     Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda
4.     Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda
5.     Tanner Moore, Auburn, Kan., KTM
6.     Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM
7.     Johnny Moore, Madison, Kan., Honda
8.     Travis Merrill, Fowler, Ill., KTM
9.     Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., KTM
10.  Ryan Shonyo, Rougemont, N.C., Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Race to the Championship (After Race 1 of 5)
Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki – 32
Jeff Gibson, Pataskala, Ohio, KTM – 29
Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki – 28
Michael McDade, Edinburg, Pa., Kawasaki – 25
Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki – 25
Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM – 23
Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM – 23
Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, KTM – 19
Dave Ginolfi, Budd Lake, N.J., KTM – 18
Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., Suzuki – 14

Arenacross Class Points (After Race 12 of 16)
Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM – 156
Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 151
Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM – 88
Robby Marshall, Stow, Mass., KTM – 78
Tyler Villopoto, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki – 56
Steve Roman, Apollo, Pa., Suzuki – 46
Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda – 41
Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda – 39
Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki – 26
Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., KTM – 23

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 4 of 8)
Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda – 59
Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, KTM – 56
Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda – 49
Tyler Villopoto, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki – 44
Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 43
Tanner Moore, Auburn, Kan., KTM – 30
Devin Reed, Indianola, Iowa, Honda – 29
Brandon Glenn, Mesquite, Texas, Kawasaki – 24
Zack Williams, Elko, Minn., KTM – 16
Tanner Sisson, Lickskillet, Ohio, KTM – 15

Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMSOIL Arenacross season returns for the 2013 season! To follow the intense racing action live, log onto www.Arenacross.com.

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