The second race of the inaugural Race to the Championship signified another important night in AMSOIL Arenacross, as an enthusiastic crowd welcomed the championship’s return to INTRUST Bank Arena. For the ninth time in 2013, Tyler Bowers captured the overall victory in the Arenacross Class and reclaimed the top spot in the Race to the Championship by doing so. In the Arenacross Lites Class, Maxx Malatia claimed the win to tighten up the Western Regional Championship.
In the opening Main Event of the evening, former Race to the Championship points leader Zach Ames grabbed the early lead aboard his Kawasaki. Last week’s winner was followed by Bowers and Jeff Gibson, in addition to Michael McDade.
On Lap 3, McDade made a pass on Gibson for the third position, but experienced misfortune shortly thereafter, dropping him deep inside the top 10. A lap later, Bowers made an impressive move on his teammate for the lead and never looked back. Bowers was followed by Ames across the line, with Gibson in third. McDade fought his way back to sixth.
Bowers selected the inversion for the second Main Event and for the second consecutive week, the entire 16-rider field was inverted.
As the gate dropped on the second Main Event, Kelly Smith grabbed the early lead, with Michael Lang and Kyle White following in second and third, respectively. Bowers asserted himself in fifth, with Gibson right behind in sixth. McDade began to battle his way from an eighth-place start, while Ames suffered misfortune early and needed to come from outside the top 10.
Smith maintained control of the entire 12-lap Main Event, while Lang rode a consistent race to finish in second. Bowers worked his way into a podium spot in third, with Gibson following in fourth. McDade fought his way into sixth at the end, while Ames had to settle for ninth.
Bowers’ 1-3 results were enough to land him atop the podium for his ninth overall win of the season. Gibson followed in second overall, while McDade’s pair of come-from-behind efforts were rewarded with the third podium spot, tying Ames in points for the evening but edging him out by virtue of his stronger finish in the second Main Event.
Bowers’ victory helped him reclaim the lead in the Race to the Championship after falling to third one week ago. He now holds a two-point lead over Gibson, while Ames sits only three points behind in third.
Collectively, 27 points separate the 10 riders in the Race to the Championship, with Gared Steinke holding on to the 10th spot.
In Saturday night’s Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, McDade out-dueled Ames to claim the championship bonus point. That point proved to be pivotal in McDade’s path to finishing third overall for the evening.
The Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Championship has been highly competitive through its first four races this season and that trend continued on Saturday night. Kyle White grabbed the early lead in the 18-lap Main Event, but it wasn’t long before Malatia moved into the top spot.
Once out front, Malatia was given heavy pressure from Brady Kiesel and the duo battled bar-to-bar for several laps before Kiesel experienced misfortune. That allowed Malatia to carry his lead through to the finish and take the win. Reynard Mods Suzuki’s Cory Green and White rounded out the podium.
Malatia moved to within six points of Michael Lang in the Western Regional Championship with three races remaining.
The 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross season and the Race to the Championship continue next weekend from Kansas City, Mo., and the Sprint Center on Saturday, March 2, beginning at 8 p.m. ET. Next-day broadcast coverage of next Saturday’s action can be seen exclusively on SPEED, beginning next Sunday, March 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET.