“There has been a lot of talk coming into this season about me riding for a new team, and tonight I proved that I can win,” said Carmichael. “I need to get a couple more wins under my belt and get the points lead before we leave the west coast.”
Kawasaki’s teenage prodigy James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., missed tonight’s race after suffering a fractured left forearm during a practice crash prior to the main event.
In the 125cc main event, Suzuki’s Ryan Sipes, of Vine Grove, Kan., earned the $1,000 Butterfinger Crisp Holeshot Award but was quickly passed by Hepler. Last week’s winner, Nathan Ramsey, finished lap 1 in fourth place and reigning champion Ivan Tedesco started near the middle of the pack and took over fourth place on lap 6. Tedesco finished second and Sipes finished third, his first-career podium finish. On lap 12 Ramsey crashed and fell to the back of the pack.
“I needed to get out in front tonight and that’s what I did,” said Hepler. “My start was almost perfect and it was all over from there.”
Racing moves back to Anaheim, Calif., at Angel Stadium of Anaheim next Saturday, January 22nd. Tonight’s race airs on ESPN2 tomorrow, Sunday, January 16th from 2:00-4:00 p.m. EST.