Ronnie Goodwin's father innocently selected 711 as his son's motocross bike number. No number was more appropriate for the Las Vegas rider.
But not for the reason one might think.
Goodwin was 8 years old at the time, so it had nothing to do with gambling, even though he grew up in the shadows of casinos.
"Whenever I'd win a race, I'd want us to stop at a 7-Eleven for a Slurpee," he said. "That was my trophy."
The 18-year-old Bonanza High graduate might have been looking for one of the convenience stores Friday.
Goodwin didn't win the first round of the $100,000 U.S. Open of Supercross, but the novice professional racer qualified 34th for the 36-bike field in the $100,000 all-star event at the MGM Grand Garden.
"I think I surprised myself a little bit, too, to be honest," Goodwin said of qualifying for the biggest race of his career.
He didn't advance to Friday's 12-bike, 20-lap final race that was won by reigning Open champion James Stewart. Goodwin will have to qualify again this afternoon for the 7 p.m. session, after which performances from both nights will be combined to determine the Open champion.
Regardless of what happens today, Goodwin exceeded his own goals for the weekend. He knew he would be one of the few competitors riding a 250cc Kawasaki that is underpowered compared to the top riders' 450cc machines.
But he wanted to get more experience with the smaller engine because that's what he will ride when he becomes a full-time pro in January.
Goodwin is a teammate to Supercross veteran Kyle Partridge, 23, a Bonanza graduate who qualified 16th on a 450cc Kawasaki but did not advance to the final.
The riders are part the Red Seven Ride team based in Henderson and owned by Damon Wasden, another Las Vegan.
"Ronnie just needs more experience on Supercross tracks, and the one inside the MGM is by far the shortest and tightest we race on all year," Partridge said.
Supercross tracks are jammed with jumps and turns and crammed into arena and stadium settings. The courses are nothing like the spread motocross circuits Goodwin has raced on since he was 6.
Goodwin will begin 2010 competing in Supercross Lites, a division for 250cc bikes designed as a proving ground for future stars. From there, depending upon his success, he could move up to Supercross before the series finale at Sam Boyd Stadium in May.
Goodwin's plan for Friday's feature was to race conservatively. It would be wonderful to win $100,000, but winning respect was his first priority.
"I want to show I'm a solid guy and that I belong on the track with these guys and not ride over my head," he said. "You have to show what you can do and not what you're trying to do."
Goodwin logged up to 50,000 miles a year traveling to amateur races across the country and he was home schooled. A year ago, he was at a crossroads: pro racing or college?
That dilemma and a desire to experience life as a normal high school senior led him to cut back on racing and attend classes regularly at Bonanza.
"I took a step back from racing to do that. I wanted to see what the other side of life was like. My senior year was fun, but I realized racing ultimately is what I want to do," Goodwin said.
He finished his senior year with a 3.25 GPA and mixed in a race here and there. Now, racing is his top priority and college can wait.
"In sports, your time can pass you by," he said. "My family has spent so much on my racing in time and money that I want to go as far as I can."
And as fast as he can.
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.