Stewart wins third U.S. Open of Supercross title

Another U.S. Open of Supercross and another dominant performance by James Stewart.

Stewart, 23, won the Open title Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden for the second straight year and became the second three-time event champion. The native of Haines City, Fla., also won in 2006.

Stewart dominated two nights of racing, and his combined performances gave him the title and a $100,000 payday before a crowd of 7,421.

Despite being slowed by lapped bikes in the final two of 20 laps, he beat runner-up Ryan Villopoto by 9.8 seconds after winning Friday by about eight seconds.

“The money is one thing, but all my guys on the (San Manuel Racing) Yamaha team have worked so hard. This was just awesome,” Stewart said.

He rode flawlessly, and the debut of the 2010 YZ450F provided an edge that almost seemed unfair.

After five laps, Stewart trailed Dan Reardon by four seconds and was running third. In the next five laps, Stewart passed Reardon and took the lead on the 11th lap. Stewart built his lead over Villopoto to 11.4 seconds with two laps left.

It was still an impressive outing for Villopoto, 21, who won this year’s Supercross regular-season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium. A few weeks after that win, the resident of Poulsbo, Wash., sustained a major knee injury that required surgery.

He began riding two weeks ago.

Ezra Lusk, a former Supercross event winner racing for the first time in five years, had the fifth best qualifying time and finished third in his heat race to advance to the feature, where he placed eighth on a Suzuki.

Las Vegan Ryan Partridge advanced to the night session by qualifying 19th but failed to move into the championship race for Henderson-based Red Seven Ride team. Partridge’s teammate, Ronnie Goodwin, missed qualifying for the 36-bike night program by one spot.

Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at jwolf@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0247.

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