The early morning pits remained zipped-up from the overnight rains.
Kathy Tomac took time away from preparing the Geico team's upcoming shish-kabob fest to pose with son Eli and hubby, John. John said that Eli is a tad frustrated from having fast qualifying times, but still being unable to win a race. Still, only four points out when the day began, La Familia Tomac left Dodger Stadium with a victory and a one point lead.
MEANWHILE, OVER AT THE DUNLOP TRUCK...
Dunlop let anyone who may have been hoping to get on the same rubber as used by "The Ryans" and Jake Weimer know that they were plain out of luck!
Even though the rain had diminished by mid-day, there was still a line of privateers looking for different tire combinations.
The Dunlop tire techs were kept especially busy due to the changing weather conditions—first to sand and mud tires, then to intermediates and then to whatever might work by the end of the night.
Sure we all gotta pay the bills, but old timers nonetheless remain aghast at how every inch of modern day race bikes are plastered with logos.
Honda's Team Director, Gary Martini was re-telling the story about how he argued with the nurses who were wheeling him in for surgery (for a broken femur). What was he arguing over? He wanted to keep his team hat on throughout the operation. They said no, but he said he kept it on right until the operating room doors swung open. Gary was happy to be off crutches and to see a weather report (in his hand) that called for clear skies into the night.
MXA MINI-VIEW: NICK PALUZZI
Nick Paluzzi is another up and comer who has his parents to thanks for their continued support.
HOMETOWN: Riverside, CA.
Nick Paluzzi is a friendly SoCal local who had a great amateur career with Team Suzuki, but life in the Pro world has had its ups and down so far. This year we found him under the Slaton Racing Team tent. Bobby Slaton is a San Diego race fan who has partnered with former 125 and 500cc National Champion and factory Honda/Suzuki rider Marty Smith. For the old guys, Smith needs to introduction – he was the first teenage motocross sensation in America back in the mid-70’s. For 2012, Bruce and Marty have upped their program from last year and continue trying to make a name for their team in the hyper-competitive 250 Supercross class.
MXA: We see you have a ride with the Bobby Slaton team, how is that going?
Nick: Okay, I’m frustrated with how some of the season has gone so far, but it’s good to be out here racing and trying to improve. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a lot of time on the bikes before the season began and I’ve never ridden Kawasaki’s before so it’s been tough having to get used to everything so quickly.
MXA: For the last two years we’ve seen you on a few different teams.
Nick: Yeah, following my amateur Suzuki team ride I rode a few Nationals in 2010 for JGR, then for the 2011 Supercross season I was with the Star Yamaha team and then rode last year’s outdoor series with the Rockstar Suzuki team.
MXA: In Phoenix you were running fourth in your qualifier and then you disappeared – what happened?
Nick: My transponder came loose and I guess fell into my front wheel and that made me crash. You should see it now though, my dad put a bunch of duct tape on it so that won’t happen again.
MXA: Since you’ve came off your Suzuki amateur ride you’ve spent some time as a fill-in rider – what’s that been like?
Nick: It’s better than not having a ride, but it gets pretty frustrating. It can be hard to stay motivated and keep up a good training schedule when you don’t have to ride. But then if a team does call you don’t want to have been just sitting on a couch doing nothing. You always have to be ready in case the phone rings.
MXA: How much as your approach to racing indoors evolved since last year?
Nick: I’m definitely less antsy about everything because I have a better idea about what to expect. You definitely need more flow racing Supercross than racing outdoors. You have to learn to react quicker to the little things happening. I actually just started working with David Vuillemin as a coach and I think that’s going to help me a lot. I got hooked up with him through my agent and the guys at Unit. I think DV can help me get over the mental hurdle and hopefully help me with my starts…starts are so important!
MXA: What about the future?
Nick: Well, this is a Supercross-only deal so I need to do the best I can so that I can hopefully put an outdoor program together. If nothing comes up I’ll probably buy a 450 and do the first few rounds with my parents helping me. After the Suzuki ride went away, they’ve been helping me out again because I need it and my dad is back working on my bikes during the week now – just like the old days!
BONUS MARTY SMITH PHOTO GALLERY
Marty Smith (3) battling his arch nemesis Bob Hannah at the 1977 Mid-Ohio 125cc Grand Prix.
Marty Smith as a 500cc National Champion.
Marty Smith as a factory Suzuki rider.
WANDERING THE PITS DURING THE LONG DELAY
The Supercross pits are probably not the ideal place for vegetarian race watchers.
The day started off with the familiar sight of a red number plate under the Monster/Pro Circuit tent. Tyla Rattray didn't hold onto it.
Yes, as Dustin Pipes' set-up proves, there are still privateers making the rounds with all their belongings stuffed in the back of a long bed van.
SUPERCROSS BIKES ON PARADE
RIDER: Kyle Chisholm
HOMETOWN: Valrico, FL, SPONSORS: Jeff Ward Racing/DNA/O'Neal
RIDER: Eli Tomac
HOMETOWN: Cortez, CO. SPONSORS: Geico/Honda/Alias/Amsoil/Factory Connection/Planet Fitness
RIDER: Gareth Swanepoel
HOMETOWN: Murrieta, CA. SPONSORS: Star/Valli Yamaha/Rockstar/MyFlash/Pro Circuit
RIDER: Martin Davalos
HOMETOWN: Cairo, GA. SPONSORS: Rockstar Energy Racing/Suzuki Yoshimura/One/Belray/Losi/Dragon/DC/Dunlop/RK Excel/Gaerne
RIDER: Jimmy Albertson
HOMETOWN: Ozark, MO. SPONSORS: BTO Sports.com/Palmetto Suzuki/Fly Racing/MMI/FMF
RIDER: Nico Izzi
HOMETOWN: Menifee, CA. SPONSORS: Star Valli Yamaha/Rockstar/Pro Circuit/Cosworth
RIDER: Ben Lamay
HOMETOWN: Wasilla, AK. SPONSORS: Rock River Yamaha/O'Neal/Race Tech/TMR/Bell/Rip N Roll/Vans/Hinson/FMF
RIDER: Weston Peick
HOMETOWN: Wildomar, CA. SPONSORS: R2MX/RogueCassles/Fly/Renegade/MTA/Factory Backing/Torco/Jer/Dunlop/Utopia/Galfer/Works/Pro Circuit/Revolution MX
RIDER: Scott Champion
HOMETOWN: Sun City, CA. SPONSORS: Honda CRF250 C4MX/Nexis/JT USA/FMF/Dunlop/Sidi/Renegade Fuels/Red Seven/Twisted/FMF
RIDER: Killy Rusk
HOMETOWN: Aztec, NM. SPONSORS: Team Fire Police/Raceteen/Rusk Racing/Decals/TCX/Wiseco/Torcl/Handlebar/No Limit MX/Hinson/Leo Vince
RIDER: Matt Moss
HOMETOWN: Sussex Inlet, Australia SPONSORS: JDR/JStar/KTM/Answer/FMF/Motorex/Bell/Pro Taper/Hammerhead/Dunlop/Renegade/Hinson
RIDER: Max Anstie
HOMETOWN: Hemet, CA. SPONSORS: Gariboldi Factory Honda Martin Racing
RIDER: Myles Tedder
HOMETOWN: Surfside, CA. SPONSORS: Monster Energy Drink/Team Tedder/Malcolm Smith MC/Kawasaki/Pro Circuit/Leatt/Maxima
RIDER: Michael Horban
HOMETOWN: Grants Pass, OR. SPONSORS: Power Motorsports/MikeHorban.com/Decal Works/O'Neal/Utopia/ Shoei/OTI/Leo Vince
RIDER: Michael Leib
HOMETOWN: Menifee, CA. SPONSORS: Rocket Exhaust/On-Track/Eleven-10/SuperSprox/RK/Hinson
RIDER: Tevin Tapia
HOMETOWN: Menifee, CA. SPONSORS: 3T Performance/Fly/Munn KTM/Dragon/TCX/MX In Motion/Uni
RIDER: Chris Howell
HOMETOWN:Spokane Valley, WA. SPONSORS: RF Motorsports/Chrishowellracing.com/Kaige/Fly/Devol/Hostility/Bridgestone/MotoConcepts/DR.D
RIDER: Dustin Pipes
HOMETOWN: Madera, CA. SPONSORS: Clawson Motorsports/RaceTech/JT Racing/Mishimoto/Odi/Guts Grapics/DTL Air Filters/FMF/Maxima