Craig Keeps Podium Streak Rolling in Atlanta
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Christian Craig scored a runner-up finish in yesterday’s wild East/West Showdown at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to keeping his perfect podium record in 2022, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West points leader heads into the regional division’s weekend off with a healthy lead in the championship. Nate Thrasher made forward strides and charged back to score a solid top-five finish in the challenging conditions.
Mother Nature presented extra challenges to the much-anticipated showdown between the 250 regional classes, with heavy rains early in the morning calling for an abbreviated schedule. Although there was only one session before the gate drop, the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team came out swinging with Thrasher and Craig qualifying 1-2 in the 250SX West class, which lined up for the second heat race before the two regions squared off in the main event.
In the 250SX West heat race, Craig was third and claimed the lead in the final laps to secure the win. The Californian didn’t get the start he was hoping for in the main event but worked his way to fourth on the first lap and then into the runner-up spot on Lap 5. He and the race leader set a blistering pace and separated themselves from the rest of the field. Craig was in hot pursuit to try and claim the lead but unfortunately went down in the tricky track conditions with three laps remaining. He quickly rejoined but lost too much time on the leader and finished second. Craig’s perfect podium record has him heading to the penultimate round in Denver, Colorado, with a 23-point lead.
Thrasher showed speed straight away, taking the fastest qualifier honors in the 250SX West class and coming just shy of the fastest time overall for both divisions. Despite the challenging conditions, he then had a solid top-five finish in the heat race. The Tennessee Rider chose a gate pick on the far outside, which worked well for him last year en route to his two wins at the speedway track. Unfortunately, history did not repeat, and he found himself outside of the top 10 after the start. Undeterred, Thrasher wove his way through the pack and into fifth by the halfway point, where he ultimately finished.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s 250 East team returns to the spotlight next weekend for the regional division’s penultimate round of the season at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Saturday, April 23.
Jensen Hendler – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager
“We were on an abbreviated schedule with just one practice, which makes it tough, but Nate showed up and qualified P1 and Christian P2 in the West. We went into the heat race with good gate picks and did well. Christian had a great ride to take the win, and Nate ended up fifth.
“In the main event, Nate chose a gate pick on the far outside, which worked for him here in the past; it just didn’t work tonight. He fought hard, though, and ended up fifth, which was a solid finish for him in an East/West shootout. He’s been working super hard over the last two weeks. He’s a different guy, and we’re really proud of him. He continues to make strides, and we’ll keep working hard. I believe he’s a podium guy going into these last two rounds.
“We’re also super proud of Christian. He rode a smart race and didn’t try to go crazy to win the thing. We’re leaving here doing exactly what we came here to do - ride solid races, be smart, be consistent, and be there. So, I’m happy for both of them and looking forward to next weekend.”
Christian Craig – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“Atlanta was a wild one! It rained all morning, and I thought the track was going to be underwater, but somehow it stopped at the perfect time, and they were able to scrape off the mud. We only had one practice due to the rain, but I was able to qualify well, and I won my heat race, which was nice. Then in the main, I got off to a decent start and worked my way up to second about halfway through. I was pushing to try to catch first, and I went down with three laps to go. Luckily, I was able to get up in second and hold that position to the end. We lost three points in the title fight, but we still have a 23-point gap with two rounds left. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing, have some fun and move on to Denver.”
Nate Thrasher – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a crazy day with the weather, and we only had one qualifying session, but I felt good and was the fastest qualifier. I was fifth in my heat race, but I felt good going into the main and felt that I had the speed for a podium. I chose a far outside gate pick, which worked for me last year, but didn’t pay off today. I fought my way back to fifth, which is still not the result we are looking for, but there were a lot of positives to take away. I’m looking forward to the last two rounds and want to finish with some podiums.”
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