Chad Wienen continued his impressive late-season run as he dominated the ATV Open Championship race on Saturday, Aug. 30 at Steel City Raceway in Delmont, Pa.
With the victory Wienen earned $5,000 and a special AMA No. 1 Plate. Second place went to Wienen’s Suzuki teammate Dustin Wimmer, while Honda’s Josh Upperman claimed third.
“This is the icing on the cake,” says Wienen. “I’m speechless. I’ve never won a championship before so this is a good start for me.”
The Team Rockstar/MSR/Suzuki/Yoshimura/Pro Taper rider was hampered by shoulder injuries for much of the 2008 ITP Tires/Moose Racing AMA/ATVA National Motocross Championship, but he came on strong as the season came to a close, picking up a win and a second-place finish in his previous two events.
“When I’m good and healthy, I think I’m a threat to win every weekend,” says Wienen. “That’s my drive every single week. I just know I have it in me to win. I was headstrong even when I was down and out. I was injured this year, but I always believed I could finish out the year strong.”
Wienen rewarded the fans, who celebrated his victory with him, by throwing his chest protector, goggles and racing jersey to the crowd gathered around the podium.
“You have to love the fans; they’re why we’re here,” says Wienen. “I do whatever it takes, staying late to sign autographs, just as long as they’re happy. We need to keep them coming back and keep improving our programs, and someday I hope we can be as big as the bikes.”
Wienen’s teammate Doug Gust took the holeshot at the beginning of the event. Wienen was on a tear, though, taking second from Upperman on lap two. He passed Gust one lap later, taking the lead for good.
Wimmer, who was sporting his newly won AMA No. 1 plate for winning the National ATV Championship, started sixth, but methodically picked his way through the pack, taking the runner-up slot on lap ten.
“I had a difficult start, so I just kept my head down and tried to run a smooth race,” says Wimmer. “I knew I had the quad to do it, so I just ran my line and it worked out.”
Upperman (American Honda/Baldwin Motorsports) ran a strong second through much of the event, even challenging for the lead several times.
“I saved the best for last,” says Upperman.
ATV Open Results:
|5.||John Natalie, Jr.||Can-Am|