Johnson/Sellards’ Team Owners Put Their Two Cents InThursday, February 9, 2006 | 7:31 AM
Junior Jackson (Yamaha) and Dave Antolak (Thor/Honda/TUF Racing) speaking on then epic battle for the 2005-2006 Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series title this weekend in Denver
AURORA, Ill., (Feb. 8, 2006) – The men behind the two racers in the hunt for the overall Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series title – Chad Johnson and Brock Sellards – are just about as excited to get this weekend’s contest going at the Denver Coliseum as the racers themselves.
Junior Jackson, the guy who wears all the hats – team manager, chief mechanic, owner – for Yamaha-backed Chad Johnson’s race team and Dave Antolak, boss of Sellards’ Thor/Honda/TUF Race team, are both poised to bring the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series title back to their respective camp.
Jackson, whose racer has led the entire Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series season – up to this point – is a former mini cycle phenom who is no stranger to the pressure of high level motocross racing. He combines and excellent mix of professionalism and ‘big brother’ attitude to Johnson. And it’s this formula that has paid off, raising last year’s third-place overall finisher into a tie for the lead as we head into the season’s last race.
“Chad’s in a position right now where obviously knows what has to be done,” said Jackson. “We’ve worked hard to make sure he’s prepared and are trying not to second guess ourselves.”
Lining up next to Johnson – with the driven intent to win the overall title – is Sellards. Antolak, himself a former racer as well, has been chasing AMA Arenacross titles for more than a decade. This year he landed a racer who, on paper, had about the best credentials of anyone racing AMA Arenacross in recent years. And curiously, the caveat with this Johnson/Sellards battle is that Antolak and Johnson are also pretty good friends.
“While I really want to win the championship this year, I want to win it and not have Chad lose it,” said Antolak, who allows Johnson (Rhinelander, Wisc.) to practice on his indoor track in nearby Illinois. “I have sponsored Chad since he was on 80s, so if we don’t win the title, it’ll be nice to see him win it.”
Both Antolak and Jackson agreed that there’s an immense amount of pressure on these two young men, going into the last weekend of racing with a Toyota Tacoma 4x4 and thousands of dollars prize money on the line – both racers tied at 375 points a piece.
“When I was racing it’s actually very similar to seeing Chad race,” explained Jackson. “I want to win just as bad now as when I was racing. And Chad’s certainly the same way and that’s what has kept us on top.”
There’s a little less pressure on Antolak as the longtime team owner – who’s sponsored Johnson in the past – wants to see some great racing regardless of the outcome. However, should Sellards prevail, Antolak will for sure be right in the middle of the celebration.
“I want to win this championship this year more than any other since we started racing in 1985,” said Antolak. “We have two championships already, but they came in our first two years of racing – and almost too easily. We didn’t appreciate what we had accomplished as much as maybe we should have. If we win this year I will definitely take the time to enjoy it.”
The Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series returns to action in this weekend when the world’s top arena-based motocross racers converge on the Denver Coliseum for the final round of the ten-round series. For more information on this ‘must-see’ Denver race please visit www.arenacross.com or contact the Denver Coliseum box office at (303) 640-2637.
Arenacross Class Overall Points Wins
1.) Chad Johnson 375 7
2.) Brock Sellards 375 7
3.) Kevin Johnson 325 3
4.) Jeff Northrop 306 1
5.) Greg Schnell 297
6.) Jim Neese 281
7.) Shawn Clark 235
8.) Zach Ames 209
9.) Scott Metz 169
10.) Jim Chester 141