10 Things to Watch: IndyFriday, March 15, 2013 | 9:00 AM
By Aaron Hansel and Chase Stallo
Just when Ryan Villopoto’s bike was starting to look normal without the red plate, he goes and takes over the point lead for the first time in 2013. With seven races remaining, the reigning champ has a 2-point lead over Davi Millsaps and a 14-point gap on Ryan Dungey. But with three wins in four races, and Millsaps struggling a bit, doesn't that lead feel a lot bigger than just two points? This weekend could present the last chance for anyone to keep the champ in check. - Hansel
Four of Four
Eli Tomac’s run of four 450SX races will come to an end when the checkered flag flies this Saturday night in Lucas Oil Stadium. Tomac had decent results at the first two races (seventh in Atlanta and thirteenth in St. Louis), but his fourth-place finish in Daytona, despite a small crash, was impressive. His qualifying times suggest that he’s got the speed to make a run at the podium. Will he put it all together and go out with a bang in Indianapolis? - Hansel
Indy will spell the end of Eli Tomac's 450 run.
Simon Cudby photo
Pre season, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson was the heavy favorite to roost away with the Eastern Regional 250SX championship. His convincing win at the opener in Dallas only reinforced that notion. Fast forward to the present, where Wilson is trailing GEICO Powersports’ Wil Hahn by five points and has lost the last three consecutive races, not to mention getting straight handled at Daytona. His bid for a championship is far from over, but things will look bleak if he doesn't get back to his winning ways this weekend at Indy. - Hansel
After a night of racing on the longest, toughest and definitely most unique supercross track of the season, it’s back to the standard, covered football stadiums of the East. While there have been a few complaints that these tracks have are producing follow-the-leader races this year, let’s face it, the main events in Daytona didn’t produce any spectacular battles for the lead. With that in mind, let’s hope the return to the norm at Indy will produce a race as thrilling as St. Louis. - Hansel
Hard to believe James Stewart and Chad Reed have morphed into spoilers instead of title contenders, but here they are, healthy enough to win races, but way, way back in points. But on any given night, they have the stuff to run with anyone and steal precious points away from the lead dogs. They may not be a factor for the title, themselves, but they're still a factor, nonetheless. - Weigandt
Wilson looks to bounce back in Indy.
Simon Cudby photo
No, we’re not talking about actual fisticuffs (unless you count Weston Peick vs. his Suzuki in the pits after the 450SX LCQ in Daytona), we’re talking about the unwavering determination of guys like Bobby Kiniry and Weston Peick. Calling these guys intense is an understatement, and for some reason, they often find themselves battling for position. In Daytona, the two put on a ridiculous battle for the final transfer spot in the LCQ that was easily the best qualifying race of the year. It was so close AMA officials had to overturn the transponder reading (in Peick's favor), which is actually taken just before the peak of the finish line jump, which serves as the official ending point of the race. They were tee'd up for another one like this in Atlanta before Peick went down trying the block pass o' death on Kiniry. Keep your eyes on Kiniry and Peick this weekend. If they find themselves in a battle, it’s guaranteed to be one of the hardest-fought of the night. - Hansel
Podium Contender Left?
Before MyPlash/Metal Mulisha Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin joined the fray in Daytona, pre-season favorites Wil Hahn, Dean Wilson, Blake Wharton and Marvin Musquin had a stranglehold on the 250SX East Region podium. With injuries still playing a major role in regards to the depth of the class (Nico Izzi, Alex Martin, Justin Bogle, Darryn Durham still out) can Justin Hill, Kyle Peters, Gavin Faith, Zach Bell or Jimmy Decotis secure their first career podium in Indy? – Stallo
There’s still mixed feelings in the paddock regarding air forks. Eli Tomac, who recently made the switch back to the spring forks, told Racer X’s Steve Matthes after a 450SX career-high fourth in Daytona that he “absolutely dislikes the air forks right now” and that you “need a lot, a lot of time on them to figure stuff out.” Chad Reed, who made the switch from air forks to spring forks before Atlanta, has been a completely different rider since. On the other hand, Davi Millsaps made the switch to the air fork early in the season and hasn’t looked back after winning San Diego on them. Essentially, it seems like it all boils down to personal preference. – Stallo
Can Reed play spoiler in Indy?
Simon Cudby photo
The mid-season transition to BTOSports.com KTM from L&MC, then later to a production Honda, hasn’t been a smooth one for Andrew Short. Through the first seven rounds (with Honda) Short’s average finish was 7.42. In the three races since the switch Short’s average finish is 12th. Compounding matters, Short suffered a broken finger in his heat race in Daytona. After a few weeks of adjustment, will Short return to his early season form in Indy? – Stallo
In the Face of Adversity
For the first time all season, Davi Millsaps has a wee bit of adversity staring him straight in the face. Following his worst finish of the season, which came after a hard crash during mid-week testing, Millsaps won’t have the red plate at his disposal in Indy. In a field with more talent than America’s Got Talent, even 1 percent off normalcy could present trouble. Will Millsaps return to the ever-consistent form we have witnessed all season? – Stallo
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