2000 Las Vegas 250cc Heat #2 (Jeremy McGrath Vs. Kevin Windham #2)

Posted on

This is the 2nd 250cc qualifying heat race from the 2000 Las Vegas Supercross finale.

In 2000, Chaparral Yamaha's Jeremy McGrath came into the Vegas Supercross finale with his 7th Supercross title (his 3rd consecutive) already in his hip pocket, having won the last race of the season in Chicago. It was the first time since 1996 that McGrath sealed a Supercross title with a victory on the track; he had rode to a 2nd place finish behind Team Honda's Ezra Lusk in 1998 and '99. Only one thing was left on Jeremy's mind: ending his Supercross season with a bang. Jeremy had won 9 of the 15 races so far, and he was looking to end 2000 with win #10, which would give him a total of 70 career 250cc Supercross victories. Jeremy's worst finish of 2000 was a pair of 4th places at San Diego and Dallas. He lost his front brake at San Diego; at Dallas, Jeremy collided with Team Honda's Kevin Windham #14 off the first jump and crashed. Jeremy came from 20th to 4th. Jeremy's Yamaha cohort, David Vuillemin #934 added in 4 additional wins to total 13 for Yamaha — the most in a single season since 1980 when Yamaha won 12 races out of 17. Kevin Windham and Team Kawasaki's Ricky Carmichael #4 were the only other winners in 2000.

As of the 3rd round at San Diego, Mcgrath and Windham raced in the same heat race in every round except St. Louis. Kevin had won 3 heats over Jeremy and 5 for the season, while McGrath had won 8 heats over Windham, 11 for the season; this heat race was no exception. Ricky Carmichael added more fun to the heat races since he won his first 250cc race at Daytona, which stopped a 9-race win streak for Yamaha going back to the 1999 Vegas Supercross.

Coming into Vegas, Kevin Windham was pretty upset after the last race in Chicago. Windham challenged McGrath in the first 1/4 of the race, but Jeremy showed he couldn't be touched and ran away with the win. Kevin was extremely heated when David Vuillemin, who crashed in the first turn, put an aggressive block pass on K-Dub for a 2nd place finish with just 1/4 lap to go. For Kevin, the 3rd place was still a good step in the right direction, following an 8-race slump in mid-season. Windham picked up the pieces for his season at Minneapolis with a 4th place; it was his best finish since round 3 at San Diego when he hit the podium in 3rd place. At Pontiac 2, Windham battled with Jeremy again before McGrath made a good pass on him; Kevin fell to 3rd, but that was the beginning of a string of podiums to finish out the 2000 season. Along the way, Kevin won his (and Honda's) first race of the season at Dallas, leading all 20 laps. It was Kevin's first win since Dallas 1999 when a femur injury at Minneapolis ended his season.

In this heat race, Windham jumped out to an early holeshot. McGrath tried to run with Kevin, but numerous slide-outs from Jeremy allowed Kevin to pull out an 8 second lead. Windham would cruise to his 6th heat win of the season. On a side note, Kevin had a new mechanic for this race: Ron Wood (a former mechanic of Ryan Hughes) after Windham's usual mechanic, Alley Semar, hurt his wrist while preparing Kevin's CR250R.

In the main, Kevin's Honda teammate, #21 Sebastien Tortelli stole the holeshot, but Windham jumped into the lead quickly. He built as much as a 5-second lead while McGrath was running back in 3rd. Jeremy passed Tortelli quickly, but nobody knew if he'd even try for the win with the championship in a virtual lock. With a tire change between races, Jeremy started picking up space slowly but surely on Windham. Jeremy caught Kevin at about the halfway point of the 20-lap main event; on lap 15, Jeremy made the pass on Windham. Kevin tried to challenge him back, but Jeremy was too much, and cruised to his 10th win of the 2000 season. Tightness eventually got the best of Windham again, and he lost 2nd to AMSOIL Honda's Mike LaRocco. Jeremy would end the 2000 season with a 35-point lead over David Vuillemin, who finished in 4th. 35 points was the smallest winning margin for Jeremy in 7 championship seasons.


Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *