After January 22, 2011, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto and company will have something in common with Sandy Koufax, Pope John Paul II and The Three Tenors; they will have all performed in Dodger Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. Baseball stadiums are nothing new to supercross (the first three rounds are held in MLB venues) but two major reasons should be cited for the significance of AMA Supercross getting a shot at Dodger Stadium; it's the third oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball (1962) and it is the largest ballpark by seating capacity. The latter was a major incentive for AMA Supercross promoters, Feld Motor Sports, to land a date at the historical venue, site of eight World Series appearances and 10 no-hitters.
"When Angel Stadium was renovated years ago, capacity went from around 65,000 to a little over 45,000," said Dave Prater, director of supercross. "Feld Motor Sports added an Anaheim event to help meet Southern California's love of supercross racing. Over the years, we added a third event. When the opportunity to take supercross to an iconic venue like Dodger Stadium presents itself, you have to take it."
For much of the last decade Angel Stadium was a sellout three times a season at 45,050 seats. The 56,000 seats at Dodger Stadium will give Feld MS more room in the same market. Major improvements to the stadium between 2003 and 2005 made Dodger Stadium an even more attractive draw for Feld. The most significant of those renovations included replacement of nearly all the seating.
The state-of-the-art field at Dodger Stadium is managed by the Prescription Athletic Turf (PAT) system and consists of 100,000 square feet of bermuda grass grown on pure sand The field was voted best quality playing field by Sports Illustrated in 2003. Dodgers fans will have a hard time imagining this field covered in plywood and 550 truckloads of dirt but Eric Hansen, Assistant Director of Turf and Grounds at Dodger Stadium isn't too worried. "I have all the confidence in the world in the Feld Motor Sports crew," said Hansen. "All we have to worry about is replacing the actual grass once the dirt is removed and from what I've been told, (Feld) is the best in the world at what they do so my anxiety level is extremely low."
Ryan Dungey, the 2010 AMA Supercross Champion is excited for the added variety in the schedule. "I hear a lot of good things about it. It's always good (for the sport) to be able to race at a place like that with that much history and the memories. It's exciting to go into new places. You learn so much, too from the place around you." Ryan Villopoto was on hand at an October media day where the Feld MX group revealed their plans to convert the baseball stadium in to a supercross track. "It's always a different track no matter the stadium," Villopoto said. "It really comes down to the dirt as some is really soft while others are really hard. If it is anything like the dirt we have at other rounds in California, it should be good."
2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Schedule
January 8 - Angel Stadium - Anaheim, CA
January 15 - Chase Field - Phoenix, AZ
January 22 - Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, CA
January 29 - Oak-Alameda City Stadium - Oakland, CA
February 5 - Angel Stadium - Anaheim, CA
February 12 - Reliant Stadium - Houston, TX
February 19 - Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
February 26 - Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA
March 5 - Daytona Int'l Speedway - Daytona, FL
March 12 - Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, IN
March 19 - Jacksonville Municipal Stadium - Jacksonville, FL
March 26 - Rogers Centre - Toronto, ON, Canada
April 2 - Cowboys Stadium - Arlington, TX
April 9 - Edward Jones Dome - St. Louis, MO
April 16 - Qwest Field - Seattle, WA
April 30 - Rice-Eccles Stadium - Salt Lake City, UT
May 7 - Sam Boyd Stadium - Las Vegas, NV