SALT LAKE CITY — The lights go down and the engines rev up as the Monster Energy Supercross drops the checkered flag tonight at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
The 17-city tour makes its second to last stop in Salt Lake, a week before the championships conclude the season in Las Vegas.
"We are excited to be back", said Todd Jendro, vice president of operations for Feld Motorsports. "This is the forth-consecutive year Salt Lake has hosted Monster Energy Supercross tour. We are also happy to announce that the race, thanks to the great efforts of the Utah Sports Commission will be returning April 27, 2013."
Gov. Gary Herbert welcomed the racers and fans to Rice-Eccles Stadium in a press conference Thursday.
"What a great state we have", Herbert said. "This race is a great fit for us. Utah is really becoming the state of sport."
Utah boosts an economy that is growing twice the national average, according to Herbert.
"Sports and the sporting events we host help grow our economy," Herbert said. "We have become a leader in the outdoors sports community, and the sports we host help to expose Utah to the rest of the world."
The race will air live tonight on the Speed Channel along with a one-hour race special on CBS on Sunday. The exposure of the state reaches worldwide to 188 countries.
"Utah's sports community is a $6 billion dollar industry," said Jeff Robbins, president and CEO of the Utah Sports Commission. "The Monster Energy Supercross has brought $75 million dollars to date to the state economy and $20 million in media exposure."
In staging the race, 7,000 cubic yards of dirt are needed to transform the home of the Utes to a motorcycle playground, and South Jordan native Landon Powell is excited to race for the hometown crowd.
"Being home is always the best," Powell said. "Not many racers come from this state, so being able to be here, to ride well and represent the state is a great honor for me."
Powell is in the midst of his third season on the Monster Energy Supercross tour, riding both the lite series and the 450 Supercross series.
"It has been a great season and there is always room to improve," Powell said. "This season has given me many great successes and things to build off of. With so many of the top riders on the sideline, the race is wide open for anyone to get to the top of the podium and I want that someone to be me. I hope the weather holds off this year unlike last year and that I make my family and the state proud."
When asked if he felt any added pressure being at home in Utah, Powell said, "I don't feel any added pressure, just a few more nerves with a ton of excitement."
A winner here in 2003, Chad Reed racer and owner of Two Two Motorsports said in a press conference that Salt Lake City is one of his favorite stops.
"This city is so much fun," Reed said. "I have lots of great memories here including when I won in 2003 in front of my parents who were visiting the states from Australia for the first time."
The weather in years past has been an issue, with snow falling on the main event last year.
"Being able to adapt to the track is the mark of a successful rider," said Reed.
Local Landon Powell also noted the track conditions.
"The track at Rice-Eccles is difficult," Powell said. "It is a tight track with a lot of technical features which creates for tight racing. You need to keep your eyes on the course and stay focused on what you are doing."
Gates open to the Pit Party at 12:30 p.m. with main even tracing beginning at 7 p.m. Bring an empty Monster Energy drink can to gain free entry to the Pit Party.
Today, 7 p.m.
Today, 12:30 p.m.