Kawasaki's James Stewart is on a two-race winning streak - and aiming to increase the pressure on his title rivals still further - as the 2006 AMA/World SX GP championship heads for this Saturday's Houston Supercross.
Stewart's victory at Ford Field in Detroit last Saturday put him just 10 points behind Reed and 20 points back to defending champ Carmichael in the prestigious AMA chase - and just 3-points from series leader RC in the world championship standings.
While the SXGP gap is too close to call, with four races remaining the AMA mathematics is simple for Stewart - he needs to gain an average of five points per race on Carmichael to win the title. That's a tall order to say the least, but Stewart's approach is to try to win every week and hope that Carmichael gives him some sort of opening.
"I'm running my own races now and having fun winning," said Stewart of his AMA chances. "I just want to keep winning races, that's my goal right now and I'm not thinking that much about the points. If I can keep this streak alive then maybe at some point I'll have a shot."
While Carmichael could be excused for simply making sure he finishes somewhere on the podium in the closing four rounds, riding to win is the only mindset of the Suzuki ace. He vented some of his frustration of finishing a distant second in Detroit this past weekend.
"I felt like I had a shot at running with James in Detroit," Carmichael said. "A bad start put me in a world of hurt and then I had a tough time with lappers. It's too bad because I had the speed and I know fans want to see some good racing. I want to get up there and try to win a few more before the season's over."
Yamaha's Reed is still very much in the AMA championship picture in spite of riding while recovering from a separated shoulder. He finished third last week and lost a couple more points to Carmichael, but still holds hope that he can win back the title he earned in 2004.
"I've accepted that I'm going to have to ride the rest of the supercross season with this injury," Reed said. "Hopefully the two-week break after Houston will give me the chance to get the shoulder in much better shape so I can really go full out in the last three rounds. I'm going to fight to the end."
While the 'Big Three' of Carmichael, Reed and Stewart are battling over the championships, a good race is developing among the next group of riders in the standings. Ivan Tedesco, Nick Wey and Michael Byrne are within 13 points of one another in the battle for fourth through sixth in the AMA championship.
Houston also marks the final round of the AMA Supercross Lites East Region Series. Honda's Davi Millsaps needs to finish only 17th or better to wrap up his first professional title. Sobe Samsung Mobile Honda's Josh Grant is the only other rider with a chance to win the title. Grant is riding a two-race winning streak coming into Houston.