James Stewart overcame a rain-drenched track to win the penultimate round of the 2006 Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross/World Supercross GP championships at Quest Field in Seattle - setting up a thrilling title showdown next weekend in Las Vegas.
Honda's Nick Wey grabbed the holeshot to start the 15-lap race, which was shortened by five laps due to the weather conditions, up front - but Stewart was soon ahead and disappearing into the distance.
Behind the Kawasaki star, Yamaha's Chad Reed advanced to second while attention turned to reigning AMA and World SX GP champion Ricky Carmichael - who came into the event holding a narrow lead over Stewart in the AMA standings, but was struggling through the pack after a 10th place start.
With Stewart cruising to victory and Reed secured in second, Carmichael dug deep and fought his way to third, saving his season and keeping his title hopes alive.
With the series finale set for May 6 in Las Vegas, Carmichael is tied for the AMA points lead with Reed, while Stewart is just five-points behind in third! In the World Supercross standings, Stewart stretched his lead to 12 points over Carmichael - and so has one hand on that crown - but the AMA championship is the most prestigious.
"I had a scary crash during my practice, but I went back and talked to my mom and she helped me put together a great ride tonight," said Stewart, who picked up his seventh AMA Supercross Series win of the season. "All I can do is win next weekend and hope for the best."
"I gave it my all tonight and we have one more weekend to see how the championship ends," said Carmichael. "All I can do is do my best and see what happens in Las Vegas. This points race is great for the fans and the sport."
In the AMA Supercross Lites race, KTM's Mike Alessi won the $1,000 Progressive Direct Holeshot Award but was caught out by the slippery conditions and hit the ground in turn two. That allowed Kawasaki riders Ryan Villopoto and Grant Langston to take the top two positions, while KTM rider Nathan Ramsey caused a log jam that held up series points leader Andrew Short.
On lap two, Langston moved into the lead and was pulling away when Honda's Short shot off the track in the whoops, sending him back in the pack and all but ended his title hopes.