Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki Team R&D manager Zach White’s words in the press release previewing the upcoming three races in Atlanta Motor Speedway’s infield spoke volumes.
“It was great to get a little downtime between races, but we were still very busy making preparations for the outdoor season and keeping the guys sharp to close out the season strong,” he said.
“The new Atlanta venue will be interesting. While we might want to treat it a lot like Daytona because of its speedway location, we’ll have very different dirt to deal with. But I think this type of track could favor us.”
White, team boss Mitch Payton and the entire Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki crew will certainly want their riders sharp for Saturday afternoon’s first race inside the NASCAR track, not least Cameron McAdoo. Two points behind 250SX West Region West title leader Justin Cooper of Yamaha, the title is now a toss-up, and something Payton, McAdoo, White and company desperately want.
Q: The last time you raced was at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas nearly three weeks ago. The three week break seemed to last an eternity, didn’t it?
CAMERON MCADOO: Yeah, it felt the same way for us. Especially being in a title fight and wanting to get back to racing, you know? You just want to keep going and keep working towards the goal, so we obviously had some good work to do and got some good stuff done during the break, and made some improvements. But it has been a long break. One weekend off is one thing, but then it’s two weekends off and it is like, “Alright, we want to race!” You know, once we’re in the season we want to go. We’re racers.
Q: The upside is that you’re in the title fight. Justin Cooper and you are separated by a mere two points and Hunter Lawrence is only a handful of points back from the two of you with only this forthcoming Atlanta run and Salt Lake City remaining on the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Series schedule.
CMcA: Yeah, it’s exciting. I’m obviously new to it all, but it doesn’t feel super out-there. I always questioned how it would feel to be in this position. It doesn’t feel like it comes by surprise or anything like that for me, so it’s been exciting and we’re enjoying it. I’m taking it race by race. We had one pretty rough race there at Arlington 2 which didn’t do us any good, but other than that I’ve been on the podium every single race, and I’ve won all my heat races but one, so it has been the season we have looked for the last few years. It’s finally coming together for me.
Q: As you alluded to, your results have been outstanding. With the exception of the Arlington 2 race, where you were docked three positions after hitting the ground in a turn and violating section 4.15 I 2 of the 2021 AMA Supercross rulebook for cutting the course, it has been all podium finishes for you.
CMcA: Yeah, my box score going back to Orlando is 2, 1, 3, 10 and 2. Yeah, the results are pretty good other than that one. Those are the results I’ve posted up, and as far as the 10th place finish at Arlington, as they say, you win your championships on your bad nights, and unfortunately my bad night was at Arlington. I felt like I salvaged something form the evening when I lost those three points, but it was still a tough pill to swallow. But we didn’t dwell on it, and it was good to bounce back on that last Saturday race, and get another second place finish to prove that I didn’t sit on it and worry about it.
Q: Mitch Payton, Zach White and the entire Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team has to be thrilled with your results and overall performance. You’re right there with a shot at the championship and that’s the sort of thing those guys live for, huh?
CMcA: Totally. Yeah, Mitch is stoked and the team vibe is really good. It has always been good for me. I’ve always enjoyed working with these guys. They give me the respect that I give them, and they also make it obvious that we want to win and that’s what our goal is and that’s what we are here to do. We work together really well, and obviously it is exciting that we’ve been having some pretty good success this year on our coast. Seth Hammaker and I have had some good races, and it’s a lot easier to keep the spirits up high when things are going this way. What I’m thankful for is to be around guys that, even when things aren’t going in an upwards direction, they keep me rolling and keep me positive and looking forward to the next race.
Q: I watched the Daytona Supercross race on TV and saw how well you performed on that long and rough infield circuit. What a cool race to win, huh?
CMcA: Yeah, that was a special moment for me. Obviously, everyone’s first win is really special, but it has been such a long road for me, and I took a different route to get to get to that level, that the Daytona win was really special. There was lot of work put into it, and there were also a crazy amount of ups and downs and question marks throughout my whole career, so to win was amazing. As it is for anyone and everyone, anyone that gets to this level and wins a race in any of the classes, they’ve had to work crazy-hard and have had really big ups-and-downs along the way. I don’t like to pump my story too much and be like, “Oh, I’ve had all this hardship.” Everyone has.
But that Daytona win felt so good. I told my people around me later that the win felt so good. I said to them, “That feeling to win is everything you dream of it being, and more.” That was a good one. It was cool, and it was fun to be able pull up onto the track and do that burnout and kind of take it in… it was a special night for us.
Q: This three-race run set for Atlanta Motor Speedway certainly seems to have everyone involved in the sport pretty fired up. What do you think?
CMcA: Yeah, it looks cool to me! I’ve been seeing some pictures and videos, and it looks like it is going to be pretty supercross-oriented with long lanes. It looks pretty cool. It looks like we might have a wet one this Saturday, but who knows? It’s Southeast weather and you never know what you’re going to get there. Whatever it is, we’re going to be prepared for it.
Q: Cooper is an established guy and he’s leading this thing rolling into Atlanta. You’re right there with him. What’s your masterplan for Atlanta Motor Speedway?
CMcA: I try not to focus on one racer I race against. He’s not the only guy out there that is good; there are a lot of guys going fast, and there are a lot of good guys and everyone is riding good. But yes, obviously Justin is the main guy I’m fighting with for the title, and Hunter Lawrence is also in it. My biggest game plan is to just focus on me and executing what I need to do and what I’ve worked on. I can’t worry about those other guys, because that will put me backwards. That’s one thing I’ve learned over the multiple years of racing: as soon as I start putting a mark on someone else, that’s where I go negative. We’re going to fight hard for it, and I’d imagine that’s their exact game plan too. So I look forward to some good battlesm and may the best guy win it.