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Birmingham: Supersport preview

Spies rapidly moving back into contention in Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Texan recovers from Daytona disappointment PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 10, 2004) -- Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies is ranked sixth coming into...

Spies rapidly moving back into contention in Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei
Texan recovers from Daytona disappointment

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 10, 2004) -- Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies is ranked sixth coming into round four of the 11-race Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei this Sunday, May 16, at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Normally that wouldn't be anything to write home about for the 19-year-old AMA Formula Xtreme champ, but Spies has to be thrilled with his progress after a mechanical problem put him out of the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in March.

Spies rallied after his Daytona troubles to finish second at California Speedway in April and then dominated the most recent round earlier this month at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. Spies will look to continue his roll as the series roars into Alabama and the newest road course on the AMA circuit.

Spies says the Infineon victory gave him a lot of confidence coming into the race at Barber.

"We're finally getting the new 600 figured out," said Spies, who sat out the race at Barber last year to concentrate on wrapping up the Formula Xtreme title. "We've got a really fast motor and now we can concentrate on inching up on everybody. I was 38 points out going into Fontana and now I'm just 25 back, so we've taken a substantial chunk out of the points gap already. I go into Barber and races beyond concentrating on getting as many pole points as I can, as many lap leader points and to get as many wins as possible. I like the Barber circuit. In testing there I think we were the fastest in both Supersport and Superstock, so it's good."

While Spies is closing in fast, Kentuckian Tommy Hayden stills holds a six-point lead over Daytona winner Jason DiSalvo in the hotly contested championship. There have been three different winners in three rounds. Hayden is one of them. He is a 10-year veteran of AMA Pro Racing and is gunning for his first Supersport title after coming close many times. Hayden won last year's Supersport race at Barber.

Joining Spies and Hayden in the Supersport ranks this season is defending series champ Jamie Hacking. Yamaha-mounted Hacking is winless so far this season in Supersport, but the Carolinian is a threat every time he takes to the track.

Yamaha's young gun Jason DiSalvo took a podium finish at Barber last year and is looking to close the gap on Tommy Hayden's narrow points lead. Tied with Jamie Hacking for third in the standings is Tommy Hayden's younger brother Roger Lee, also of Kawasaki. The youngest Hayden brother is considered by many the most talented rider never to have won an AMA national road race.

Local fans will have their own team to cheer on. The Corona Extra Suzuki squad is based in Birmingham. Owned by Birmingham native Landers Sevier V, the team fields Australian Ben Attard on a Suzuki GSX-R600 in the Supersport Championship. Attard has scored two top-10 finishes so far this season and is ranked 13th in the standings.

SPEED Channel will have its cameras at the AMA Honda Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park. The Barber Supersport race will be taped for showing as part of the network's Two-Wheel Tuesday on May 25 at 3 am and 2 pm Eastern.

For ticket information on the AMA Honda Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park contact (800) 240-2300 or visit www.barbermotorsports.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship.

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Ben Spies , Ben Attard