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Daytona Municipal: Season opener preview

Carr To Begin Title Defense At Daytona PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Champion Chris Carr is set to begin his quest for a fourth championship when the series kicks off Saturday night March 9, ...

Carr To Begin Title Defense At Daytona

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Champion Chris Carr is set to begin his quest for a fourth championship when the series kicks off Saturday night March 9, at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla. Carr, who comes into this season with new sponsorship from Quality Checked Pre-Owned Ford, is a two-time winner at the Daytona short track. He and veteran Terry Poovey are both hoping to tie the record of three wins at Daytona.

Carr has had his share of ups and downs on Municipal Stadium's hard-to-master 1/4-mile limestone-based dirt oval. Even though the Californian-turned-Pennsylvanian has won twice at Daytona, he's only managed two top-five finishes in the last five years.

"When I've done well down there it was when the track was dry," Carr explains. "I've struggled when the track was wet, so the key for me is to find a good bike set-up early. Friday night's race (the AMA Hot Shoe Series event) is going to be important to find the right combination. And then you have to hope the conditions don't change the next night."

Predicting a winner at Daytona is always tough to do and this year even more so with the new 505cc displacement rule for single-cylinder machines. Carr points out that a good start at Municipal Stadium is critical. "If you get behind it's hard to catch back up."

Carr says that the Daytona opener is so unpredictable that saying exactly who is going to be his biggest challenger is tough to do.

"A few years ago Rich King won Friday night's Hot Shoe race and was watching from the sidelines during the Grand National," Carr said. "You can look at the results in the last few years and get an idea of who's going to be strong down there, but someone always seems to come through and surprise you."

Studying the results proves Carr's point. Only one rider has managed to be able to finish in the top five each year at Daytona over the last five years. That rider is Brett Landes. Landes, the 1995 Daytona winner who hails from Los Gatos, Calif., is always a threat on short-tracks and has been the most consistent top finisher at Daytona. Landes is also the last "young" rider to win Daytona (he was 24 in 1995). If there is a pattern at Daytona it is that it seems to favor veteran racers. The average age of Municipal Stadium's winner of the last five years is 37.

Two-time winner Poovey is 43 and no one is counting him out despite his being one of the oldest riders in the field. Another fan favorite will be 44-year-old Jay Springsteen. The three-time national champ from Michigan is starting his 28th season on the AMA Grand National circuit. For immediate post-race results, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.1800FlatTrack.com, the official website of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships.

Schedule of Events
Municipal Stadium, Daytona Beach, Fl
March 9, 2002

SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2002
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 Noon -- Registration and Tech Inspection at the track
12:15 p.m. -- Riders Meeting
12:30 p.m. -- Practice
1:30 p.m. -- Qualifying Heats
6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. -- Open Pits for Spectators
8:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. -- 1st GNC heat
8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. -- 2nd GNC heat
8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. -- 3rd GNC heat
9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. -- 4th GNC heat
9:10 p.m. - 9:20 p.m. -- 5th GNC heat
9:20 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. -- 6th GNC heat
9:30 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. -- 1st GNC Semi
9:40 p.m. - 9:50 p.m. -- 2nd GNC Semi
9:50 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. -- 3rd GNC Semi
10:00 p.m. - 10:10 p.m. -- 4th GNC Semi
10:10 p.m. - 10:25 p.m. -- Intermission
10:25 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. -- AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National Championship Final

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr