CASTLE ROCK SET TO HOST AMA GRAND NATIONAL DOUBLEHEADER PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 7, 2007) -- Castle Rock is a classic name in AMA Grand National racing. The Washington state circuit will host a doubleheader round of the AMA Ford Quality ...
CASTLE ROCK SET TO HOST AMA GRAND NATIONAL DOUBLEHEADER
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 7, 2007) -- Castle Rock is a classic name in AMA Grand National racing. The Washington state circuit will host a doubleheader round of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship, with the TT Steeplechase race on Friday Aug. 10, and the Short Track on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Castle Rock Race Park.
Jake Johnson, of Franklinville, N.J., is the defending winner of the Castle Rock TT. Last year Johnson beat out Chris Carr to earn the victory in the return to Castle Rock en route to winning the inaugural AMA Grand National Singles Championship. It was the first time the AMA Grand Nationals had visited the track in 12 years.
"Chris was on me the entire race last year," Johnson said. "I didn't want to look back. I just tried to stay smooth. With a few laps to go I took a quick peek over my shoulder and saw I had a bit of a lead so I just chilled out and made sure I kept it on two wheels to the checkered flag."
This year Johnson hopes to repeat aboard his factory Suzuki. He leads the series by 14 points coming into the Castle Rock doubleheader having won the season opener at Daytona in March and the Springfield (Ill.) TT over Memorial Day weekend.
Hosting back-to-back rounds of the Grand National Singles this weekend means that Castle Rock will play a pivotal roll in the championship. Seven-time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr is looking to salvage his season with a good performance this weekend allowing him a shot at the Singles title. Carr is a two-time Castle Rock TT winner and one of only two former winners in the field. He will be a major threat on his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-backed machines.
Ken Coolbeth, of Warren, Conn., and Mike Rush, of Gilroy, Calif., enter the doubleheader ranked second and third in the points. Both riders hope to narrow the gap on Johnson in the series points chase Friday night.
Other riders to watch in the TT include JR Schnabel, who was fifth last year, Jared Mees, who scored a podium in last year's race, Henry Wiles, always a threat on the shorter tracks and local favorite Joe Kopp, from Mica, Washington.
Castle Rock is also a track of local specialists. Last year a slew of local riders made the main in the TT national with Sam Halbert, from Graham, Wash., scoring seventh.
Saturday's short track presents a whole new set of challenges for the riders. It's held during the day, which makes the track's racing surface completely different from Friday night's TT. Last year it was San Mateo, California's Johnny Murphree who broke through the pack to take the win. Murphree will miss this year's race with an injury. That means a new winner will be crowned at the short track this year.
Last year Murphree used the low line to get the win. It will be interesting to see if any rider can make another line work this time around. Shaun Russell was runner-up in the short track last year. He shadowed his friend Murphree for the entire race hoping for a mistake that never came.
In addition to the Grand National Singles doubleheader, fans at Castle Rock will also get to see Pro Sport races and a Vintage Twins race each night.
The race will be broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information.
The Mt. St. Helens Motorcycle Club will be hosting the Castle Rock National. For more information check out the website www.mshmc.org or call 360-274-8700.