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FT: Championship Speedway Series preview

AMA Speedway Field Features Two World Champions PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced the field of 22 national and international racers that will compete in the first round of the 2004 AMA National ...

AMA Speedway Field Features Two World Champions

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has announced the field of 22 national and international racers that will compete in the first round of the 2004 AMA National Championship Speedway Series Presented by Progressive Insurance, to be held on August 6 at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn, California.

Headlined by two former world champions -- Billy Hamill (1996) and Greg Hancock (1997) -- the field also includes five past AMA National Champions: Hancock, Hamill, Mike Faria, Bobby Schwartz and Chris Manchester.

The second round of the 2004 AMA National Championship Speedway Series Presented by Progressive Insurance will be held the next night, August 7, at Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway in Victorville, California; the final round of the series will be September 24 at Fast Fridays Speedway.

Under a format unique to the AMA National Championship Speedway Series, 14 riders are seeded into the main program of the first event, and 8 others will contest a preliminary round from which only two riders will advance to round out a 16-rider championship program.

Each evening of racing will pack 28 four-lap sprints into a three-hour program. The winner of each round will be decided in a sudden-death sprint featuring the four riders with the most points from their five programmed heat races. At the conclusion of each round of the series, the two lowest-scoring riders are relegated to the preliminary round at the next race.

Hancock, currently ranked third in the world, is the pre-race favorite and the defending AMA Speedway champion. He was closely trailed in the 2003 series by Ryan Fisher, Billy Janniro and Hamill. Those four riders, as well as Eric Carrillo, are all California natives based in Europe.

One rider in the series, Bartek Bardecki, is a Polish national who races full-time in the U.S. All but one of the remaining riders are from California or Nevada, while New Yorker Tom Sephton is the sole Eastern-states rider in the series. Sephton earned his slot by winning a special qualifying event in June at Champion Speedway in Owego, New York.

Four riders will make their AMA National Championship Speedway Series debut: Justin Boyle, Matt Browne, Shawn Harmatiuk and Sephton.

Here is the full field of 22 riders entered in round one of the series:

Top 14 seeds
Bart Bast, Auburn, California
Scott Brant, Riverside, California
Eddie Castro, Ojai, California
Mike Faria, Reno, Nevada
Ryan Fisher, Norco, California
Greg Hancock, Costa Mesa, California
Billy Hamill, Monrovia, California
Bobby Hedden, Folsom, California
Tommy Hedden, Auburn, California
Billy Janniro, Vallejo, California
Chris Manchester, Reno, Nevada
Tom Sephton, Vestal, New York
Charlie Venegas, San Bernardino, California
Bryan Yarrow, Vallejo, California

Preliminary Round Riders
Bartek Bardecki, Alta, California
Justin Boyle, Long Beach, California
Matt Browne, Pleasant Hill, California
Eric Carrillo, Newark, California
Shawn Harmatiuk, Garden Grove, California
Chris Kerr, Grass Valley, California
Bobby Schwartz, Costa Mesa, California
Bobby Krips, Riverside, California

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