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FT: Peoria preview

WILES GOING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT AT THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PEORIA TT PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 14, 2007) -- In terms of racing history it doesn't get much better than the Peoria TT. This Sunday, Aug. 19, the Peoria (Ill.) Race Park will...

WILES GOING FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT AT THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE PEORIA TT

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 14, 2007) -- In terms of racing history it doesn't get much better than the Peoria TT. This Sunday, Aug. 19, the Peoria (Ill.) Race Park will host the 60th Anniversary edition of the historic AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship race.

The headline at this year's Peoria TT is Blanchard, Michigan rider Henry Wiles gunning for his fourth-straight victory in the TT. The Peoria TT will also play a pivotal roll in this year's AMA GNC Singles Championship. Jake Johnson and Ken Coolbeth are tied atop the standings coming into Peoria, the penultimate round of the series.

Wiles has been the rider to beat at Peoria over the last few years. He scored a surprise win in the race in 2004, but proved that first victory was no fluke when he backed it up with a repeat win in 2005 and then scored his third straight last year. Now Wiles comes to the prestigious event poised to make it four straight. In the long history of the race only Joe Leonard, Bart Markel and Chris Carr have won the race four years running. This year Wiles be riding a Obermeyer Yamaha/Troy Lee Designs-backed machine.

"I did pretty well there in the Hot Shoe race earlier this summer [he won] so I think the chance of winning again is there," Wiles said. "It's not going to be easy. There are a couple of other riders who are going pretty good. I think I'm going to have to ride just about perfect as I did the last few years there and a good start will help."

Wiles said he doesn't believe the pressure is building as his winning streak grows at Peoria.

"I think there would definitely be more pressure on me if I were up there in the championship. Unfortunately we've had some tough luck at some of the other races, so I come to Peoria with nothing to lose really. I can just go out there and try to win another one."

Wiles went on to say that he thought Joe Kopp and Chris Carr would be his toughest competition at this year's race. He also pointed out that the 2007 edition of Peoria would be doubly interesting since the top two riders in the AMA GNC Singles division of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship are not necessarily known for doing well at the race.

Jake Johnson and Ken Coolbeth are tied for the AMA GNC Singles Championship lead with 79 points apiece. Coolbeth, the factory Harley-Davidson rider, has had a tough time just making the main at Peoria over his career. Coolbeth's best finish in the race was eighth in 1998. Johnson has a better record at the track, even scoring a podium when he finished third in 2005. A slip by either rider this weekend could give an opportunity for riders like Jared Mees or JR Schnabel to get back in the title hunt.

Chris Carr is the all-time wins leader at Peoria with 13 wins dating back to 1986. Joe Kopp and JR Schnabel are the other former winners of the grand old race.

The Peoria TT is one of the most historic races in all of motorcycle racing. The Peoria Motorcycle Club began the TT race in the 1930s and it was made a national in 1947. It is one of the most unique races on the calendar. Its setting is in a natural amphitheater with shaded hillsides surrounding the track filled with enthusiastic fans. The circuit's demanding jump and following right-hand turn present a challenge most flat track riders aren't accustomed to.

The race will be broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information. For ticket information call (309) 967-1285.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Joe Leonard , Chris Carr