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Mid-Ohio: Round eight doubleheader preview

SPIES RETURNING TO MID-OHIO AS AMA SUPERBIKE LEADER PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 31, 2006) -- Six years ago a 16-year-old Ben Spies made his AMA professional racing debut. The young Texan showed he would be a rider of the future when he qualified on...

SPIES RETURNING TO MID-OHIO AS AMA SUPERBIKE LEADER

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 31, 2006) -- Six years ago a 16-year-old Ben Spies made his AMA professional racing debut. The young Texan showed he would be a rider of the future when he qualified on the front row for the Mid-Ohio 750 Supersport final. This weekend, Aug. 4-6, Spies returns to the site of his pro debut, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Now Spies is a factory Suzuki rider and the series points leader in the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited.

Spies comes to the Mid-Ohio Superbike doubleheader fresh off a victory at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 22. The victory was his eighth of the season and pushed his lead over Yoshimura Suzuki teammate and defending series champ Mat Mladin to a season high 34 points. With a victory worth 36 points, Spies nearly has a full race margin in hand.

The Mid-Ohio doubleheader is rounds 13 and 14 of the 19-race series and this pair of races could prove to be pivotal in the championship. Should Spies continue his hot streak he could leave Ohio with a nearly insurmountable lead. However, if Mladin, the all-time Mid-Ohio Superbike wins leader with five victories, can rally and sweep Mid-Ohio, the championship could tighten up considerably and make it a battle to the final round, which will also be hosted by Mid-Ohio on Sept. 30 -- Oct. 1.

Spies is in his second year of AMA Superbike racing and he said he owes his success this season to his Yoshimura Suzuki crew.

"The team has worked hard and provided me with a great bike every week," Spies said. "I'd like to take all the credit for our success this season, but the truth is the team has given me a bike that is capable of winning and that's the biggest part of the battle."

Spies is seeking his first Mid-Ohio Superbike victory. He won an AMA Formula Xtreme race at the challenging circuit in 2003.

Mladin battled illness at Laguna Seca and had his worse race of the year finishing sixth. Look for the rider of the No. 1 bike to come to Mid-Ohio a man on a mission. The all-time AMA Superbike wins leader and six-time series champ is beginning to run short on races to be able to make a comeback bid. Mid-Ohio could be a make or break weekend for the speedy Australian.

Honda's Miguel Duhamel always runs well at Mid-Ohio. The veteran Superbike campaigner sits third in the standings, but is still searching for his first win this season. Look for Duhamel, as well as teammate and 2004 Mid-Ohio winner Jake Zemke, to be among the contenders at this weekend's races.

Aaron Yates is yet another former Mid-Ohio Superbike winner. The Georgian swept the first doubleheader ever held at the circuit in 2000. Yates will be aiming to score his first podium finish of the season.

Neil Hodgson and Ben Bostrom are both hoping to put a Ducati atop the Mid-Ohio podium once again this year. Ben's younger brother Eric Bostrom took victory in the second of last year's doubleheader. Both Ben Bostrom and Hodgson have shown good speed in recent rounds.

Kawasaki will field a factory team for the first time at Mid-Ohio since 2002, this year with brothers Tommy and Roger Lee Hayden. Tommy is coming off his first career AMA Superbike podium finish, taking a hard-fought second at Laguna Seca. The Hayden brothers are sure to have a load of fans coming up from their home state of Kentucky to cheer them on.

The AMA Superbike doubleheader is part of Mid-Ohio's Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire. The track, which has hosted AMA Superbike races since 1983, recently completed major track renovations. This race is annually one of the best attended in the series. The 2.4-mile, 15-turn road course is laid out in a beautiful area of Ohio and offers fans some of the best sight lines in the series.

The Mid-Ohio Superbike races will be televised back to back on SPEED starting at 5 p.m. eastern, Sunday, Aug. 6.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO or online at www.midohio.com.

WHAT: The Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire
AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited.

WHERE: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Take I-71 north from Columbus to St.Rt. 95 east. Turn right off the ramp and follow St.Rt. 95 for 2 miles and turn left (north) on St.Rt. 314 for 15 miles. Turn right on Steam Corners Rd. Mid-Ohio is one mile on the left.

WHEN: August 4-6, 2006.

COURSE: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course's newly revamped 2.4-mile, 15-turn course.

SCHEDULE: Thursday, June 1 -- Test day.; Friday, June 2 -- Practice begins 8:30 a.m., qualifying at 2:00 p.m.; Saturday, June 3 -- Practice begin at 8:30 a.m., Superbike race one at 4:00 p.m., Formula Xtreme final at 5:15 p.m.; Sunday, June 4 - Practice begins at 9:00 a.m., Superstock final at 11:30 a.m., Supersport final at 1:45 p.m., Superbike race two at 3:00 p.m.

TICKETS: A Super Ticket ($55) includes weekend general admission, paddock pass, and a weekend grandstand seat. General admission -- weekend $37, Fri. $10, Sat. $22, Sun. $27. Grandstand -- weekend $45, Sat. $30, Sun. $35. Infield parking $15. Tent camping $30. Motorhome camping $50.

-ama

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson , Jake Zemke , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Bostrom