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Peoria preview

Carr hoping to start a new streak at Peoria. "Prince of Peoria" looking to earn his 14th victory at the classic Tourist Trophy. PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 11, 2003) -- Chris Carr hopes to start yet another winning streak in the Peoria TT on...

Carr hoping to start a new streak at Peoria.
"Prince of Peoria" looking to earn his 14th victory at the classic Tourist Trophy.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 11, 2003) -- Chris Carr hopes to start yet another winning streak in the Peoria TT on Sunday, Aug. 17, in the 55th running of one of the longest running and most prestigious races on the AMA Pro Racing calendar. This year Peoria is round 11 of the 17-race AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and Carr is leading the standings coming into Sunday's Grand National. Carr, who is trying to become only the second rider in history to win a fifth AMA Grand National title, won every Peoria TT he entered from 1988 to 2001 (he did not compete in the 1996 and 1997 editions of the classic) and became known as the Prince of Peoria. Last year AMA Superbike Champion Nicky Hayden came to Peoria and put an end to one of the longest winning streaks in AMA racing history winning the TT in an exciting last-lap pass.

"I was disappointed that I didn't win last year," said Carr, who was third in last year's race. "I did well despite getting a little fatigued during the race. Hopefully I'll come back stronger this year and maybe start another streak."

Hayden is now racing for Honda in MotoGP and thus will not compete at Peoria this year. That begs the question: Who might be able to beat Carr at Peoria this year? Carr comes into Peoria hot on the heels of a victory last Saturday in Hagerstown, Md., aboard his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-backed Harley-Davidson. Last week's victory extended his series lead to 26 points over Joe Kopp, which means Carr has enough of a cushion that he could miss a race and still hold the top spot in the standings. For Kopp, who won Peoria in 1997 while Carr was campaigning the AMA Superbike Championship for Harley-Davidson, a second victory in the classic would be exactly what he needs to stay solidly in the championship running. Kopp, of Mica, Wash., has been one of the most consistent riders at Peoria, finishing in the top five each of the last five years and is the rider with the biggest incentive to beat Carr on Sunday.

Other riders to watch at Peoria include Harley-Davidson's Rich King. While King has yet to win at Peoria, he has finished on the podium three out of the last four years. The Iowan comes into this race ranked fifth in the standings. J.R. Schnabel actually beat Carr last year at Peoria and was runner-up to Hayden. Schnabel, of West Bend, Wis., is becoming known as a Peoria specialist after finishing in the top five each of the last three years.

A question mark for Peoria are the Hayden brothers. While Nicky will not race due to his commitments to the World Championship, his brothers Tommy and Roger Lee might use the break in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship schedule as an excuse to show up for Peoria. Both are accomplished TT racers and could be a factor should they decide to race. The Haydens tend to like to keep a potential Peoria appearance a surprise for the fans and fellow competitors. The Hayden's designed a duplicate of the Peoria track at their family ranch in Owensboro, Ky., last year, which certainly helped Nicky make his last-to-first-place charge through the field. Tommy and Roger Lee would love to duplicate their brother's success at Peoria.

The Peoria TT is one of the must-see races on the AMA racing calendar. The race, which first ran in 1947, is held on the scenic grounds of the Peoria Motorcycle Club. The track itself is situated inside a bowl surrounded by gently sloping hills filled with old growth shade trees, which creates a comfortable natural amphitheater. Upward of 15,000 fans come, mostly by motorcycle, to watch the classic race.

For additional information on Peoria call (309) 697-0011 or visit www.peoriatt.org.

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
PEORIA MOTORCYCLE CLUBGROUNDS, PEORIA, IL T.T. - AUGUST 17, 2003

SUNDAY, AUGUST 17, 2003
10:30 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.: Practice
11:30 a.m.: Qualifying heats
1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.: Opening Ceremonies
2:00 p.m. - 2:10 p.m.: 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
2:10 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.: 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
2:20 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.: 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
2:30 p.m. - 2:40 p.m.: 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
2:40 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.: 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
2:50 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.: 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
3:00 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.: 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
3:25 p.m. - 3:40 p.m.: AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL
3:45 p.m.: Victory Circle for Grand National

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Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Chris Carr