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Road America: Round five preview

SPIES AIMING FOR NEW AMA SUPERBIKE RECORD AT ROAD AMERICA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 26, 2006) -- Ben Spies is just 21-years-old, but the Yoshimura Suzuki rider from Longview, Texas, comes to Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader on June 1-4...

SPIES AIMING FOR NEW AMA SUPERBIKE RECORD AT ROAD AMERICA

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 26, 2006) -- Ben Spies is just 21-years-old, but the Yoshimura Suzuki rider from Longview, Texas, comes to Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader on June 1-4 in Elkhart Lake, Wis., on the verge of breaking one of the series' long standing records. If Spies wins the first leg of the weekend's doubleheader he will own the longest winning streak in AMA Superbike Championship history.

Spies swept the doubleheader at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., on May 20-21, pushing his win streak to six straight. That tied the 1995 record of six consecutive AMA Superbike wins set by Miguel Duhamel in 1995. Duhamel is one of the riders hoping to put an end to Spies current run at Road America.

"Ben is on a roll right now," Duhamel said. "It was a shame that I couldn't get up there and battle him to try to keep him from tying my record, but you have to give him a lot of credit for the way he's riding. I'd like to give him a run for his money at Road America. I've done well there and it would be great to get a victory. It's going to be tough."

Duhamel may have one of his better opportunities to run with Spies at Elkhart Lake. The 1995 AMA Superbike Champion has twice swept the Road America doubleheader.

While records are on Duhamel's mind, Spies is trying to stay focused amid all the hoopla of his current run. Speaking of tying the AMA Superbike record Spies replied. "That'll probably hit me a little bit later. My mind's pretty much on the championship now, and it's definitely not in conserve mode yet, but we've just got to keep getting points, keep winning races, and keep getting poles, and when we're not, we've got to finish second. And if we do that, it can hopefully happen this year. But it's far too early to be thinking quite like that. We've just got to ride our own race and ride our own season and see where we end up."

Spies owns a 30-point lead over Suzuki teammate Mat Mladin coming into Road America. The six-time AMA Superbike champ is concerned, but not yet in anxiety mode over the gap to Spies in the standings.

"As much as I'd like to say I'm not concerned, I'm quite concerned, but there's still a long way to go," Mladin said. "Thirty points in the championship is not a lot when there's 12 races to go. We have a couple of race meetings coming up here in the next month, and if we get a good break... The championship will probably be won in the last eight or nine races when it heats up and we get back to the East Coast. Whether you're 30 or 40 points behind, it really doesn't matter at that point. We just need to keep Ben in check, and see how we go at the end of the season."

Britain's Neil Hodgson is ranked fourth in the standings behind Spies, Mladin and Duhamel. The Parts Unlimited Ducati rider is still seeking another win in the series after taking the rain-soaked Saturday race at Road America last year. Hodgson is hoping to get his Ducati to a place that will allow him to go for another race win.

"We've been searching from one extreme to the other on the bike setup," Hodgson said. "I've gone faster at some of the tracks lately than I did the year before so I feel we're going in the right direction. I'm not throwing my towel in yet - but it's almost like there's a battle for the third place spot, and Mat and Ben seem to have got us licked at the moment. That's why we've got to keep searching for a better setup."

A lot of Road America fans from Chicago will be rooting for the Michael Jordan Suzuki riders. Veteran Jason Pridmore leads the way on Jordan Suzuki in the Superbike standings. He comes in with five top-ten finishes to his credit.

Fans will get a full weekend of racing action at Road America. In addition to the full slate of road racing activities, the track is also hosting a round of the AMA Supermoto Championship presented by Parts Unlimited on the Briggs & Stratton Motorplex.

The Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader will be nationally televised on SPEED. Saturday's Superbike race will receive same-day tape-delayed coverage at 10 p.m. EST. Sunday's Superbike race will be same day tape-delayed at 6:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, June 4.

Tickets for the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader can be purchased by calling 1.800.365.RACE or visiting www.roadamerica.com. Camping is available and children under 12 are admitted free.

-ama

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Neil Hodgson , Ben Spies , Jason Pridmore