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Sharon Speedway preview

After 66 years AMA National Racing returns to Sharon Speedway AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 26, 2003) -- 1937 was the last time that the top riders of AMA Flat Track racing last turned a wheel...

After 66 years AMA National Racing returns to Sharon Speedway AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 26, 2003) -- 1937 was the last time that the top riders of AMA Flat Track racing last turned a wheel on Sharon Speedway. After 66 years the AMA pros return to the half-mile circuit in the Ohio/Pennsylvania border town of Hartford, Ohio, in the Northeastern part of the state. On Saturday, July 5, Sharon Speedway will play host to round nine of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. The Sharon Speedway event is one of the five rounds of the 2003 series that will be taped and nationally televised on Speed Channel.

The battle for the 2003 title is heating up. Chris Carr leads the championship standings coming into this weekend's race. Carr is on a quest to become only the second rider to win five AMA Grand National Championships. The Fleetwood, Pa., rider has won three races this year on his stable of Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-sponsored machines.

While Carr leads the series, perhaps the hottest rider on the circuit right now is 2000 AMA Grand National champ Joe Kopp. Kopp has won two of the last three races on his Jones Powersports/KTM-backed machines and is coming off a victory last Saturday in Lima, Ohio. The rider from Mica, Wash., has moved into second in the series standings.

"I have a lot of confidence on the big bikes this year," said Kopp after winning in Lima. "I love half-miles in general so I'm really looking forward to this weekend's race. It's a new track for all of us and I think that plays into my advantage since I seem to be able to learn tracks pretty quickly. I've heard that it's a clay track with a little bit of banking and that's the kind of track I like. We're going to give it our best shot to catch Chris in the championship. I'd rather be chasing him than having him chasing me in the points race. I just want to keep on this roll that I'm on and keep chipping away at Chris' lead."

Johnny Murphree is ranked third in the series. The consistent Californian has scored top-10 finishes at every round this year.

In addition to the AMA Grand National, Sharon Speedway fans will also get to see round four of the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series. Cory McDermitt leads the closely contested championship. The top five riders are within 10 points of one another. Any one of the five could take over the series lead Saturday.

Sharon Speedway is one of the oldest continuously operated race tracks in the country. Dating back to 1929, the track hosted its last AMA National in 1937. Fred Toscani won that race 66 years ago in the waning days of AMA Class A flat track racing. Toscani was recently posthumously inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

The Speed Channel crew will be on hand at Sharon Speedway. The Grand National race will be taped for showing at 9 p.m. EST on July 22, with repeats on July 29 at 3 p.m. EST, while the Harley-Davidson Sportster will air at 8:30 p.m. on July 9 and again on July 29 at 3 p.m. EST.

For additional information on the race contact (330) 772-5481 of visit www.sharonspeedway.com.

For immediate post-race results, lap-by-lap race coverage, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.1800FlatTrack.com, the official website of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. <pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS SHARON SPEEDWAY, HARTFORD, OH, HALF-MILE - JULY 5, 2003

SATURDAY, JULY 5, 2003 5:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - Practice 6:00 p.m. - Qualifying heats 8:10 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. - 1st Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat 8:10 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. - 2nd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat 8:20 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - 3rd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat 8:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. - 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:10 p.m. - 9:25 p.m. - HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE FINAL 9:25 p.m. - 9:35 p.m. - Victory Circle for Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Final 9:35 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:45 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:55 p.m. - 10:05 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 10:20 p.m. - 10:35 p.m. - AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL 10:40 p.m. - Victory Circle for Grand National

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr
Teams HART