PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2003) -- The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., will host the two final rounds of 2003 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship this weekend Sept. 27-28. On Saturday night the Springfield...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 23, 2003) -- The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., will host the two final rounds of 2003 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship this weekend Sept. 27-28. On Saturday night the Springfield Short Track will run under the lights and then on Sunday racing fans will get a chance to see the season-ending Springfield Mile. The AMA Grand National Championship is on the line this weekend. Chris Carr opened up some breathing room over rival Johnny Murphree with a win last Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, and holds a 21-point lead in the point standings with just two races left. A win is worth 23 points.
Carr and Murphree are the only two riders who can win the championship. Carr is shooting to become the second rider in AMA Grand National racing history to win five championships, while Murphree is looking for his first AMA title.
The Springfield doubleheader is normally held during Labor Day weekend, but this year the promoters agreed to move the race to accommodate Harley-Davidson's 100th Anniversary celebrations in Milwaukee. So now Springfield's doubleheader closes out the 2003 season and will determine the championship.
The odds are heavily in Carr's favor to win his fifth championship. Not only does the Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford rider have a 21-point lead, he also has two races in front of him where he should do very well. While Carr has never won the Springfield Short Track he certainly has what it takes to do well there. In Carr's five wins this season three of them have come on short tracks. Carr is also the all-time AMA career short track wins leader. Things look even bleaker for Carr's competition when you move over to the Springfield Mile. After struggling for years to earn a victory on the legendary track, Carr broke through to win his first Springfield Mile in 1995. Since that time he's compiled an impressive record there that any rider would envy. Combining the Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend races over the last few years Carr has won five of the six most recent Springfield Miles.
For Murphree the picture is clear. "All I have to do is go out and win both races and the rest will take care of itself," he said flatly of this weekend's doubleheader.
The rest of the riders are jockeying for their final ranking in the series and of course all are looking for a victory on the prestigious Springfield Mile. Harley-Davidson's Rich King is coming off a victory there in May and should be a frontrunner. Jay Springsteen and Kevin Atherton are also former winners on the mile.
Sunday will also mark the close of the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series. Texan Scott Scherb wrapped up the title last week in Columbus. Scherb said he's looking forward to racing at the Springfield Mile without the pressure of the championship weighing on him.
The Springfield Mile Progressive Insurance Grand National and Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series races will be taped by Speed Channel and shown on Oct. 21 with repeats through the end of October. Check the TV Schedule on Speed page on www.1800FlatTrack.com for detailed information.
For additional information on this weekend's doubleheader contact the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association at (217) 753-8866 or visit www.illinoismda.com.
For immediate post-race results, 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.