AMA Superbike Championship: Miller Motorsports Park Honda Summit of Speed The AMA Superbike Championship will share the stage with an FIM world championship event for the first of two times this season on May 29-June 1 at Miller Motorsports...
AMA Superbike Championship: Miller Motorsports Park Honda Summit of Speed
The AMA Superbike Championship will share the stage with an FIM world championship event for the first of two times this season on May 29-June 1 at Miller Motorsports Park, in Tooele, Utah.
The unique four-day program will mark the first time in four years that the AMA Superbike series has run in conjunction with the Superbike World Championship, which is making its much-anticipated return trip to America with a first-ever trip to Utah.
Taking the Long Way Around
While the World Superbike stars will inherit the 3-mile long Outer Course that the AMA Superbike series utilized in their first two trips to the modern facility, in 2008 the AMA Superbike Championship will take on the 4.5-mile Full Course.
The configuration is the longest the series will encounter all year, and in fact the lengthiest circuit in North America, surpassing another championship mainstay, Road America, which measures approximately a half mile shorter at 'only' 4 miles in length.
Riders' opinions of the extended Miller Motorsports Park configuration were overwhelmingly positive following a recent test, which should provide a unique experience for spectators.
Miller Motorsports Park, located just west of Salt Lake City, is the brainchild of Larry H. Miller, who also owns the local NBA franchise, the Utah Jazz, among his many other high-profile business interests.
The circuit opened in 2006, and was immediately added to the AMA Superbike schedule. Its world-class facilities rank among the very best found in the United States.
In addition, the track's high elevation and flowing nature have made for close racing, with the last non-Yoshimura Suzuki AMA Superbike race win coming at MMP (Jake Zemke, American Honda, 2006).
AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY PARTS UNLIMITED
The Title Fight is On
Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's reigning double champion, Ben Spies, has clawed his way back into contention for a third-straight Superbike crown thanks to a powerful run of four consecutive Superbike victories. Spies has whittled teammate Mat Mladin's advantage down from 29 points to just nine (242 vs. 233) on the strength of back-to-back doubles at Auto Club Speedway and Infineon Raceway.
The 23-year-old Texan has performed admirably at Miller Motorsports Park in previous visits, scoring three race wins in four attempts. While the track configuration is different this year, Spies' showed plenty of speed on the 4.5-mile circuit in testing, posting the fastest time among all riders aboard his #1-plated GSX-R1000.
Bulldog Back on the Box
Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking came on strong during the tail end of his first campaign as part of Kawasaki's factory Superbike effort, scoring four podium results in the season's final six races.
The team is fielding an all-new ZX-10R in '08 and while the bike's development may have held the British-born rider back in the season's opening races, he appeared to be fully back up to speed at Infineon Raceway, claiming a pair of third-place finishes, his best yet in 2008.
Upsetting the Established Order
Yamaha USA's Jason DiSalvo flashed the form that saw him regularly claim pole positions on the undercard in seasons past, qualifying second at Infineon Raceway, marking the first time Ben Spies and Mat Mladin didn't control the top two positions on the grid since the 2006 season.
AMA PRO HONDA OILS SUPERSPORT CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY SHOEI
Bostrom Back to World-Class Form
Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Ben Bostrom's pole and win at Infineon Raceway marked his third in four attempts in both categories in the Supersport class this season. The Californian's recent form has reminded many that he's one of the racing world's elite talents when properly motivated and on form as he is in 2008.
Bostrom's teammate, Josh Herrin, sits second in the points but Bostrom's wins--combined with the teenager's third and sixth-place finishes--at the last two rounds have opened up a bit of breathing space at the front.
Bostrom now leads by 21 points.
Bostrom will be eager to put together another stellar weekend while sharing the spotlight with the Superbike World Championship, the series that elevated him to fan favorite status around the globe.
Erion Honda's Jake Zemke was again the closest runner to snapping Yamaha's perfect '08 win streak in Supersport, claiming a second consecutive runner-up finish.
Infineon Raceway also saw Matsushima Performance Suzuki's Danny Eslick continue his rapid improvement in 2008. Eslick has jumped up the finishing order in each race this season, finishing tenth at Daytona, eighth in Birmingham, sixth in Fontana, and third in Sonoma.
AMA FORMULA XTREME SERIES
Three in a Row
Jake Zemke continued to roll in Formula Xtreme action, claiming a third-straight class victory at Infineon Raceway. The Californian carries a commanding 18-point advantage over second-ranked Steve Rapp (Attack Kawasaki) into Miller Motorsports Park despite his disappointing 12th-place run in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
Oh So Close
Zemke's Erion Honda teammate, Josh Hayes, is still seeking his first win after claiming 11 combined in 2007. The Mississippian again came within a whisker of the win, losing out to Zemke at the checkered flag by a scant 0.067 seconds.
The defending double FX champ finished second at Auto Club Speedway by 0.013 seconds, crashed out of first place at Barber Motorsports Park, and was disqualified after winning the Daytona 200.
Cory West put in a strong ride aboard the Team M4 EMGO Suzuki GSX-R600 at Infineon Raceway in place of his injured teammate, Martin Cardenas, finishing fourth in his 2008 class debut.
AMA SUPERSTOCK SERIES PRESENTED BY DYNOJET
The First is Always the Hardest
While it took decades for Honda to claim a first-ever Superstock victory, they picked up a second just one race later as Corona Honda's Jake Holden piloted his CBR1000RR to his third career AMA victory the last time out. Holden's perfect pole/win weekend moves him to within 12 points of two-time class champion Aaron Yates (Yates leads 138-126).
Jordan Suzuki Duo Look to Strike Back
Yates has finished second two races in a row after opening the season with two wins. His teammate, Geoff May, was also in contention for the win at Infineon Raceway, running a close third when the race was red flagged and called complete deep into the event. The result marked the Georgian's first podium since his third-place run in the season opener in Daytona.
May is now tied for third in the standings with Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki's Chris Ulrich as the two sit equal with 104 points apiece following four rounds.
Coverage on SPEED
Saturday's AMA Superbike final will air on SPEED with same-day coverage at 10 pm Eastern time on Saturday, May 31. Sunday's race will air live on Sunday, June 1 at 4 pm Eastern time. The Supersport race will get the same day delay treatment, airing an hour before Sunday's Superbike race at 3 pm. The AMA Formula Xtreme and Superstock races will air on Tuesday, June 3 on SPEED at 12 pm.
Tickets for the combined AMA/World Superbike weekend can be obtained by calling 435-277-RACE or visiting www.millermotorsportspark.com.