Carr looking to defend his victory at Vernon Downs. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Â Defending AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Champion Chris Carr is closing in on his fourth championship. If Carr defends his 2001 victory on the Mile at Vernon...
Carr looking to defend his victory at Vernon Downs.
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Defending AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Champion Chris Carr is closing in on his fourth championship. If Carr defends his 2001 victory on the Mile at Vernon (N.Y.) Downs this Saturday, Sept. 7, it will go a long way in helping him move a step closer to holding on to his No. 1 plate. Carr heads up a list of top flat track racers in the country who will compete at the Upstate New York circuit.
Carr, of Fleetwood, Pa., is coming off a win last weekend at the Springfield, (Ill.) Mile, which extended his lead in the championship. With just four races remaining, a victory for Carr at Vernon would be a tough pill to swallow for the riders who are chasing the three-time AMA champ.
"It's been a highly competitive year," said Carr, who is just one of the 10 riders who have won on the circuit this season. "I've been able to be a little more consistent and win races when I needed to. I'm happy to have the series lead, but you're never satisfied until the championship is yours. I'm not thinking about protecting my points lead yet. I'll be going into Vernon Downs with the same goal I've had all season, and that's to win."
With three wins this year, Carr, who rides for Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford, has built a 39-point lead in the championship.
Californian-turned-Illinoisan Johnny Murphree is second in the series. Murphree has a podium finish at Vernon under his belt -- he was third in the 2000 race. He'll need to finish in front of Carr to have a realistic chance of catching him in the championship chase.
Bryan Bigelow, of Au Gres, Mich., stands third in the series coming into Saturday's race. Bigelow scored a fourth last year at Vernon. Like Murphree, Bigelow will be looking to improve on his result this year.
Rich King is one of the hottest riders in the championship coming into Vernon. The Harley-Davidson factory rider from Dysart, Iowa, has scored two wins in recent rounds. He won at Vernon in 2000 and will be looking to duplicate that feat this weekend.
Local fans will be pulling for New York riders Chris Hart and Shawn Clark, who are both ranked in the top-20 coming into this Saturday's race. Hart scored his first AMA Grand National win last month in Delaware.
In addition to the main Grand National event, the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series will also hold a round at Vernon Downs. This will be the first visit of the Sportster Performance Series to Vernon. Honey Brook, Pa., rider Jared Mees leads that championship by 52 points over Texas Scott Scherb, by having won five of the ten rounds so far this season. With only three rounds left of the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series and 69 points available, Mees could lock up the championship this weekend in New York. For additional information contact Panda Racing at (315) 829-2201 and visit the Vernon Downs www.vernondowns.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 Championships.