PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After a season of top finishes, Chris Carr could earn the payoff this Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Tunica (Miss.) Arena by clinching the 2002 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. A third-place or better...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- After a season of top finishes, Chris Carr could earn the payoff this Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Tunica (Miss.) Arena by clinching the 2002 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. A third-place or better finish this weekend would give Carr his fourth AMA Grand National title.
He has the chance to follow Carroll Resweber and Scott Parker as the only riders to have won four championships. This will mark the first visit to the Tunica Arena by the series and is the first indoor Grand National race since 1985 when the Houston Astrodome TT and Short Track were last held. It also marks the first time the state of Mississippi has hosted an AMA Grand National. The venue is located approximately 45 minutes south of Memphis in Tunica, Miss. Quality Checked Certified Ore-Owned Ford, Fed Ex and Memphis Shades are sponsoring the event.
This season has been one marked by remarkable parity. A total of 11 riders have won the 17 rounds leading up to this Saturday's race -- the most winners in a season since 1995 when there were also 11 different winners. Carr has emerged as the frontrunner of this deep talent field with a combination of speed and experience. Carr is in his 18th year of professional racing and has more experience on the tour than all but a handful of riders. He's won three races this year and scored a total of seven podium finishes leading up to round 18 of the series at Tunica.
Carr believes everyone will be starting from scratch when the tour comes to Tunica. "It's been so long since we've raced indoors that I don't think any rider will have an advantage," Carr said. "It's great to have a race in the South. I think there are a lot of fans in that area of the country that will look forward to watching some great motorcycle racing. I'm going to do my best to clinch the title this weekend. It's already been a great year for me and the title is what I've been working for all season."
While Carr is a talented all-around rider and a threat to win on any track, short tracks have not been his forte this year. He scored a fifth-place finish at the season opener in Daytona Beach, Fla., in March, but didn't fare as well at the other two short-track rounds in Springfield, Ill., this summer.
Perhaps the favorite to win at Tunica is part-time flat track racer Nicky Hayden. The 2002 AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion has scored four wins in the Grand Nationals this year, including two wins on short tracks. Hayden will be riding a modified Honda CRF450 motocross bike, which could be perfect for the tight indoor circuit. Nicky's younger brother Roger Lee is also slated to ride.
If Johnny Murphree or Bryan Bigelow, the second and third ranked riders in the series, are to have any chance to catch Carr, they'll have to do very well this weekend and hope that Carr has some bad luck. Bigelow may have an advantage at Tunica since he's scored top-five finishes at two of the short track nationals this season, including finishing second to Hayden at Springfield in July.
For additional information of the debut national motorcycle event in Tunica contact the Illinois Motorcycle Dealer Assoc. 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.