PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 30, 2003) -- Chris Carr wrapped up his fifth AMA Grand National Championship Saturday in the final weekend of the 2003 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. Carr, 36, of Fleetwood, Pa., clinched the ...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 30, 2003) -- Chris Carr wrapped up his fifth AMA Grand National Championship Saturday in the final weekend of the 2003 AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship. Carr, 36, of Fleetwood, Pa., clinched the championship with a fifth-place finish in Saturday night's Springfield (Ill.) Short Track race. The only rider who had a chance at catching Carr, series rival Johnny Murphree, finished eighth and that effectively put Carr out of reach with just the Springfield Mile the next day. Carr led major portions of the season-ending Springfield Mile, but lost out in the draft and finished fourth.
Only one other rider in the history of the AMA Grand National Championship, Carr's old rival Scott Parker, has more championships than Carr. Parker won nine titles during his 21-year racing career. Carr just completed his 17th season in the Grand National Series. He missed two years in the mid-1990s while he road raced for Harley-Davidson in AMA Superbike.
On the season Carr won a series-leading five races pushing his career wins record to 62, second all-time in AMA Grand National Championship racing. Carr also moved to the head of pack in the all-time career AMA Short Track National wins list. With three of his wins coming on short tracks Carr, with a total now of six-career wins, moved ahead of legends Kenny Roberts and Steve Eklund in career short track victories.
"It's a pretty cool feeling to be able to say in the history of the sport I've accomplished something that only one other guy has done," said Carr, whose other championships came in 1992, 1999, 2001 and 2002. "I'm proud of our team from our sponsors, to my wife and kids, to my crew chief Kenny Tolbert and Rich Bates who put in a lot of time to allow me to win another championship. They worked hard and this championship is more than a victory for just myself, it's a victory for a lot of people and I wouldn't have been able to accomplish what I have without them."
Carr rode three brands of Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-sponsored motorcycles during the 2003 season -- VOR, Rotax and Harley-Davidson. Carr started the season with a victory in the Daytona Beach Short Track series opener. He never relinquished the championship lead throughout the entire season. In all Carr scored nine podium finishes with victories in Daytona Beach, Fla., Chillicothe, Ohio, Haubstadt, Ind., Hagerstown, Md., and Columbus, Ohio.
Carr plans on returning to defend his championship in 2004.
Johnny Murphree finished runner-up to in the series for the second straight year. Former champ Joe Kopp was third. A total of 10 riders won races this year showing continued parity in the championship. 108,900 fans attended the 17 races in the series. Five rounds were nationally televised on Speed Channel. The AMA Grand National Championship will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year.
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.