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Ama Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship Reaches Mid-Season At Lowe'S Motor Speedway'S Half-Mile PICKERINGTON, Ohio& ...

Ama Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship Reaches Mid-Season At Lowe'S Motor Speedway'S Half-Mile

PICKERINGTON, Ohio– The AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship makes its annual visit to Lowe's Motor Speedway's half-mile dirt oval this Saturday, July 27 for the Wendy's AMA Charlotte Grand National, round 10 of the 20-race series. At the halfway point in the series, defending series champion Chris Carr is on track to win his fourth AMA Grand National Championship. The 35-year-old veteran from Fleetwood, Pa., comes to Charlotte leading the championship and is hot off a win last weekend in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.

No one rider has dominated the season -- a total of seven riders have won in the nine events leading up to Charlotte -- but Carr has been consistent enough and won enough to open up a 21-point lead over Johnny Murphree, of Forsyth, Ill. There is a logjam in the Grand National point standings for second. Only five points separate second-ranked Murphree from Kevin Varnes, who is fifth in the series. Bryan Bigelow and Ken Coolbeth are sandwiched in the middle in third and fourth place.

The half-mile at Lowe's Motor Speedway is fairly new to the AMA U.S. Flat track Championship. Virginian Mike Hacker won the race in 2000 and the late racing great Will Davis won the event last year. Davis will indeed be missed at his home state track he died tragically in a racing accident last August in Sedalia, Mo., less than a month after winning in front of friends and family at Charlotte.

If Carr's competition is to gain on the defending series champ, Charlotte may be a good place to do it. Carr has had bad luck at Lowe's, scoring only a 12th and seventh-place finish in his previous outings at the track.

Murphree is hoping to close the points gap on Carr Saturday. "I like the track at Charlotte," said Murphree, who placed in the top five at the track in the previous races. "I know Chris hasn't had the greatest luck there and I can't say I would be too upset if that string continued this year, but knowing Chris he's going to be tough to beat regardless of his past history there."

Coolbeth could be another rider to watch this weekend. He was runner-up at Charlotte last year and would love to break into the win column this season.

The Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series will also be featured at the Speedway Saturday evening. Jared Mees, from Honey Brook, Pa., leads that series, having won three out of the last five races. Texan Scott Scherb is second in the standings and he hopes to gain ground on Mees at Charlotte, where he finished on the podium last year.

Last year's Charlotte Sportster Performance winner Jake Johnson is concentrating his efforts this year in the Grand National Series. North Carolina fans will have several riders to cheer for in the Sportster Performance race. Robert Lewis, from Taraboro, N.C., is ranked 15th in the series, Shane Fox from Statesville is 17th and Ron Kemp of Cary is 30th.

Speed Channel will broadcast the Progressive Insurance Grand National race on Tuesday, August 20 at 10 p.m. Eastern, with the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series event airing at 11:30 p.m., also on August 20.

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS LOWE'S MOTOR SPEEDWAY, CHARLOTTE, NC HALF-MILE JULY 27, 2002 TRACK DIRECTIONS: N.E. of Charlotte on I-85 to exit 49 (Speedway Blvd), then south

SATURDAY, JULY 27, 2002

  5:15 p.m.             -        Practice
  6:15 p.m.        -        Qualifying Heats
  7:45 p.m. -    8:00 p.m.        -        Opening Ceremonies
  8:00 p.m. -    8:10 p.m.        -        1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
  8:10 p.m. -    8:20 p.m.        -        2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
  8:20 p.m. -    8:30 p.m.        -        3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
  8:30 p.m. -    8:40 p.m.        -        4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
  8:40 p.m. -    8:50 p.m.        -        1st Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat
  8:50 p.m. -    9:00 p.m.        -        2nd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat
  9:00 p.m. -    9:10 p.m.        -        3rd Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Heat
  9:10 p.m. -    9:20 p.m.        -        1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
  9:20 p.m. -    9:30 p.m.        -        2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
  9:30 p.m. -    9:40 p.m.        -        3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
  9:55 p.m. -   10:05 p.m.        -        HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE FINAL
 10:05 p.m. -   10:15 p.m.        -        Victory Circle for Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Final
 10:15 p.m. -   10:30 p.m.        -        AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL
 10:35 p.m.        -        Victory Circle for Grand National

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Series AMA
Drivers Shane Fox , Chris Carr