PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- It's like defending champ Joe Kopp and two-time champ Chris Carr are playing a 120-mph game of tag and Kopp is "it" this Saturday, Aug. 4, as the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship heads to the half-mile...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- It's like defending champ Joe Kopp and two-time champ Chris Carr are playing a 120-mph game of tag and Kopp is "it" this Saturday, Aug. 4, as the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship heads to the half-mile track at Delaware State Fairgrounds in Harrington. It's round 12 of the 20-race series.
Kopp, who rides a Harley-Davidson for Corbin Motorcycle Saddles, led most of this year's Grand National points race until late June when Carr, a Californian now living in Fleetwood, Pa., won on the half-mile in Lima, Ohio, and took over the championship points lead. A month later and it's again Kopp, of Mica, Wash., atop the championship by two points after Carr suffered an off weekend last Saturday in Charlotte, N.C. There Carr crashed and his bike caught fire. He was able to make the restart, but he had to start alone on the last row and was only able to muster a seventh-place finish. Carr is the winningest active rider in the championships with 49-career victories.
Kopp meanwhile turned in another one of his steady and consistent races in Charlotte, finishing a strong third. While only having one victory to his credit this year, Kopp has been unbelievably dependable. He's finished on the podium eight times in 11 races leading up to this weekend's race.
The AMA championships return to Harrington after a year's absence. Neither Carr nor Kopp have won on the half-mile dirt oval at the Delaware State Fairgrounds, but that could change Saturday night. "I'd like to get my first win at Harrington and try to open up at least a little bit of a lead on Chris," said Kopp. "I know a close championship is great for the fans, but I wouldn't mind being able to open up a good-sized lead. I know that's going to be tough to do."
The rider with the most wins at Harrington is the venerable Jay Springsteen. "Springer" is still going strong after 26 years on the circuit. The 44-year-old racer from Lapeer, Mich., won the very first AMA Grand National at Harrington back in 1975– Springsteen's rookie pro year. He went on to win the race again in 1978, 1982 and 1983. This season Springsteen is ranked eighth coming into Saturday's race. His last victory in the series came in May of last year, so you have to believe that Springsteen is eager to record his fifth win at Harrington, after running at the front last weekend in Charlotte.
Joining the Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship this weekend is the SuperTrapp SuperTracker Series, which features production-based street motorcycles.
Brian Bigelow, of Au Gres, Mich., leads that series after five races. The former AMA Rookie of the Year has won two SuperTracker races so far this year on his Lancaster Harley-Davidson Buell and leads Wisconsin's J.R. Schnabel, another former Rookie of the Year, by just four points. Hoosier Samuel Lowe is third in the standings. <pre> AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE U.S. FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS SCHEDULE OF EVENTS DELAWARE STATE FAIRGROUNDS, HARRINGTON, DE AUGUST 4, 2001
TRACK DIRECTIONS: South of Harrington on US 13
SATURDAY, AUGUST 4, 2001 2:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. - Registration at the track 2:30 p.m. - 4:40 p.m. - Tech Inspection at the track 5:00 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. - Practice 6:00 p.m. - Qualifying Heats 7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies 8:00 p.m. - 8:10 p.m. - 1st SuperTrapp SuperTracker Heat Race 8:10 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. - 2nd Supertrapp SuperTracker Heat Race 8:20 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat Race 8:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat Race 8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat Race 8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat Race 9:00 p.m. - 9:15 p.m. - SUPERTRAPP SUPERTRACKER FINAL 9:15 p.m. - 9:25 p.m. - Victory Circle for SuperTrapp SuperTracker Final 9:25 p.m. - 9:35 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:35 p.m. - 9:45 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:45 p.m. - 9:55 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 10:10 p.m. -10:25 p.m. - AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL 10:30 p.m. - Victory Circle for Grand National