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Pridmore opens Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme title defense at California Speedway. PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Jason Pridmore will be gunning for his second Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme title starting at the series opener on April 6, at...

Pridmore opens Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme title defense at California Speedway.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Jason Pridmore will be gunning for his second Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme title starting at the series opener on April 6, at California Speedway in Fontana, Calif. The 2003 season promises to be the most competitive in the seven-year history of the series. The traditional top teams of Formula Xtreme -- Attack Suzuki, Valvoline Suzuki and Erion Honda will all be present, but a new chapter will be written into the series this year with the addition of Yoshimura Suzuki and its rider Ben Spies. Since the inception of the championship the factories have competed with one another via supported teams, but this year marks the first direct factory entry into Formula Xtreme.

Pridmore, 33, of Ventura, Calif., won a tight championship battle last year over Bruce Transportation Honda rider Jake Zemke. The two actually finished tied in the final point standings, but Pridmore won the title by virtue of having earned more race wins. Pridmore had Spies as a teammate last year on the Attack Suzuki squad and Pridmore helped the young Spies along as he moved up the ranks. Pridmore even said that he felt that Spies would be a champion one day, but he's now hoping that it won't be this season that Spies picks to break through and wins his first AMA championship.

"Ben is going to be tough for sure, but the whole series has taken a big leap forward," said Pridmore, son of three-time AMA Superbike champion Reg Pridmore. "This year we have top Superbike riders like Doug Chandler and Jamie Hacking coming into Formula Xtreme in addition to the strong field we've always had in the series. Fontana is great for me since it's just an hour-and-a-half drive from home. So I'll have a lot of friends and family there to support me."

Three-time AMA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler comes to Formula Xtreme for the first time riding for No Limit Honda. Chandler's presence in the championship immediately adds to the prestige of Formula Xtreme and the Salinas, Calif., native should be a serious contender for the title. Hacking will also add spice to an already tasty series lineup. He comes in as part of Yamaha's stepped up commitment to Formula Xtreme and joins the always competitive Damon Buckmaster, who happens to be the winningest rider in Formula Xtreme over the last two years and winner of the season opener at Fontana last April.

Two-time AMA Superstock champ Jimmy Moore also joins Formula Xtreme this year riding for the Corona Suzuki squad to add to the list of top-name riders.

In other support racing action at Fontana, Tommy Hayden leads the Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Series after winning at Daytona on Kawasaki's new ZX-6R (aka the 636). It marked the first time a machine with less than 750cc displacement won the Daytona Superstock race. Hayden hopes to make the Kawasaki the first non-750 to win the AMA Superstock title. He won the Fontana Superstock race last year.

Rich Oliver, of Auberry, Calif., leads the MBNA 250 Grand Prix Series coming into Fontana. Oliver, a 23-year AMA Pro Racing veteran and Team Oliver Yamaha owner, announced at Daytona that this will be his final season of pro racing and he hopes to go out with a fifth AMA 250 GP title. Oliver last won the series in 1997. He's sure to face a serious challenge from defending champion Chuck Sorensen who rides for Stargel Aprilia.

The Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme race will be televised on Speed Channel at 10:20 p.m. and, 3:20 a.m. (EST) on Tuesday, April 15, and again at 5 p.m. on the 22nd.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the AMA Supercross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Motocross Championship, the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S Superbike Championship, the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship and the AMA Red Bull Supermoto Championship. Nearly 2 million race fans attended AMA Pro Racing events during the 2002 season. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , Jamie Hacking , Doug Chandler , Damon Buckmaster , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Jason Pridmore