AMA

FT: Carr opens title defense at Daytona

AMA Grand National Championship begins 50th Anniversary PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 24, 2004) -- It's going to be hard to improve on Chris Carr's 2003 season. Last year the 36-year-old veteran of Fleetwood, Pa., became only the second rider...

AMA Grand National Championship begins 50th Anniversary

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (February 24, 2004) -- It's going to be hard to improve on Chris Carr's 2003 season. Last year the 36-year-old veteran of Fleetwood, Pa., became only the second rider in a half-century of AMA Grand National competition to win five championships. Carr also earned the prestigious AMA Speed Channel Pro Athlete of the Year Award. In 2004 Carr will begin his 20th year of AMA professional racing and he will be shooting to earn his sixth AMA Grand National title. The 50th Anniversary season of the AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National Championship kicks off at Daytona Beach, Florida's Municipal Stadium on Thursday, March 4.

Carr has the same team in place that helped him win last year's championship. Kenny Tolbert will head up the crew and Carr will ride Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford sponsored Harley-Davidsons on mile and half-mile circuits and on the short-tracks and TTs he'll have the choice of a tried and true C&J-framed Rotax or bikes from new sponsor KTM. Last year Carr gave VOR its first AMA Grand National victory. KTM is hoping he'll do the same for them this season.

Carr will try to become the first rider to win four AMA Grand National races at Municipal Stadium. He previously won the prestigious race in 1992, 1994 and 2003. Carr sees the race as one between a core of riders who are consistent top runners at Daytona, and then the Cinderella rider that seems to break out with an unexpected victory at Daytona every couple of years.

"Guys like Terry Poovey, Brett Landes and lately Johnny Murphree prove that they're always going to be a threat at Daytona," said Carr. "And then you have a rider like Richard Winsett that comes out of nowhere. Like any short track race, Daytona lends itself to surprise winners every once in awhile. That's the beauty of short track racing."

Carr went on to talk about his mindset coming into 2004. "A lot of people are talking about me chasing down Scott Parker's records," he said. "I'm pretty far away from a lot of those records so they're not really something I'm thinking about right now. I'm just going to approach this season like I did last year and hopefully hold off some of the younger riders another year with my riding and my team's experience."

With the Daytona Supercross race moving to Friday night, the Municipal Stadium Grand National opener will shift to Thursday night during this year's Bike Week. The race is sold out, or nearly sold out, every season and Daytona officials do not expect the schedule modification to change that.

The AMA Grand National Championship reaches a major milestone in 2004. The championship began in 1954 and this year will mark its 50th anniversary.

Practice at Municipal Stadium starts Thursday at 12:30 p.m. and racing starts at 8 p.m. For additional information on the race contact Daytona International Speedway at (386) 253-7223.

Speed Channel will broadcast this year's season opener beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, March 6.

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 Flat Track Championship.

<pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

THURSDAY, MARCH 4, 2004 12:15 p.m. Riders Meeting 12:30 p.m. Practice 1:30 p.m. Qualifying heats 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Open Pits for Spectators 8:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:10 p.m. - 9:20 p.m. 5th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:20 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. 6th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 9:30 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:40 p.m. - 9:50 p.m. 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:50 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 10:00 p.m. - 10:10 p.m. 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 10:10 p.m. - 10:25 p.m. INTERMISSION 10:25 p.m. - 10:40 p.m. AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL 10:45 p.m. Victory Circle for Grand National

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr