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FT: Cincinnati Florence Speedway preview

Cincinnati Metro Area To Host AMA Grand National Florence Speedway Half-Mile gets its first AMA National PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 14, 2004) -- Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, will host its first AMA Progressive Insurance Flat...

Cincinnati Metro Area To Host AMA Grand National
Florence Speedway Half-Mile gets its first AMA National

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 14, 2004) -- Florence Speedway in Union, Kentucky, will host its first AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship on Saturday, May 22. Not only is the event the first motorcycle race at Florence Speedway, it's also the first time the Cincinnati area has hosted an AMA Grand National in the 50 year history of the championship. Florence Speedway is on Highway 42 in Union, Kentucky, just a few miles across the Ohio River from Cincinnati.

This weekend's race is round three of the 20-race series and after two short track races, it's the first half-mile race of the season. With the season kicking off at the Daytona Short Track and an indoor short track in San Francisco's Cow Palace, there are a number of unlikely riders hanging around in the top-10 of the series standings. Part-time racer Brett Landes is tied with fellow California Shaun Russell in second in the championship after two rounds. Texan Willie McCoy is fourth.

While there are some unusual names among the series leaders, the No. 1 rider is no surprise. Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr leads the series by 10 points, and has gotten off to a great start in his quest to win sixth AMA Grand national Championship. The Pennsylvania-based rider won more half-miles than any other rider on the circuit last season so chances are good that Carr will be up front again this weekend.

"I'm happy with the way my season is going so far," said Carr, the 2003 AMA Pro Athlete of the Year. "It's an unusual year in that we've started out with a short track race, then an indoor and now we're going to a banked clay oval. Next we have a TT race and Mile in Springfield (Ill.) so by the time we've gotten through the first five rounds we'll have a pretty good idea who the contenders are going to be."

Another rider to watch will be Joe Kopp, also a leading half-miler in 2003. Kopp, the former national champ from Mica, Wash., is tied for sixth in the rankings coming into round three.

Florence Speedway is a half-mile, banked, clay oval. It was built in the 1950's and has become one of the premiere Late Model auto racing tracks in the state of Kentucky. Now the track will add the historic AMA Grand National Championship to its impressive racing lineup.

AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship Series Manager Bruce Bober thinks Florence Speedway should produce exciting racing.

"With the banking there could be multi-line racing through the corners," Bober said. "The high line will work if riders take advantage of it. It's great to bring racing to the Cincinnati area. The city has a large population of motorcyclists and we're hoping they take advantage of attending a national this close to home."

For additional information on the race contact (859) 485-7591 or visit the Speedway's website at www.florencespeedway.com.

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.

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr