Johnson opens title defense in Grand National Singles Series PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 2, 2007) -- Daytona Beach, Florida's Municipal Stadium will be the site of the opening two rounds of the 2007 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship.
Johnson opens title defense in Grand National Singles Series
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (March 2, 2007) -- Daytona Beach, Florida's Municipal Stadium will be the site of the opening two rounds of the 2007 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship. The series will open with a pair of Grand National Singles rounds on Wednesday, March 7 and Thursday, March 8, with gates opening at 6:00 p.m.
Suzuki's Jake Johnson won the inaugural AMA Grand National Singles Championship last year and the rider from Franklinville, N.J., is hoping for a good weekend at Daytona to get his 2007 campaign off to a solid start.
"It's kind of hard to build expectations for Daytona," Johnson admits. "You always go in there hoping you're going to win, but it's probably the toughest race in the series to predict. In the past I've gotten second on the first night and not even qualified for the second night. The place is pretty tricky. You've just got to try to get a good qualifying spot and get a good start and try not to make too many big mistakes, because every mistake there is a big one."
Johnson, who gave Suzuki its first AMA Grand National Dirt Track victory at Daytona in 2005, said he is just one of a dozen or so riders who could pull off a win in one of the doubleheader rounds at Municipal Stadium.
"You know Chris Carr is going to come there looking to turn around the bad luck he had last year," Johnson said. "JR Schnabel is my new teammate and he always does well there. Joe Kopp, Kevin Varnes, Bryan Smith, a lot of guys who've won it in the past. It's one of those tracks that a father and son team can come down and pull off a surprise win. At most tracks you can pretty much call the five or six guys who could win it, but at Daytona anything can happen."
Daytona's doubleheader is a major chunk of the seven-race AMA Grand National Singles Championship.
"The race is pretty critical in terms of the Singles Championship," Johnson continued. "There aren't a lot of races in the series so every race is going to be pretty big. The best thing at Daytona would be to go out and get a couple of wins, that way if you do have some screw ups during the rest of the season you can still have a chance at winning the title."
Bryan Smith and Kevin Varnes are the defending winners of last year's Daytona doubleheader. Smith enjoys racing the tight and bumpy limestone surface of Municipal Stadium Short Track.
"Daytona is a really weird surface that usually gets rough," Smith said. "I feel really comfortable there. It's a track that isn't follow the leader. It has 100 different lines. You can really search around and make something work for you."
Chris Carr is a three-time winner of the race and figures to be one of the riders near the front in both races on his Ford Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned sponsored machines. Carr is starting his 22nd year of professional racing.
Black Cat Fireworks is helping make the doubleheader national possible by its contribution to the national prize money and is the title sponsor for the AMA Black Cat Gold Dirt Track Grand Championships.
New for this year at Daytona will be the addition of a B Main event sponsored by Torco Racing Fuels. The riders who do not qualify for the main evening program will be put into heat race qualifiers and the top 12 riders will race in a special B Main during the evening show.