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FT: Granite City preview

KOPP SEEKING GRANITE CITY REPEAT PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 7, 2005) -- Joe Kopp returns to Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., on June 11, for round five of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship. Kopp, of Mica, Wash.,...

KOPP SEEKING GRANITE CITY REPEAT

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (June 7, 2005) -- Joe Kopp returns to Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., on June 11, for round five of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship. Kopp, of Mica, Wash., hopes to repeat his victory at Tri-City in 2003 and inch closer to series leader Chris Carr.

"Tri-City is one of those tracks that suits my style," said Kopp, the 2000 AMA Grand National Champion who rides for Latus Harley-Davidson/Jones Powersports. "The track has bumpy dirt and it gets kind of rough during the course of a national and I was able to ride that pretty well the last time we were there."

Kopp is tied for second in the series standings with Ken Coolbeth, 14 points behind defending champ Carr. Kopp thinks it's going to take consistency throughout the entire season to win back the AMA Grand National title from Carr.

"I gained two points on him at Springfield (during the AMA Grand National Doubleheader over Memorial Day weekend), but that's not enough," Kopp said. "I haven't been on the podium yet and I need to start doing that consistently to be able to catch Chris."

Coolbeth is also a proven threat at Granite City. The Connecticut native was runner up in both nationals held at Tri-City Speedway. He too would like to make up ground on Carr Saturday night.

Bryan Bigelow, of Au Gres, Mich., won the race in 2002. Bigelow comes into Granite City ranked 13th in the standings.

Jake Johnson and JR Schnabel have both scored victories in the series this year, but neither scored impressive results in the previous two Granite City nationals. Both riders are proven on short track and TT circuits, but know they will have to step up their performances on the bigger tracks to be considered true title contenders.

Iowan Rich King is the hottest rider in the series. He is coming off a victory in the Springfield (Ill.) Mile over Memorial Day Weekend. King has scored a pair of top-10 finishes in Granite City.

With the hopes of many riders high coming into this weekend's race, the championship still goes through Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford rider/team owner Chris Carr. The six-time AMA Grand National Champion has missed the podium only once this year and his record at Granite City is solid. In 2002 he finished fourth in the race and third in the 2003 edition.

Tri-City Speedway will also host the second round of the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series. Warminster, Pennsylvania's Scott Stump leads the championship on his Lima Harley-Davidson sponsored 883 Sportster after winning the opening round in Springfield. Stump is a two-time 883 series runner up.

Take in a bike show and pig roast before the national. For ticket information call (636) 329-1122 or visit the website www.tricityspeedway.net.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr