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FT: Greenville preview

KOPP HOPING FOR THREE STRAIGHT AT GREENVILLE HALF-MILE PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 17, 2007) -- Only one rider has tasted victory at Greenville, Ohio's Darke County Fairgrounds Half-mile and that is Screamin' Eagle/Latus Harley-Davidson rider Joe...

KOPP HOPING FOR THREE STRAIGHT AT GREENVILLE HALF-MILE

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 17, 2007) -- Only one rider has tasted victory at Greenville, Ohio's Darke County Fairgrounds Half-mile and that is Screamin' Eagle/Latus Harley-Davidson rider Joe Kopp. Kopp, the 38-year-old former AMA Grand National Champion from Mica, Wash., will be gunning for his third straight national win at the 3rd Annual Annie Oakley Shootout in Greenville this Saturday, July 21, part of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship.

The season has been a rollercoaster ride for Kopp so far. His races have either been hits or misses, but he comes to Greenville coming off a podium performance last weekend in Saluda, Va. That third-place finish moved him into ninth in the AMA Grand National Twins Championship standings. However, Kopp is only 10 points away from being inside the top five, so a third straight win on Greenville's pea-gravel cushion half-mile could put him right back in the thick of the championship chase as the series enters mid-season.

"I feel pretty confident coming into Greenville this weekend," said Kopp, who won the AMA Grand National Championship in 2000. "It's going to be tough with these young kids coming up."

Kopp, a 15-year pro, is referring to a new generation of riders who are beginning to make their mark, making it tough on veterans like himself and Chris Carr.

"It's getting a little tougher these days for guys like Chris and me," Kopp continued. "We've both been struggling a bit. Sometimes I wonder though if we're struggling or these young guys are just getting really good. I don't think you've heard the last from us though. I think I'll have something for them on these cushion tracks."

Kopp went on to say that he has room on his wall for another mounted muzzleloader trophy. The winner of the Greenville National is awarded a unique muzzleloader trophy in honor of Annie Oakley, the famous sharp shooting performer of the late 1800s and early 1900s, who grew up in Darke County.

After five rounds of the 13-race AMA GNC Twins Championship Jared Mees leads Ken Coolbeth by nine points. Mees pulled off a solid string of three-straight national wins but Coolbeth, the defending champion who rides for the factory Harley-Davidson squad, responded with a victory last weekend in Virginia.

So with Kopp, a two-time Greenville Half-mile winner, Mees, the series points leader, and Coolbeth, the defending champ and winner of the most recent round, you have a race this Saturday that's up for grabs.

Also among the series leader coming into Greenville are Jake Johnson, whose finished in the top-10 at every round this year and is ranked third in the standings. Bryan Smith, like Mees, is another of the young guns in the Grand Nationals and he's scored two podium finishes so far to push his ranking to fourth nationally. And then there's Chris Carr, the winningest active rider in the series. Carr, a perennial front runner who is still considered by most competitors as the rider to beat, is seeking his first win of the season.

Another rider to watch at Greenville is Ohio's own George Roeder. Roeder, from Monroeville, Ohio, grew up racing on cushion tracks like Greenville and he's always a threat on these types of tracks.

The race will be broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information.

For ticket information call (765) 962-0596.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr