AMA

FT: Peoria preview

WILES SEEKING RARE PEORIA THREE-PEAT PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 15, 2006) -- Henry Wiles has the opportunity this weekend to do what only three riders have done in the 59-year history of the Peoria TT and that's win the historic race three ...

WILES SEEKING RARE PEORIA THREE-PEAT

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (August 15, 2006) -- Henry Wiles has the opportunity this weekend to do what only three riders have done in the 59-year history of the Peoria TT and that's win the historic race three years straight.

This Sunday, Aug. 20, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship makes its annual visit to one of the most historic races on the AMA racing calendar, the Peoria TT.

Wiles, who won the prestigious race in 2004 and again last year, can etch his name even deeper in the record books if he manages to win on Sunday. Only Joe Leonard, Bart Markel and Chris Carr (all Motorcycle Hall of Famers) have managed to win the national on the challenging TT circuit three consecutive years.

"You look at Peoria over the last few years and it's always the same suspects," Wiles said. "It'll be nothing but a fight this year. Everyone wants to win that race. There's a lot of history and everyone wants their name in the record book of winning Peoria, but I'm going to try to keep their names out of there."

Wiles, 22, of Blanchard, Mich., was relatively unknown before winning his first Peoria in 2004. To this point his two Peoria wins are the only victories he has to his name, but if you're going to be known as a specialist for one race, Peoria's not a bad one to pick.

For Wiles to win his third he will have to outride the likes of former Peoria winners JR Schnabel, of West Bend, Wis., and Joe Kopp, of Mica, Wash. Schnabel and Kopp are on top of their games coming into Peoria, both ranked in the top five in the AMA Grand National Singles Championship.

And then of course there is Chris Carr to consider. Carr is the "Prince of Peoria" thanks to his 13-career wins at Peoria. No one else comes close to the accomplishments of Carr, who won his first Peoria as a 19-year-old, second year expert in 1986. But Carr's crown has been on the shelf collecting dust for the past five years. It would be a major story, but not totally unexpected, if the defending AMA Grand National Champion could come back and win his 14th after five years.

Leading the AMA Grand National Singles Championship is Suzuki sponsored Jake Johnson, of Franklinville, N.J. If Johnson manages to earn a victory this Sunday it would not only extend his lead in the series, but it could mark Suzuki's first win at Peoria.

Joe Kopp and Shaun Russell round out the top three in the Grand National Singles. Kopp is a veteran who won Peoria in 1997 and is certain to be a threat this year. Russell, from San Jose, Calif., has scored four top-10 finishes at Peoria with his best result a sixth in 2004.

The Peoria TT has been an AMA national since 1947. The setting is a beautiful natural amphitheater where fans can spread a blanket under a shade tree and enjoy the racing and Midwestern summer day.

WHAT: The Peoria TT, round 15 of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship -- final round of the GNC Singles Championship.

WHERE: Peoria Motorcycle Club I-474 to exit 3-A, then 1.0 miles west on Farmington Road, then 3 miles south on Maxwell Road, then 1.8 miles west on SR 116 (Plank Road), then 5 mile south on Cameron Lane

WHEN: Aug. 20, 2006

SCHEDULE: Sunday (Aug. 20) Gates open at 8 a.m. -- Qualifying practice at 11:45 a.m. Opening Ceremonies at 1:30 p.m.

2005 WINNER: Henry Wiles, Blanchard, Mich., (Honda)

TICKETS: Advanced $15, $20 at the gate. Children under 12 free with adult. Call 309-697-1285 for more information.

-credit: ama pro racing

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Series AMA
Drivers Joe Leonard , Chris Carr