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FT: Route 66 preview

JOHNSON READY TO TACKLE ROUTE 66 RACEWAY After a long break the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship resumes PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 16, 2005) -- After a two-month break in the action the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track ...

JOHNSON READY TO TACKLE ROUTE 66 RACEWAY

After a long break the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship resumes

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 16, 2005) -- After a two-month break in the action the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship gets back underway this Saturday, May 21, at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet, Ill. Leading the series after his victory in Daytona Beach, Fla., in March is New Jersey's Jake Johnson. It's the first time Johnson's led the AMA Grand National Championship and he's looking forward to getting back on the track.

"It was sort of nice having that break and being the series points leader for two months," said Johnson, last year's AMA Ricky Graham Dirt Track Rookie of the Year. "I've never raced at Joliet. We started to race last year when the rains came. It seems like a good track and the kind I could do well on. A clay track like that usually gets a groove in it, so qualifying is going to be real important."

Even though the series has taken a two-month hiatus, Johnson hasn't been sitting idle during that time.

"Suzuki has spent a lot of time testing," he said. "With all the testing I've done I'm feeling pretty confident coming into Joliet. We've got the 450 set up perfectly, but we've still got a lot to learn with the 1000. If we can find a good set up for the 1000 and have a good race in Joliet, it's going to give me a lot of confidence as the season really gets going here."

Johnson will have to contend with six-time and defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr. Carr is the winningest active rider on half-miles with 23-career wins. He's riding a Quality Checked Certified Pre Owned Ford / Lancaster Harley-Davidson in Joliet.

Iowan Rick King could be a factor at Route 66. He is the only former winner of the race slated to be on the grid Saturday. Joe Kopp and Johnny Murphree have been perennial front runners the last few years (Kopp won the championship in 2000) and both are expected to be frontrunners this weekend.

Last year marked the return of AMA Grand National racing to Route 66 Raceway after a four-year absence, but rain canceled the program. Tickets from last year will be honored on a two-for-one basis. So grab a friend and come watch the best flat track racers in the country compete on a track that is considered one of the finest facilities on the racing calendar. In the past Route 66 has produced some outstanding racing with lots of passing and a wide racing line.

In addition to top-notch racing the evening will also feature the Chicago Sports and Cycle 505 class featuring Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and Suzuki motorcycles as well as the Midwest FMX Freestyle Motocross Team. The night caps off with a huge fireworks show brought to you by Starved Rock Harley-Davidson.

Tickets are available at select Joliet area Harley-Davidson dealers and through the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association: (217) 753-8866 or www.up-front.net/route66.htm. Gates open at 4:00 pm, practice at 5:00 pm and the opening ceremonies begin at 7:30 pm.

-ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr