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FT: Sprinfield doubleheader preview

Springfield to host Memorial Day weekend doubleheader Rounds four and five of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 24, 2004) -- The Illinois State Fairgrounds will host a doubleheader ...

Springfield to host Memorial Day weekend doubleheader
Rounds four and five of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 24, 2004) -- The Illinois State Fairgrounds will host a doubleheader weekend of AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship racing action on May 29 and 30. The TT course will host the series on Saturday night and the famous Springfield Mile will run on Sunday afternoon. Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr leads the series coming into the Memorial Day weekend doubleheader.

This will be the fourth year that the Memorial Day weekend will host a doubleheader at Springfield. While the Springfield TT is becoming a new tradition in AMA Grand National racing it already has produced one of the great races that will go down in AMA racing history when the Hayden brothers Nicky, Tommy and Roger Lee swept the podium at the Fairground's Rodeo Arena in 2002. Tommy had won the inaugural Springfield TT in 2001. Last year Brett Landes finally earned his second-career AMA Grand National win on the TT, eight years after he won his first at Daytona Beach, Florida's Municipal Stadium.

While the TT has created some surprising results, the Springfield Mile has a reputation of producing some of the closest racing on the tour each year. Last May it was Harley-Davidson factory rider Rich King edging Carr and Jay Springsteen for the victory. Look for those three riders to be among the front-runners on the historic Mile again this year.

Carr has jumped out to his best start since 1992 when he went on to win his first AMA Grand National Championship. Two wins in the three rounds on his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford racing stable have given Carr an impressive 21-point lead in the championship coming into this weekend's doubleheader. Chances are good that Carr will come away with at least one more victory at Springfield. The veteran, who lives in Fleetwood, Pa., is the all-time AMA TT wins leader, plus he's won seven Springfield Miles during his 19-year professional racing career.

"I think after this weekend is over we'll have a pretty good idea of who is where in the championship picture," Carr said. "By the time we leave Springfield we'll have Mile, Half-Mile, TT and Short Track races under our belts. Naturally I'm hoping to come out of Springfield holding onto and hopefully adding a bit to the points lead."

The biggest surprise so far this young season is the performance turned in by Shaun Russell of San Jose, Calif. The 25-year-old Bartel's Harley-Davidson rider is having a breakthrough season so far and is second to Carr in the series rankings. This is Russell's seventh season in AMA Grand National Championship racing. He only ranked inside the top-10 once during that span.

Just a few points behind Russell is 2000 AMA Grand National Champion Joe Kopp. The native of Mica, Wash., is seeking his first win at Springfield. Moroney`s Cycles Jake Johnson and Chris Carr's Quality Checked Certified Pre Owned Ford teammate Willie McCoy are tied for fourth in the standings coming into Springfield.

The Mile on Sunday will also host a 505 Expert support race.

For additional information on Springfield's doubleheader contact (217) 753-8866 or visit the Illinois Motorcycle Dealer Association's website at www.illinoismda.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.1800FlatTrack.com, the official website of the AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr