AMA

Illinois Fair II: Event preview

Springfield short track could make it eight winners in eight races. PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- So far the 2002 AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship has been one of almost unprecedented parity. In the opening seven rounds of the 20-race ...

Springfield short track could make it eight winners in eight races.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- So far the 2002 AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship has been one of almost unprecedented parity. In the opening seven rounds of the 20-race series there have been seven different winners. The last time that happened in the series was in 1983, and that was when road races were a part of the series. If yet an eighth rider emerges to win this Saturday's, July 6 Springfield (Ill.) Short Track it will mark the highest number of winners to open a season since the championship witnessed 12 different winners open the AMA Grand National Championship in 1976.

Saturday's race will mark the second short track of the season and is part of a week long AMA flat track extravaganza, with the 26th Annual AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships (featuring hundreds of the country's top amateur racers on Monday through Saturday), the AMA Grand National Short Track Saturday evening and AHRMA Vintage races on Sunday.

Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr leads the series coming into this weekend's race. Carr, 35, of Fleetwood, Pa., is the winningest active rider in the series with 55-career AMA Grand National wins, and three of those victories came on short tracks. Carr has plenty of experience short-track racing-- he grew up in Northern California racing on the famous bullring in Lodi. Carr's previous national short track wins came at Daytona Beach, Fla. (in 1992 and 1994), and in Topeka, Kan., in 2000.

"It's always special to race in Springfield with its rich racing tradition," said Carr, who is also the Honoree at this year's AMA Dirt Track Grand Championships. "It will be even more so this year with all of the amateur and vintage racers in town. All the pros are going to want to do well in front of the up-and-coming riders, so you can count on some close racing action."

The leading short track winners on the tour are Jay Springsteen and Terry Poovey, who have each won four short-track nationals in their long and fruitful careers. Texan Poovey, who was runner-up to Richard Winsett, Jr. at the Daytona Short Track in March, comes to Springfield ranked ninth in the series, while Flint, Mich. Native Springsteen is 11th in the standings.

Perhaps the one rider who is ripest for a win at Springfield Saturday is Pennsylvania's Kevin Varnes. Varnes is second in the series standing by virtue of finishing in the top-10 at every national this year. He's yet to break into the win column yet, but turned in an excellent third-place performance at the Daytona Short Track, so possibly this Saturday it could be Varnes who becomes the eighth winner of the season.

Johnny Murphree led the championship earlier this season, but has dropped to third after failing to qualify for last week's race in Lima, Ohio. Murphree, a California native now living in Forsyth, Ill., hopes to get back on track with a strong performance at Springfield.

Ken Coolbeth and Bryan Bigelow hope to get squarely into the championship hunt with a good race this weekend. Both riders have experienced up and down results so far this season. Coolbeth, who is fourth in the standings, has twice finished on the podium this year, but is still looking for his first win. Fifth-ranked Bigelow won a few weeks ago in Granite City, Ill., and is a proven short track winner. He took victory at the Springfield Short Track last August.

For additional information contact the Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association at (217) 753-8866 or visit the website: 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 U.S. Flat Track Championship. <pre> SCHEDULE OF EVENTS ILLINOIS STATE FAIRGROUNDS, SPRINGFIELD, IL SHORT TRACK JULY 6, 2002

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2002 3:00 p.m. - Practice 4:15 p.m. - Qualifying heats 7:00 p.m. - Opening Ceremonies 7:30 p.m. - 7:40 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 7:40 p.m. - 7:50 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 7:50 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:00 p.m. - 8:10 p.m. - 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:10 p.m. - 8:20 p.m. - 5th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:20 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - 6th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat 8:30 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. - 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 8:40 p.m. - 8:50 p.m. - 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 8:50 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:00 p.m. - 9:10 p.m. - 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi 9:25 p.m. - 9:40 p.m. - AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL 9:45 p.m. - Victory Circle for Grand National

SPRINGFIELD, IL GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SHORT TRACK PROGRAM 6 GNC Heats, 10 riders, 10 laps, 1st and 2nd from each Heat transfers to National 4 GNC Semis, 12 riders, 8 laps, 1st from each Semi transfers to National AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL, 16 RIDERS, 25 LAPS

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Series AMA
Drivers Chris Carr