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Mid-Ohio: Supersport preview

Could "The Pass" Be Duplicated in The Mid-Ohio Supersport Race? Tommy vs. Roger Lee Hayden could be as good as Tommy vs. Nicky five years ago PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 19, 2004) -- Five years ago one of the greatest passes in the history of...

Could "The Pass" Be Duplicated in The Mid-Ohio Supersport Race?
Tommy vs. Roger Lee Hayden could be as good as Tommy vs. Nicky five years ago

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 19, 2004) -- Five years ago one of the greatest passes in the history of AMA Supersport racing took place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. On the final lap that year Nicky Hayden made a daring outside pass on his older brother Tommy as the two braked hard at the end of the back straight. Nicky went around the outside of Tommy and somehow made the move stick and held on to win the race. It was a pivotal victory in Nicky's drive to win the title in a tight chase over his brother. Like "The Catch" with Dwight Clark and Joe Montana in the NFL, the amazing move Nicky made at Mid-Ohio came to be known simply as "The Pass".

Five years later and again it's two Hayden brothers atop the Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei. This time Tommy is battling with his youngest brother and Kawasaki teammate Roger Lee. Roger Lee closed the gap on his brother to 22 points after his win last week in Monterey, Calif. With just three rounds to go the youngest Hayden brother may have to try to find a way to duplicate Nicky's feat if he's to have any chance of catching Tommy for the championship. Both Hayden brothers are seeking their first AMA road racing title.

Round nine of the 11-race Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship will take place at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday, July 25, as part of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire. A new Mid-Ohio Supersport winner will be crowned this weekend since none of the AMA Supersport regulars have won the race.

Tommy Hayden is the pre-race favorite coming into Mid-Ohio. Not only is he the series leader, but Hayden has also scored four top-five finishes in the Mid-Ohio Supersport in the last five years, including runner-up results in 2001 and the aforementioned 1999 race. Hayden is coming ever closer to winning his first AMA road race championship after ten years of trying.

"Until I have it sewn up I won't feel very good about it, but it's good to have a cushion," said the soft-spoken Hayden of the points lead on his brother. "I'm not going to get super-excited."

Eight riders are still in contention for the Supersport title, although it seems unlikely that anyone will be able to overcome the substantial points lead of the Hayden brothers with just three races left on the 2004 schedule.

If either Tommy or Roger Lee wins at Mid-Ohio it would mark the first time a Kawasaki rider has won the race since Miguel Duhamel took the victory on a green machine 11 years ago.

Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo is the first non-Hayden in the series standings. The 20-year-old New York rider is among the four who have won in the series this year. DiSalvo took victory at Daytona International Speedway in March and is eager to get his second win of the season. The other winner is Ben Spies, of Yoshimura Suzuki. Spies raced his first professional event at Mid-Ohio four years ago. Since his pro debut Spies become an AMA Formula Xtreme champ in 2003. He's ranked sixth in the Supersport standings coming into this weekend's race.

The Mid-Ohio Supersport race will be televised live, July 25 on SPEED Channel at 1 p.m. Eastern.

For additional information on the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire contact Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course at (800) MID-OHIO or check out the website www.midohio.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship.

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Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Tommy Hayden , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies