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Mid-Ohio: Support series' preview

Yates looks to clinch AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport title at Mid-Ohio. PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 40-plus riders will take to the starting line for the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race. One of those riders will win...

Yates looks to clinch AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport title at Mid-Ohio.

PICKERINGTON, Ohio-- Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 40-plus riders will take to the starting line for the Pro Honda Oils Supersport race. One of those riders will win Mid-Ohio's Supersport race for the first time. Leading the series coming into this weekend's race is Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates. The 30-year-old veteran racer from Milledgeville, Ga., has three AMA Superbike wins at Mid-Ohio, but has yet to earn a Supersport victory at the track in his nine years of racing the series. It may not be the best circumstances for Yates to get his first Mid-Ohio Supersport win since he'll certainly be focusing on wrapping up the championship. After winning four of the eight races leading up to Mid-Ohio, Yates needs only a 10th-place finish or better to nail down the 2002 title.

While Yates will be on championship-protection mode, Kawasaki's Tommy Hayden will be looking to finish the season on a high note. Like Yates, Hayden, who is second in the series standings, is vying for his first Mid-Ohio Supersport victory. He lost in an epic struggle with his brother Nicky in one of the most exciting Supersport races at Mid-Ohio in 1999. Australian Damon Buckmaster is having his best season to date in Supersport racing. The Yamaha factory rider has scored five top-5 finishes in the championship and on Sunday would love nothing better than to win his first Supersport race.

Jimmy Moore's late-season surge has put him in an excellent position to defending his No. 1 plate in Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock. In the last four rounds Moore has won twice and finished second twice on his Corona Suzuki. That has help Moore pass early series leader Lee Acree. But the championship is far from over. While Moore is the defending Mid-Ohio winner, Acree is expected to be strong at the track as well. The series concludes at Acree's home track in Virginia, so Moore will be looking to get as much of a cushion as possible this weekend. Third ranked Tommy Hayden, who is racing a 600cc machine in the 750cc-dominated Superstock class, has an outside chance of catching the two leaders should they have bad luck.

Lockhart Phillips Formula Xtreme has turned out to be the most hotly contested championship in the AMA's national road racing series this season. Honda, which dominated Formula Xtreme in its first four years of existence but took a backseat to Suzuki last year, is back on top of the standings with Bruce Transportation Group Honda's Jake Zemke. Zemke, of Paso Robles, Calif., holds a slim eight-point lead over Attack Suzuki rider Jason Pridmore. Yamaha's Damon Buckmaster has more wins (three) than any other rider in Formula Xtreme, yet still finds himself third in the championship chase-- nine points out of the lead. Tom Kipp, of Valvoline EMGO Suzuki, will be a fan favorite at Mid-Ohio. The veteran racer from nearby Chardon, Ohio, is the defending winner of the race. The Formula Xtreme Series will go down to the final round in Virginia in August, but the Mid-Ohio race will play a pivotal roll in the final outcome.

A total of eight riders still have at least a mathematical chance to win the MBNA 250 Grand Prix championship, but realistically frontrunner Chuck Sorensen is going to be hard to stop. The 29-year-old from Sunnyvale, Calif., is on track to give Italian maker Aprilia its first AMA national title. Sorensen himself is looking for his third championship in the 250GP series. Injury has kept five-time Mid-Ohio 250 winner Rich Oliver from serious contention in his bid to win a fifth AMA 250 Grand Prix title. However, losing parts of fingers and toes in separate accidents hasn't kept Oliver from winning races. He is seeking his third 250GP win in a row this weekend at Mid-Ohio. Oliver's teammate Perry Melneciuc runs second in the series standings, while young Jason DiSalvo is third. Both will be seeking their first career AMA 250GP victory.

Live coverage of the Pro Honda Oils Supersport final begins at 12 p.m. Eastern on Speed Channel, with repeats on Tuesday, July 30 at 10 p.m. and again at 3 a.m. Speed Channel's coverage of the Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series from Lexington, Ohio, will air Tuesday, August 6 at 8 p.m. and again at 1 a.m. Eastern.

For additional information contact Mid-Ohio at (614) 793-4600 or visit www.midohio.com.

For immediate post-race results, points, and live transponder scoring from each race in the championship, log on to amaproracing.com's Superbike Mediacenter, the official home of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.

-ama-

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Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , Lee Acree , Tom Kipp , Aaron Yates , Damon Buckmaster , Jake Zemke , Jason Pridmore