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Road Atlanta: Formula Xtreme, Superstock preview

AMA FORMULA XTREME SERIES DOWN TO THE WIRE AT ROAD ATLANTA Yates looking to win AMA Superstock title at home PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 31, 2005) -- Never have the pole and lap leader points meant so much as they will in the Labor Day...

AMA FORMULA XTREME SERIES DOWN TO THE WIRE AT ROAD ATLANTA

Yates looking to win AMA Superstock title at home

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (Aug. 31, 2005) -- Never have the pole and lap leader points meant so much as they will in the Labor Day weekend's Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series finale at Road Atlanta. The situation is this: if Miguel Duhamel is perfect and scores the maximum amount of points by winning the pole, leading the most laps and winning the race he will win his second straight Formula Xtreme title. Anything less than that and series leader and Honda teammate Jake Zemke is set to take home his first AMA National number one.

While Zemke and Duhamel are taking it right down to the wire in Formula Xtreme, things aren't quite as tight in the Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series. Georgia's own Aaron Yates needs only a 14th or better finish to secure his third AMA road racing championship.

Duhamel earned his seventh AMA road racing title last year by winning the Formula Xtreme Series, but he was pushed the entire season by teammate Zemke. This year it was Zemke who took over the Formula Xtreme points lead in April after winning round three at California Speedway and has been chased by Duhamel most of the summer. Last weekend in Virginia, Duhamel put himself in a position to control his own destiny by winning every available point after an exciting duel with Zemke. This weekend if Duhamel can pull off the same feat he'll win an eighth AMA championship and become the first rider to win two straight Formula Xtreme titles since Kurtis Roberts in 1999 and 2000.

"I don't have any options right now -- I've got to do whatever I've got to do," stated the veteran Duhamel. "I have to win everything I can."

Road Atlanta means a great deal to Zemke. He has been a leading contender in Formula Xtreme for five years. He's led the championship, is tied as the winningest rider in the history of the series, but has yet to earn the top prize.

"Hats off to Miguel, he rode great and his crew did a great job," said Zemke after losing in the tight battle last weekend. "At the end of the day we just didn't have it for him, but we'll come back swinging next week in Atlanta."

The battle for third in AMA Formula Xtreme is coming down to the final race as well. Privateer Danny Eslick emerged this year from the flat track ranks and proved himself a worthy road racer with MPTracing.com Suzuki. The Oklahoman is ranked third, but a crash last week in Virginia has allowed Aussie Ben Attard, of Attack Kawasaki, to within six points of Eslick going into Road Atlanta. The top finishing non-factory rider is an important point of pride in the Formula Xtreme class and Eslick and Attard would both like to earn that designation.

In Repsol Lubricants Superstock Yoshimura Suzuki's veteran Aaron Yates came back to the class after a nine year absence and he's right back where he left off, the top rider in the series.

In 1996 Yates won the AMA 750 Supersport championship in his first year as a factory Suzuki rider. While Yates was gone the class became Repsol Superstock and the bikes were bumped up to 1000cc displacement, but that didn't bother the rider from Milledgeville, Ga. He's won five of the nine races en route to building his 21-point lead over Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo.

Yates would like to go out with a victory at his home track this week, but he implied that at Road Atlanta he may play a more conservative game in order to ensure his third AMA road racing title.

"I definitely feel a little more comfortable," said Yates after taking the victory last weekend in Virginia. "It's really good to come out with a win. Next week we'll see, there might be some of the other guys out there mixing it up."

Road Atlanta's Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Series race will be televised on SPEED Channel, Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 2 p.m. EST.

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Series AMA
Drivers Kurtis Roberts , Miguel Duhamel , Aaron Yates , Jake Zemke , Ben Attard , Danny Eslick