VIR sponsor announced

Alton, Va. (July 9) -- VIRginia International Raceway is proud to announce that American Suzuki Motor Corporation will be the title sponsor of this year's Suzuki Lightning Nationals, the penultimate event of the 2003 season for the AMA Chevy...

Alton, Va. (July 9) -- VIRginia International Raceway is proud to announce that American Suzuki Motor Corporation will be the title sponsor of this year's Suzuki Lightning Nationals, the penultimate event of the 2003 season for the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship.

The Suzuki Lightning Nationals will take place over Labor Day weekend, August 29-31, featuring a double-header round of the Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, as well as the Pro Honda Oils Supersport, Lockhart-Phillips Formula Extreme, Suzuki Genuine Accessories Superstock and MBNA 250 Grand Prix series.

Suzuki has come a very long way in the U.S. market since the firm began selling a small line of inexpensive, lightweight motorcycles here in 1963.

Now Suzuki is one of the world's "Big Four" motorcycle makers, offering a complete range of advanced street, off-road and race-winning machines. Globally, Suzuki is among the dozen top automakers, and sells more models than ever stateside. Inventor of the four-wheel ATV, Suzuki is dramatically expanding its QuadRunner lineup, with a new factory in Georgia to manufacture them in the U.S. For boating enthusiasts, Suzuki serves up a wide array of outboard motors, many of them featuring electronic fuel injection and four-stroke power.

American Suzuki Motor Corporation is everywhere, on two wheels, four wheels and on the water. To help serve millions of customers nationwide, there are six corporate offices, staffed by hundreds of sales, technical, accessory and distribution staff. Across the country, there are more than 1,600 independently owned Suzuki dealerships.

Mel Harris, vice president of the Motorcycle and Marine Division for the American Suzuki Motor Corporation, said that the partnership between Suzuki and VIR was a natural.

"Suzuki is involved in sponsorships at elite tracks around the country to showcase our products and provide a place for our fans to watch motorcycle racing," he said. "We like VIR, and we think it's a first-class track. We have a lot of customers in the area of the track that we feel will be looking for some activities on Labor Day."

Suzuki is having a very good year in the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship, with the potent Team Yoshimura Suzuki tandem of Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates combining to score eight wins out of the 11 races run so far this season. Mladin and Yates currently lie second and third, respectively, in the championship standings.

A new Superbike rules package for 2003 has played right into Suzuki's hands, according to Harris.

"Suzuki was able to take advantage of the new rules with our GSX-R1000," he said, "and our two top team Superbike riders, Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates, have demonstrated that the bike has the ability to win with good riders."

VIR co-owner Connie Nyholm noted that Suzuki is the ideal partner for the multi-faceted motorsports facility outside Danville.

"We couldn't be more pleased that American Suzuki Motor Corporation has agreed to sponsor the Suzuki Lightning Nationals," she said. "They are a perfect fit with us, because their product lines match up so well with all the things we do here at VIR, both on the racetrack and at the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsports Experience. They are an aggressive, dynamic company, and we look forward to a long and productive relationship with them in the years to come."

Advance three-day Super Tickets for the Suzuki Lightning Nationals sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing are priced at $45, with single-day tickets priced at $25 (Saturday) and $30 (Sunday). Tickets will be available online through August 14 or at ticket outlets until the day of the event. For online ticket sales or ticket outlets, visit the track's website at At the gate, three-day Super Tickets are priced at $55, with one-day tickets selling for $10 (Friday), $35 (Saturday) and $40 (Sunday). Preferred infield parking is available for $10 payable at the gate, no advance reservations. VIR is a family-friendly facility, where children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. Spectator camping is available.

VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River 12 miles east of Danville, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (which is designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club, America's first motorsports country club, the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park, and the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, which features four rally stages plus a kart track, motocross track, ATV and SUV training grounds and a Tuff Terrain" course. Future plans include the VIR Gallery, a showroom for high-end collector and racing cars, and resort lodging.

VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The renovated original circuit has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.

For more information, visit the track's website at or contact VIR toll-free at 888-RACE099. For more information on the VIR Euro Rally School and Corporate Motorsport Experience, call toll-free 877-RALLY66 or visit their website at

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Series AMA
Drivers Aaron Yates