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VIRginia Int'l Raceway Friday summary

Mladin Tops First Superbike Qualifying Session DANVILLE, VA. - Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin, on board a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, fired off a best lap of 1:25.239/95.449 mph in qualifying for the two AMA Superbike races over ...

Mladin Tops First Superbike Qualifying Session

DANVILLE, VA. - Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin, on board a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, fired off a best lap of 1:25.239/95.449 mph in qualifying for the two AMA Superbike races over VIRginia International Raceway's 2.25-mile North Course.

"It's slick out there," said Mladin following his qualifying run on a hot, sunny August afternoon. In the first day of qualifying for the AMA Big Kahuna Suzuki Superbike Nationals presented by Dunlop and ROCKSTAR Energy Drink, Mladin's time beat out teammate and current champion Ben Spies, on a similar Suzuki, by 1.117 second. Spies' 1:26.122 was only .224 second ahead of the Kawasaki ZX-10R ridden by Jamie Hacking.

Mladin is seeking his 60th feature Superbike victory this weekend and VIR and with the speed shown in qualifying, appears well on his way to both the new record and his seventh series crown. Mladin and Spies have won every race in the 2007 season, with Spies holding a slim 17-point lead over his elder teammate.

Racing over VIR's North Course, Mladin has won the last four Superbike contests, plus the Saturday race in 2003. His closest competition for dominance at VIR is from Miguel Duhamel, who topped both races in 2004, but is at his home in Canada, recovering from severe injuries suffered in a crash during testing at Road Atlanta two weeks ago. Before that, in the first two Superbike races at VIR, Nicky Hayden won. Following that victory, Hayden has gone on to become defending World Champion in MotoGP.

VIR's round of the AMA Superbike series is promoted by Colorado-based M1 Entertainment. Plenty of tickets for the weekend's action are available at the gate. The racing is capped by a pair Superbike races Saturday and Sunday afternoons. For more information on the Big Kahuna Nationals, link your browser to: www.moto1usa.com <http://www.moto1usa.com/> .

The three-day double-header brings the cream of road racing riders to VIR's scenic 2.25-mile North Course. As always, the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals offers a variety of ticket packages. Standard general-admission tickets with paddock access are available ($65 advance/$75 at gate), one-day Saturday ($50/$60) and Sunday ($50/$60). General car parking will be available for $5, and infield car parking is priced at $10. Motorcycle parking will be free. Camping is available as is a parade lap of the track.

VIR's next major event is the GT Live/Koni Challenge event, the weekend of October 5-7. With the widest variety of motorsports available, the headliner event will be the Koni Challenge races for high-performance production sports cars, coupes and sedans. With limited modifications, these are the same cars seen on the highways every day. The VIR races will be the finales for the two classes, both featuring a six-hour enduro format. The big engined Grand Sport (GS) racers will take the track in the weekend's capstone, while the smaller Street Tuner (ST) class attracts the import and hot compact crowd.

GS races feature Porsche, Nissan, BMW, Mustang and Pontiac, while the ST cars attract entries such as Mazda RX-8, Chevrolet Cobalt SS, Dodge SRT-4, MINI Cooper S, Acuras and a variety of BMWs. The entire field races on Hoosier tires, further equalizing the competition.

-credit: vir

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Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Miguel Duhamel , Jamie Hacking , Ben Spies