Wednesday, March 9, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Daytona Short Track Doubleheader 2011 Season Opening Preview

Riders line up for the Springfield Short Track main event final at the bullring at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in September of 2004. The annual stop on the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series schedule is one of the best attended in terms of rider turn-out, much like the season opener tomorrow at Daytona. In 2004 Progressive Insurance was the title sponsor such as K&N Filters was for the better part of the 2010 season in The Rolling Thunder Show.
Getting ready to roll on the front row are #21P Brad Furlong, #17 Henry Wiles, #3 Joe Kopp, #14 Jake Johnson (partially obscured by flags), eventual event and multi-time Springfield winner #33 Glen 'JR' Schnabel (partially obscured by AMA official), and #1 Chris Carr. Riders on the second row include #59 Willie McCoy (team mate to and partially obscured by Carr), #31 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., #11 Brian Bigelow (partially obscured by AMA official), #27P Rob Pearson, #47 Greg Tysor and #20 Johnny Murphree.
With Daytona being the season kick-off for the AMA Flat Track Series for years now, riders come out of the woodwork to head south to contest what is now a doubleheader round on the short track located on the Daytona International Speedway property. With 52 riders pre-entered as of this writing, I expect another 15-20 (at least) to show up to claim the 18 spots in each of Thursday and Friday night's finals. And with all of the regular Grand National contestants including defending series and event champ Jake Johnson, defending event champ Sammy Halbert, 2-Time Single Series Champ Henry Wiles, 7-Time GN Champ Chris Carr, Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and JR Schnabel, just to name a few, the pickings for slots in the main will be slim.

You can follow the races online via the links below. Speed TV will also show a tape-delayed broadcast of race highlights from both rounds on Sunday, March 13 at 1500 EST (U.S. Time.) The lovely Miriam Deitcher, who used to do all of the online updates for AMA Flat Track some years ago, will also be providing updates from the track via her Flat Track Live Facebook link, also provided below. No one covers the races for us land-locked fans like Miriam, so it would behove you to check her updates out starting around 1300 EST tomorrow when the first practice session is scheduled to roll off. The full event schedule link is also below to keep up with practice, qualifying and race times as well.
AMA Pro Racing News Release

Daytona: AMA Flat Track Doubleheader

AMA Flat Track/Daytona International Speedway/March 8, 2011

After being held for the first time in event history on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway in 2010, the AMA Pro Racing Flat Track doubleheader returns to the "World Center of Racing" on Thursday and Friday, March 10-11.

The stars of Flat Track racing such as Henry Wiles, Sammy Halbert, Jake Johnson and Kenny Coolbeth will battle for a coveted Daytona victory on the quarter-mile dirt track located outside Turns 1 and 2.

In 2010, Halbert and Johnson made Daytona history by becoming the first riders to win Flat Track main events on the grounds of Daytona International Speedway. Halbert won the 25-lap Expert Main event on the first night of competition while Johnson took the checkered flag on the final night.

Sammy Halbert says: "Winning the first race at the new Daytona Flat Track was really special and one of the biggest moments in my career. It's something you will never be able to do again, so I'm glad to get it done when I did. Now I'm looking forward to going back and trying to do it again this year, get on top of the box."

The 2011 Daytona Flat Track will be an emotional one for seven-time AMA Grand National Champion and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Chris Carr, who will retire following the 2011 season.
The legendary Carr has the distinction of having raced the Daytona Flat Track at all three venues -- old Memorial Stadium, Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium and the current Daytona Flat Track.

Chris Carr says: "2011 will be my final season as a competitive flat tracker in Grand National racing. I've raced at every short track they've had to offer at Daytona. We all know the importance of being down here during Daytona 200 Week because a lot of our industry is down here along with a good majority of the motorcycle media, so it's always important to do well at Daytona.

"Everybody loves coming down here, where we usually enjoy chamber of commerce weather, simply because we're a Midwest-populated sport. It's always good to get out of winter and come down here for an early spring."

Tickets for each night of Daytona Flat Track racing are $25 for reserved seats, $20 for general admission standing room only and can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter and Facebook.

From AMA Pro Flat Track, here is the link to round one's event at the Daytona Short Track. AMA now provides the 'Live Scoring and Timing' app the day of the races at the top of the page. Links below also include rider entries as well as results as they are posted:

Round two event info for the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series season opener at the Daytona Short Track:
Here's the official schedule for both events on Thursday, March 10 and Friday, March 11:
The lovely and wonderful Miriam Deitcher is back covering AMA Flat Track for those of us that can't make the races tomorrow. Miriam used to cover the races for AMA Flat Track back in the early '00s and provided THE best online updates for fans. She will be covering the races again this year, and you can keep up with her spot-on news and info feeds right here via her Facebook Flat Track Live page. Thanks Mir!

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