AMA Pro Racing late yesterday announced a 'partial' 12-race schedule for the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season that will see returning series regular events at Daytona, Hagerstown, Springfield (which will see both the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend events return), Peoria, Lima, along with several other events seen on the schedule from this season that will wrap-up the year of racing again at the Pomona Half-Mile.
With Indy, Colonial Downs, Knoxville and Grays Harbor missing from the series' schedule from the 2014 season, AMA Pro Racing announced that they are still working on the final four venues for next season.
There has been considerable rumbling going on that Indy may not return, nor Colonial Downs in Virginia. Grays Harbor wouldn't leave much of a dent in the schedule due to the low turnout of fans (and riders) in the only Twins event in the Northwest Territory, and Knoxville wouldn't be much of a factor either due to the lack of fan attendance at the World Capital of Sprint Car racing.
Indy had a smaller audience this season than what has been seen in years past, but even with the Indiana State Fair and the Red Bull Indianapolis MotoGP round just down the road it would be a big shame to not see it return after missing several years in the early-mid '00s after track attendance dropped off at the last AMA-promoted event in '99 and the Formula USA-hosted round in 2000 that saw the event declared complete after rain set in and the program running late saw the event called after heat races were run. Family Events, the promoter of the event since it's return to the schedule during the 2008 season, was also bought out by another promotional outfit recently and it has been said that they aren't as interested in running the event again. Real sorry to hear that, and I personally posted on the Indiana State Fair and Indy Mile Facebook pages voicing my displeasure with the rumors that have been circling like sharks at a chum fest. Please take the time to do so yourselves to help let the people in charge know we want the Indy Mile back on the schedule for 2015!
Colonial Downs would be a shame for the fans, as it had a big turnout in attendance, but it has been real rough on the riders and especially the equipment in the two seasons it has been on the schedule at the horse track venue located approximately 20 miles east of Richmond, VA.
In the shot above, riders head to the white flag in the last few feet of lap 24 of the 25-lap National main at the Springfield Mile II in round 14 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season on August 31.
Bryan Smith leads the pack heading towards the stripe on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio/Howerton Products-sponsored Kawasaki EX650 as he holds off the charging Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives Honda-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750, while Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Las Vegas H-D/Blue Springs H-D-sponsored XR and Jake Shoemaker on the #55 USC Kawasaki/Hot Shot Motors/Hart Racing-backed Kawasaki do their best to make them honest in what was a prime example of the best racing on two wheels in the world at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Smith and Coolbeth would swap spots on the podium, while all four riders would finish within .363 seconds of one another when the dust had settled.
A big tip of the helmet to AMA Pro Flat Track for at least getting a partial schedule out earlier than any other schedule announcements since late November of 2009 when the 2010 schedule was released. Although we all would like to see the schedule released and confirmed complete much earlier in the year, this is the earliest announcement by at least three days in the last five years, so progress has been made, whether you are ready to accept that or not. Great job, and hopefully we see more venues come back and/or added in the four events that are still in negotiations as noted.
You can see the full announcement and race dates below thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 21, 2014) - AMA Pro Racing is pleased to announce 12 confirmed events on the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule. In addition to the events listed below, AMA Pro Racing is currently negotiating with four additional venues and intends to announce the complete 16-race calendar in the near future.
Dirt track motorcycle racing was born in the United States and the series is one of the oldest motorsports championships in America. The first national race sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) was held in 1924 on a one-mile dirt oval in Toledo, Ohio. AMA Hall of Famer Jim Davis won that very first race, setting the stage for three decades of growth and the creation of the Grand National Championship (GNC) in 1954.
As an homage to the 90-year history of the sport and the long list of Grand National Champions, the classes that comprise AMA Pro Flat Track have been renamed GNC1 and GNC2. All of the AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2015 will feature non-stop entertainment and thrilling motorcycle racing action from the world's top dirt track racing talent in GNC1, while the future stars of the sport will earn their stripes in GNC2 competition.
Sticking with tradition, the season will get underway during the Bike Week festivities in Daytona Beach, Fla. with a doubleheader at DAYTONA Flat Track on March 12 and 13. Last year, Briar Bauman and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. claimed victories at the season-opening two-day event to launch a spectacular season of racing.
Jake Johnson on the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Parkinson Brothers Racing-sponsored Honda CRF450R leads the early going at the Daytona Short Track II in round 2 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship on March 14. AMA Pro Flat Track announced late yesterday a 'partial' schedule for the upcoming 2015 season. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Larry Lawrence.
Next up on the slate are two events that are steeped in history. On May 24, riders will convene at the hallowed Illinois State Fairgrounds for the first edition of the 2015 Springfield Mile. The next week, May 30, the series heads to the West Coast for the Sacramento Mile, where Bryan Smith will try to make it five wins in a row at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.
On June 20, Half-Mile fans can get their fix when the series returns to Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, Md. Smith won the event in 2014, giving Kawasaki its first ever victory on a Half-Mile in the premier GNC1 division.
The following week, June 27, riders will attack the pea-gravel Half-Mile in Lima, Ohio. Jared Mees, the eventual 2014 Grand National Champion and owner of the National No. 1 plate for 2015, got his first win of the season at the Allen County Fairgrounds last year.
The series will then jump back out west for the first of two TT (Tourist Trophy) events in 2015. Castle Rock Race Park in Castle Rock, Wash., is scheduled to host AMA Pro Flat Track on Saturday, Aug. 1. Henry Wiles, the dominant force of the last decade in TT races, will try to repeat there.
Aug. 4 is the date for the Black Hills Half-Mile at Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D., which is sure to attract plenty of the motorcycle enthusiasts in town for the 75th running of the world famous rally in Sturgis.
Next up, the riders will take to the sky for the second outing in 2015 with the legendary Peoria TT set for Aug. 16. In 2014, Wiles made headlines with his 10th straight victory at PMC Race Park, and he'll be trying to make it 11 in a row when he gets back to Peoria, Ill. in 2015.
The series then returns to the Illinois State Fairgrounds for the second running of the Springfield Mile. Coolbeth eked out his second Mile victory of the season at the iconic facility during Labor Day Weekend in 2014.
The championship battles will then play out on the West Coast with back-to-back races in California. Riders will attack Calistoga Speedway, nestled in the heart of wine country, on Oct. 3, before finishing off the season in Pomona, Calif. with the Flat Track Finals at the LA County Fairplex on Oct. 10.
Confirmed Dates on the 2015 AMA Pro Flat Track Schedule
March 12: DAYTONA Flat Track I, Daytona Beach, Fla.
March 13: DAYTONA Flat Track II, Daytona Beach, Fla.
May 24: Springfield Mile I, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Ill.
May 30: Sacramento Mile, Cal Expo Fairgrounds, Sacramento, Calif.
June 20: Hagerstown Half-Mile, Hagerstown Speedway, Hagerstown, Md.
June 27: Lima Half-Mile, Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, Ohio
August 1: Castle Rock TT, Mt. St. Helens Motorcycle Club, Castle Rock, Wash.
August 4: Black Hills Half-Mile, Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, S.D.
August 16: Peoria TT, PMC Race Park, Peoria, Ill.
September 6: Springfield Mile II, Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, Ill.
October 3: Calistoga Half-Mile, Calistoga Speedway, Calistoga, Calif.
October 10: Flat Track Season Finale, LA County Fairplex, Pomona, Calif.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines.
Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.