Friday, February 5, 2010

AMA Flat Track's Mike Kidd Tells Double L at The Rider That the Grand National Championship Will be Combined for 2010!!!

Some of the best news to hit the world of flat track racing in some time was released yesterday to Larry Lawrence over at Mike Kidd, the AMA Director of Flat Track Racing, and the former '81 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion, announced that beginning this season that the Grand National Championship will be combined again for the 2010 season and beyond.
For what has been viewed as breaking from tradition with the split championships for the twins and the singles class, this will bring the whole championship scene back into play as it was originally designed--minus the road racing of course--for the first time since the '05 season. This is great news for not only the long time fans but for the new fans that are trickling into the sport. Bringing the championship together again is another great step that the AMA has taken in trying to gain more people in the seats, more rider and brand identification and more overall support of the series itself. The fact that they added a few more races to the schedule in itself is huge to the throngs of flat track fans, and we can only say 'bravo' for the effort involved by Mike and all of his staff out of Pickerington, OH. Unlike what has been happening with AMA Road Racing, the people in charge with AMA Flat Track put a man in charge with his eye on the road and his ability to run a solid show and also put fans in the seats. With Mike at the helm since the start of the '09 season, AMA Flat Track has seen some slow, BUT marked improvement within the series. His background in promotional efforts and running a solid series go back decades and that ability is now starting to shine in what he is helping to bring back to the flat track series that he was the overall champion in back in 1981.
Thanks to not only Mike and the AMA for making this move, and thanks to Larry Lawrence at for being on the cutting edge with this news release. You can check out Lare's super site as well as the 'unofficial'--you'll see why I say that--right here:
To help celebrate this super news--or I should say at least what I consider super news for flat track--I dug into the archives vault of Stu's Shots to better signify what type of racing we have involved here in the four different forms of racing that make up AMA Flat Track. I picked an action shot each from half-mile, TT, short track and mile racing to showcase this super series that if you haven't seen live yet for yourself, well, you better get ready to check out the greatest form of motorsports there is. You'll have 21 chances this year, and just to refresh and put it out there, here is the updated schedule for the '10 season that kicks off in less then four weeks in Daytona:
2010 Confirmed Events

March 3 DAYTONA® Flat Track (Daytona Beach, Florida) Short Track
March 4 DAYTONA® Flat Track (Daytona Beach, Florida) Short Track
May 1 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Mile
May 29 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) TT
May 30 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Mile
June 5 Gas City I-69 Speedway (Gas City, Indiana) Short Track
June 19 The Red Mile (Lexington, Kentucky) Mile
June 26 Allen County Fairgrounds (Lima, Ohio) Half-Mile
July 10 I-96 Speedway (Lake Odessa, Michigan) Half-Mile
July 25 Castle Rock Fairgrounds (Castle Rock, Washington) TT
July 31 Calistoga Fairgrounds (Calistoga, California) Half-Mile
August 7 Hagerstown Speedway (Hagerstown, Maryland) Half-Mile
August 14 Beulah Park (Grove City, Ohio) Mile
August 22 Peoria Race Park (Peoria, Illinois) TT
August 28 Indiana State Fairgrounds (Indianapolis, Indiana) Mile
September 4 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Short Track
September 5 Illinois State Fairgrounds (Springfield, Illinois) Mile
September 11 Canterbury Park (Minneapolis, Minnesota) Mile
September 18 Knoxville Speedway (Knoxville, IA) Half-Mile
October 9 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Short Track
October 10 Yavapai Downs (Prescott, Arizona) Mile
Since Mike Kidd has been one of the racers who I have followed since I got hooked on this flat track thing back in the summer of '74, and since he is in charge of the Starship Flat Track, I started off this wonderful post with a shot of Mike taking the checkered flag for a spin after he won the Terre Haute Half Mile back in August of '75 on his Kruger Racing-sponsored XR750.
Next up is a race location that was a one-and-done deal at the Pontiac Silverdome back in the summer of '76. They ran a double header that weekend of TT and short track racing--ala the Houston Astrodome events that were so strongly attended by fans and racers alike in the late '60s to mid '70s. Unfortunately Pontiac didn't pack 'em in the stands so, thusly, the one-and-done. However, the AMA Grand National regulars put on one heck of a show for those of us that did attend, as we see from some TT action over the infield jump involving future 3-Time Champ #25 Jay Springsteen, #1 Gary Scott and also the '75 Grand National Champion, and #29, the late Randy Cleek. Springer was on his tried and true 300 lb. XR while Scott and Cleek opted for the then-just released TT500 Yamaha singles that were soon to take over the class. And were at least 80-90 lbs. lighter then the XR's. No more wrestling a 300 lb. beast over those TT jumps for too much longer after this. That HAD to be a good thing!
I stuck the center shot in just because of the relevance and history that the men pictured have had on AMA Flat Track racing, from the early-mid '70s to the present. This shot was taken at the Inaugural AMA Flat Track Hall of Fame Race at Sprinfield over Labor Day Weekend in 1998. For the history lesson on this one, let's start with 19 AMA Grand National Championships, over 215 AMA Grand National Championship race wins, and over 100 years of AMA Flat Track racing experience in the lot, to boot. And that doesn't even count what Dave Despain, the man who organized this event, who hosted it and announced it--as he had done for years up to this point--let alone the man's enthusiasm about flat track racing.
Okay, in case you aren't sure here's a rundown on who's who in this shot and some of their accomplishments. From left the all-time winner of races and championships--over 90 race wins and 9 Grand National Championships. Number 1 in this shot and in the sport as a whole, Scotty Parker. Then you have Jay 'Springer' Springsteen, National #9 and 3-time former champ, with over 40 race wins. Speaking with Jay and partially obscured is former National #42, with 23 Grand National wins over the course of a 26 year professional racing career. And then you have Mr. Chris Carr, now the fastest man on two wheels in the world thanks to his run at Bonneville last fall to bring the crown back to the States with a run of over 367 mph! National #4, with 7 Grand National Championships, an F-USA Flat Track Championship, 7 600 Series Flat Track Championships, and over 70 Grand National Championship race wins. And he will be going in to his 26th year of professional flat track racing this upcoming year. Quite a roster of talent, eh?!
And don't forget the man who has stood for, spoken out for, and raved about the level of racing even now as he works for the folks at Dave Despain--in the white hat, blue and white shirt with the microphone at hand--has been and probably still is the official and unofficial rep and spokesperson for flat track even as he now largely covers the four wheel stuff for the folks at Speed. Dave Despain was the man who put together the Hall of Fame races at Springfield and who got the riders big money for those race purses.
We then see a shot of the field as they dive into turn one at Springfield during the Labor Day weekend running of this classic in '06. In no particular order you have #31 and soon to be when this shot was taken 3-Time Grand National Champion Kenny Coolbeth, #4 Chris Carr, #80 Rich King, #14 and the only Suzuki in this shot, Jake Johnson, #3 and 2000 Grand National Champion Joe Kopp, #28 Shaun Russell, and #42 Bryan Smith.
Last but not least we take another trip to those glory days of yesteryear with a shot of some short track action at the old Sante Fe Raceway in Hinsdale, IL., back in the summer of '75. Steve Morehead on the #42 leads '70 GN Champ Gene Romero on the #3 Yamaha DT360-based C&J Framed and sponsored entry, followed by #62 and Harley Sprint 250-based and mounted Corky Keener. Bringing up the rear is The King, Kenneth Lee Roberts, the '73-'74 GN Champ, on the #1 Yamaha DT360-based factory mount. This was taken during practice for the evening's event.
So, with some great news, a little history and a trip or two down memory lane, we close out this evening's post with a tip of the helmet and hearty thanks to Mike Kidd and the folks at AMA Flat Track, a thanks to racers and champions all for bringing us this wonderful sport of flat tracking, and an even bigger thanks to you for taking the time to come by and hang with us here at Stu's Shots. We hope you have enjoyed the trip and look forward to seeing you again soon. Have a great weekend!

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