Saturday, February 27, 2010

Scott Russell Knows a Little Bit About Speed (TV)...

And you can bet he knows a little something about speed ON the track as well.
It was announced on Thursday of this week that Scott 'Mr. Daytona/The Screaming Chief' Russell would be re-joining the SpeedTV team to help out on coverage of the AMA Pro Road Racing scene in the States. Although we have had to deal with 'delayed' coverage and 'same-day delayed' coverage of our wonderful AMA Superbike series now for some time, at least we are back to 'same-day' coverage. And at least we are getting SOME tv coverage. In that respect, it could be worse. If you've been around anytime at all like me, think BEFORE cable or satellite. So, it can always be worse, believe me.
But having Mr. Daytona back in the booth for SpeedTV's coverage of the AMA Road Racing scene will be big. Having been there and done that on the race track, The Chief will be on the spot to help bring the viewers the info they need and want to hear. And having come in last year after Freddie Spencer stepped aside, with almost a year under his belt, Mr. Daytona should be able to deliver the goods to the viewer just like he did for the race fans for years.
And deliver he did. As the story has it, Scott went to Daytona in '85 as a fan and a spectator. That was the year Freddie kicked everyone's butt in ALL the classes, winning the 250GP race, the Superbike race, and the Formula One-based (at the time) 200 as well. Scott saw this and thought 'man, I want to do this' and the rest was pretty much history.
Starting off in WERA, he won a bunch of races and worked his way to the AMA and then on to World Superbike. Along the way, The Chief won the '92 AMA Superbike Championship, the '90-'92 AMA 750 SuperSport Championships (this was the 'old' SuperStock class and he still holds the record for 23 race wins), the '93 World SuperBike Championship, oh, and those five Daytona 200 victories as well (and with due cred to Miguel Duhamel, Mr. Daytona won ALL of his when it was based on the fire-breathing Superbike class.)
So needless to say, Mr. Russell does know a little something about speed. And he should be able to bring that to the table, the cameras, and the race fans while he does analysis for SpeedTV. And it all starts with SpeedTV's coverage of the Daytona 200 on Friday, March 5th at 9 P.M. Eastern. Stay tuned, as this year is getting better every day.
The first time I saw Scott Russell in a professional AMA race was Road America in 1989, the year Russell was team mates with Jamie James on the Yosh Suzuki's and they got a little too excited racing and banging with one another for the win that they took each other out in turn 5 towards the end of the race they handed it to privateer Rich Arnaiz.
The first time I saw Scott race in what I would consider a ride of super-human feat was at the WERA/Formula USA finale at Road Atlanta in late Oct./early Nov. of '90. Russell was running one of Doug Chandler's '90 AMA Championship-winning Team Muzzy Kawasaki superbikes, and had to start the Sunday final on pitlane. This was the year Kenny Roberts put a team together for the F-USA series comprised of Rich Oliver and Robbie Petersen. Oliver was out injured, and Petersen was aboard one of Wayne Rainey's YZ500GP Team Marlboro machines. These bikes in the day were said to have cost over $1M each, and just reaked of exotica. And castor oil and pre-mix. Awesome. Like a chainsaw on acid AND Bolivian marching powder.
Well, having to start tail end to a shrieking 2-stroke GP machine didn't deter Mr. Russell as by lap 5 of the event he had broken the track record and was up to 5th place. He didn't win that day-Petersen won on the smokin' and wailing 500GP Yamaha-but it was Russell who had put on the show. Let alone the smiles on MY face! Truly one of the purest race rides I have ever seen in my life to the day. Needless to say I was a fan for life after this show force.
So to share with you today what I consider great news in getting Scott back into the race tv booth, I've got a few of the many shots I have taken of Scott over the years to get us all into the new week with Daytona practice set to start Wednesday morning March 3rd.
First up, when talking about The Chief and his race wins and championships, this shot of him at Road America in June of '92 felt good to start off with. This was shot just coming out from underneath the old Billy Mitchell Bridge, heading to turn 14 for the final run to the stripe up the hill, during the 750 SuperSport final. This was another race Scott had to start last in on his Team Muzzy Kawasaki-I can't remember why now-and was tearing through the field to try and catch eventual winner Jason Pridmore. He didn't win this one either, but got second to Jason, and later that year clinched his 3rd of 3 AMA 750 SS Championships. This after going 9 for 9 race wins in winning the championship the 2nd of 3 times the year prior.
A little later that summer of '92 we headed over to Mid Ohio and were lucky enough to chase Scott down in the paddock to get him to sign a few pics we had of him. Earlier in the year he had just started running his Troy Lee Designs new moniker, 'The Screaming Chief,' on his helmet AND on the back of his leathers. As Scott was signing for myself and my best bud John Lindley, a friend took the shot of the back of The Chief's leathers as he signed our shots that I had brought along and taken of him. I later got this shot signed as well by him to hang on the wall in the house.
Next up is a shot of Mr. Daytona back at Road Atlanta for the season-ending AMA round in '94. Other then maybe one other race that year, he had pretty much concentrated on trying to defend his '93 World Superbike Championship across the pond, so we didn't see him much Stateside that year. Except the last round, and was it big. Team Muzzy showed up with a ZX-7/750 for Scott and he was on it from the start of first practice. This shot was out of turn 7 which starts the run onto the long back stretch. Back in those days, the superbikes were trapping at about 175-180 there. Scott won the race, Troy Corser on a Fast By Ferracci Ducati won the '94 AMA Superbike Championship.
We then see a shot of Scott talking with Fast Freddie Spencer in the tech line at Road America in June of '91. Freddie's Two Brothers Racing Honda RC-30 superbike was up next as they were teching Scott's Muzzy Kawasaki under the awning that day. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in that conversation......
And to wrap up our news coverage for today, we see Scott on his Team Muzzy Kaw at Mid Ohio during practice in the summer of '91. This was shot in an early practice session for the weekend between turns 9 and 1o during superbike practice.
Once again we remind you that 'live' racing at Daytona starts on Wednesday, March 3rd. And the 200 will be shown tape delayed next Friday on SpeedTV at 9 P.M. Eastern on a delayed basis.
Thanks for taking the time to drop in again, and between now and the first of the week we will be back to preview the Daytona Short Track events for AMA Flat Track. We hope to see you back and we'll look forward to it. And we hope you will too!
Scott Russell to return to SpeedTV broadcast for 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing coverage. Thanks to John and his team at for the link to this great piece of news:
Scott Russell AMA Hall of Fame biography info:


  1. Stu

    The first time I met Scott I could barely understand what he was saying his Georgia accent was so thick.

    To hear him now doing a really great job as expert commentator on TV is something I never would have expected.


  2. I hear that LL.

    He definitely has that thick Southern 'drawl' so to speak. Of course I've been told by people at Elkhart Lake that I sound like I'm from the south. I tell them I am, south of Elkhart Lake...



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