Saturday, October 22, 2011

AMA Flat Track: 7-Time Grand National Champion Chris Carr Calls It a Career at Pomona Season-Finale

For the final time in his career as a legendary rider, 7-Time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr walks out towards rider intros at another track that made him famous.  A 12-time winner on the Springfield Mile, The Prince of Peoria came up just-short of his 13th on September 4 in round 16 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series.  How short?  Just .012 seconds short, to first-time winner Willie McCoy.  Leading the majority of laps throughout the red flag-delayed 26-lap National main event, Carr was one of the first to greet winner McCoy on the victory podium, giving his former team mate a bear hug for the ages, and commenting that if he had to lose to somebody that he was 'glad it was Willie.'

With his long-time tuner, Kenny Tolbert rolling out his #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/Classic Harley-Davidson/DFW Honda/Arai-backed H-D XR750, Carr's 50th and final main event at the Illinois State Fairgrounds was just like the almost 400 races the man has run throughout his AMA Flat Track career--fast and exciting, leaving fans and friends alike on the edge of their seats and the tips of their toes as the former champ showed the way at the front and battled side-by-side with his fellow competitors.

The long-time racer announced his Farewell to Flat Track Tour 2011 early in the year, and besides running the 20-race schedule on the AMA Pro Flat Track Series, competed in another 15 events this season to close out what can only be described as a phenomenal run for a 44 year old man.  There wasn't an event on the National schedule where the fans weren't mobbing him in their quest for that final autograph or t-shirt, and from the first, at the Steve Nace AMA Flat Track race in DuQuoin back in January, to the last at last week's season-finale at Pomona, the transplanted Californian wowwed the crowds at each and every event he hit this season.

The MavTV cameras are rolling and AMA Pro Flat Track official announcer Barry Boone is ready to talk with the winner of the 2nd heat race at round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series inside the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds' Southern Illinois Center's indoor short track back in April.  And it was Chris Carr who came out fighting after ending combined practice in the 4th spot, but then qualifying 11th. 

But when it came time to lay down the law, The Prince of Peoria delivered in winning his heat, and then going on to get 2nd in the Dash for Cash event behind event and Dash winner, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.  From that point in the season, you knew it was on as he went on to take 2nd in the main behind Coolbeth, with then-and eventual-repeating Grand National Champion Jake Johnson rounding out the podium.  The Farewell to Flat Track Tour 2011 was off to a pretty darn good start for the former 7-Time AMA Grand National Champion.

On the track that made him not only famous, but a true legend in the great sport of AMA Grand National Championship Series racing, Carr hammers the #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/DFW Honda/Classic Harley-Davidson/Arai-sponsored Honda CRF450R out of the turn 5 area heading towards the start/finish line at the Peoria TT in round 14 of the 2011 season on August 21.  Practicing in the 7th spot overall and qualifying 5th behind Henry Wiles, Jared Mees, Jake Johnson and Brad Baker, Chris finished 4th in his heat, and had a great battle in the National main event to finish the day in the 6th spot.  The Peoria Motorcycle Club honored the 13-time National main event winner at the track with a ceremony including his family that left very few dry eyes on anyone in attendance.

These two men hold records in AMA Grand National Championship Series racing that put them second only behind former 9-Time AMA Grand National Champion Scott Parker.  Chris Carr and Kenny Tolbert have been racing together for 23 years, and have produced together all of Carr's championships, and a majority of his 78 National main event wins in the series.  Looking to the future, the duo are hoping to get the sponsorship together to put a young up-and-coming rider on their equipment for the 2012 season and beyond. 

At the Springfield Mile II event when this picture was taken, Carr told Cycle's Larry Lawrence and myself that they 'weren't there yet' in being able to get a full-season program together, but were hopeful to be able to get things worked out to be able to do so.  With the tutelage of this great pair of racers and people, whomever that person may end up being will have a rock-solid program under them when it comes to fruition.  And they'll have a great time hanging with two of the nicest guys in the sport as well.

Carr has some ideas he is hoping to jointly work with the AMA and some other entities in order to help AMA Flat Track grow even more and prosper in the future, and he talks more about that with Cycle's Matthew Miles below. 

We salute the now-retired champ for his super year in placing 5th in the overall championship, and are definitely going to miss him on the track.  One of the fiercest competitors to ever throw a leg over a Grand National machine, his presence in the series has left a lot of great memories over the years for alot of fans, sponsors and competitors alike.  Thanks for those memories Chris, they're golden, man!

Read and view on below more about Chris' great final season in competition, and his last race event a the Pomona Half-Mile.

Paul Carruthers was on-hand at last Saturday's season-finale round 20 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the Pomona Half-Mile, and got a chance to talk with Chris about his season and his great career over the course of the last quarter-plus century.  You can read it hear, and also see the short video clip with Chris as he reflects on calling it a day, in the latest edition of Cycle's Digital issue:

Paul also talks about covering Chris' racing over the years, starting with his first win at the Peoria TT back in '86:

Moto Syndicate put up this super video of Chris' last ride at the Pomona Half-Mile over on YouTube.  This is a must see!

And Matthew Miles also talked with the 7-Time AMA Grand National Champion and put up this interview with Chris on

No comments:

Post a Comment

Keep it nice, but keep them coming!

---Please note---You can leave comments anonymously, but you can also leave them while logged into Google, Yahoo and other platforms.
We'd love to hear from you!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.