Chris Carr, one of the winningest motorcycle racers in all of AMA racing history, has announced he will retire from full-time competiton after the 2011 season. The 43-year-old native of Stockton, California, who has long called Fleetwood, Pennsylvania home, will commence what will be called the Chris Carr Farewell to Flat Track Tour with the Daytona Short Track opener in March.
"It is never an easy decision to give up doing something you truly love to do," said Carr, who turned Pro and was AMA Rookie of the Year in 1985. "I look forward to my last full season of competition. Beyond 2011, I wish to continue the winning tradition of Chris Carr Racing with one of the many up and coming racers on the circuit. I may decide to run a few selected events in the future, but only if I really need to scratch that racing itch."
Transitioning from the seat of his XR750 to race team owner, Carr will call 2011 his final full time year as a racer. Beyond 2011, Carr's plan is to continue running his team with a selected young racer under his tutelage and launch a new chapter in his storied motorsports career - Chris Carr Racing Motorcycles.
"I'm going to be 44 this May," Carr said. "I know what my body feels like this time of the year and it's time to move on. I didn't want to move on in a way that caught people off guard. I want go out doing what I can promoting flat track in a positive manner and I felt a Chris Carr Farewell to Flat Track Tour is a good promotional opportunity, not only for our team, but also for flat track as a way to invite people from the last 27 years out to say goodbye one last time and hopefully along the way we'll have a few people rediscover the sport as well."
Carr added that it was important to him to exit while he was still competitive.
"It's gets tougher and tougher every year," Carr admitted. "There's a great crop of young riders in their 20s and some guys in their 30s at their peak and they're going to be the future of the sport. I look forward to going out in style. I'm not going to go out there next season running in the back of the field waving at people. I plan on going out there, trying to win races and a championship."
Carr is the one link from yesterday's greats to today's young Grand National stars. To get an idea of just how far back Carr's legacy reaches you only need to know one amazing stat - that Carr (with one notable exception) has raced against every AMA Grand National Champion dating back to Kenny Roberts in 1974. That means he's raced against everyone from Roberts, to Jay Springsteen to Randy Goss, Ricky Graham, Bubba Shobert, Scott Parker, Kenny Coolbeth and Jake Johnson.
"In 1985 when I was a rookie I raced Kenny Roberts, who came back to race the Springfield Mile for Mert Lawwill," Carr said. "The only Grand National Champion since Roberts I never raced against was Mike Kidd. I've raced with a lot of the best over the years and I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to race against a lot of the greats, not only in flat track, but in road racing and Supermoto as well."
In addition to his exceptional flat track career in which he's won seven AMA Grand National Championships and 78 Nationals (second only to Scott Parker in both categories), Carr also had a noteworthy stint racing as a Harley-Davidson factory Superbike rider in the mid-1990s. He earned the distinction of being the only rider ever to win an AMA Superbike pole on a Harley-Davidson. Carr has also set land speed records at Bonneville. Such were his accomplishments that he was named to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame years before his career was completed.
Carr said he looks forward to a new life as a team owner after he hangs up his leathers.
"My goal is to continue being a part of the flat track family as a team owner," Carr concluded. "I know there are a lot of riders out there that would love the opportunity to get on motorcycles built and maintained by Kenny Tolbert and that is the goal beyond 2011 to slot somebody into my spot and have Kenny build the bikes and me help them get to the next level."