The following is a press release from Bill Sawyer's Virginia Motor Speedway:

Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway held a successful one-day test for the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship in preparation for the July 15, 2006 running of the 1st Annual Joe Weatherly Memorial.

When July 15, 2006 rolls around it will be the first time in 36 years that the AMA Flat Track series has visited the State of Virginia.

“We are extremely excited to be working with Bill and Clarke Sawyer to hold an AMA Flat Track Grand National event at Virginia Motor Speedway after an absence of 36 years in the State of Virginia,” commented AMA Flat Track Series Manager Bruce Bober. “What a beautiful facility, and as far as the racing surface, with the good clay that is here and the banking that is in the track, the fans will definitely see multi-line racing. The test went extremely well for us. After one lap on the track I could see a huge smile on the face of my test rider, Steve Morehead."

Eight riders took part in the one-day test session including Warren, Connecticut’s Kenny Coolbeth, who second in the 2005 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship points chase, behind seven-time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr. Three local riders took part in the test session, as Mike Hacker and Tim Eades of Colonial Heights, Virginia, and John Nickens III of Richmond, Virginia, all turned laps on the half mile speed plant. It was the first time to Virginia Motor Speedway for all eight of the riders and everyone seemed to like the surface and the facility.

“This place is pretty nice and one of the best facilities we have been to in some time, and I’m looking forward to racing here,” Coolbeth said.

“I love this place," Hacker added. "This is the type of facility that we need to advance our sport. We need to go to facilities that look nice, with good track surfaces. I love this place, and I’m excited to come here."

Hacker comes off a disappointing season where he injured his shoulder, allowing him to only compete in two Grand National events in 2005. After a long rehab, Hacker is looking forward to getting back on the track and the opportunity to race close to home, as well.

“I’m really excited about racing close to home," Hacker said. "It is going to be neat for my friends and family that can’t travel to be able to come see what I do for a living, and it would be nice to win at a track near my hometown, so that is going to be my goal."

Each rider echoed the same feelings when asked what fans should expect when they come out for the Joe Weatherly Memorial on July 15, 2006, and Hacker summed it up best.

“The fans should expect to see a really good race and see what AMA Flat Track dirt racing is all about," Hacker said. "I’m sure that they will leave here thinking, 'Wow, I should have been watching this stuff my whole life.'”

Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway is a half-mile, dirt oval. The track is located on U.S. Route 17, eight miles north of Saluda, Virgnina, and 25 miles south of Tappahannock, Virginia. The speedway is just a short drive from Richmond, Fredericksburg, Southern Maryland and the Hampton Roads area. To learn more about Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway and its 2006 schedule of events, fans may call the Speedway office at 804/758-1VMS or visit the track’s web site at www.vamotorspeedway.com.

Flat Track News

By Scott Rousseau

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