Chris Carr said that he had more motivation to win the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships series opener at Daytona Municipal Stadium than he’s had in recent years. And a motivated Carr is a dangerous Carr.
The three-time and reigning series champion placed his name in the record books alongside that of the late Will Davis as a three-time winner of the Daytona Short Track tonight, emerging victorious aboard his Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford Racing factory Vor afer a 25-lap chess game with his protégé, Coziahr Harley-Davidson’s Johnny Murphree. The two pulled clear of another three-time AMA Grand National Champion, Jay Springsteen, who finished third aboard his Bartels’ Harley-Davidson Rotax.
Carr held the pole for the main event, but Murphree managed to outfox him and take the lead when the green light flashed. Murphree then put two to three lengths on Carr for the first 10-15 laps, with the race pace hovering in the low 20-second range. But Carr closed the gap on Murphree with nine laps to go, and took full advantage of a bobble by Murphree in turns three and four to take the lead on lap 18. Carr then pulled out to a three-length advantage, which grew as Murphree struggled with the slick rutty track surface that developed late in the race. Carr won the race by about a second.
The win was Carr’s 58th career Grand National victory, and it also tied him with Terry Poovey – the Texan winding up 16th after his ignition let go in the main event – for third on the all-time Grand National Short Track winner’s list. Carr, Poovey, Springsteen, Davis and Gary Nixon are knotted on four wins, one behind co-record holders Kenny Roberts and the late Steve Eklund.
Moroney’s 1-800-FASTHOG/American Honda’s Jake Johnson battled with Team KTM’s Joe Kopp early in the main event before coming through to fourth, while former Daytona Short Track winner Brett Landes (1995) came through from 10th place to finish fifth.
Daytona Municipal Stadium
Daytona Beach, Florida
Results: March 8, 2003 (Round 1 of 18)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 16 riders): 1. Chris Carr (Vor); 2. Johnny Murphree (Rot); 3. Jay Springsteen (Rot); 4. Jake Johnson (Hon); 5. Brett Landes (Rot); 6. Joe Kopp (KTM); 7. Rick Winsett Jr. (Rot); 8. Rich King (H-D); 9. John Raun Wood (Rot); 10. Michael Varnes (Rot); 11. J.R. Schnabel (Yam); 12. Cory McDermitt (Rot); 13. Kenny Coolbeth (KTM); 14. Bryan Smith (Rot); 15. Sam Lowe (Hon); 16. Terry Poovey (Rot).
Time: 8 min., 35.426 sec.
Margin of Victory: 00.989 sec.
AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE U.S. FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS SERIES STANDINGS (After 1 of 18 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (23/1 win); 2. Johnny Murphree (19); 3. Jay Springsteen (16); 4. Jake Johnson (15); 5. Brett Landes (14); 6. Joe Kopp (13); 7. Rick Winsett Jr. (12); 8. Rich King (11); 9. John Raun Wood (10); 10. Michael Varnes (9); 11. J.R. Schnabel (8); 12. Cory McDermitt (7); 13. Kenny Coolbeth (6); 14. Bryan Smith (5); 15. Sam Lowe (4); 16. Terry Poovey (3).