The AMA/Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships round scheduled for May 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas, was canceled due to rain. It will not be rescheduled.
The story at Texas Motor Speedway was typical of the scenarios that lead up to such cancellations on the AMA dirt track circuit. Threatening skies hampered the event from the start, as AMA officials elected to eliminate the qualifying scratch heats and the semis, and take the top five from each of the four Grand National heats directly to the main event. The Grand National heats were run, with Memphis Shades/Coziahr Harley-Davidson’s Kevin Varnes narrowly defeating Fasthog.com/Moroney’s Harley-Davidson’s Will Davis in the first and fastest heat race to sit on the pole. H-D of Sacramento/Phoenix Racing/GPB Racing’s Chris Carr, Team Powell/West Bend H-D’s J.R. Schnabel and Corbin/SuperTrapp’s Kenny Coolbeth won their respective heats, and each posted correspondingly slower times in that order.
Then the rain came, just as the riders were being called to staging. Intermittent showers wreaked havoc with AMA track stud Steve Morehead and the Texas Motor Speedway crew. Each time it appeared as though they had rolled the track into shape, another minor squall would come in and undo all the hard work. Finally, at around 9:45 a.m., the big one hit. The race was called at approximately 10:30 p.m., with the 20 riders who made the main event each receiving one championship point and being paid off according to the position in which they were to start the main event.
While he admitted that he would rather have raced for the win, the fact that he came away with first place money sat well with Varnes, who replied, “Hey, I got shit to pay for.” Varnes and wife Colleen are expecting their second child in two weeks, and the Varnes’ also just closed on a new house in East Earl, Pennylvania, last Friday.
The AMA series takes a break for a few weeks before heading to Springfield, Illinois, for the Memorial Day Weekend TT/Mile double header. Here is the payoff order for tonight’s main event:
1. Kevin Varnes (H-D); 2. Chris Carr (H-D); 3. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 4. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 5. Will Davis (H-D); 6. Joe Kopp (H-D); 7. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 8. Mike Hacker (H-D); 9. Jason Tyer (H-D); 10. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 11. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 12. Terry Poovey (H-D); 13. Geo Roeder II (H-D); 14. Rich King (H-D); 15. Shawn Clark (H-D); 16. Robert Lewis Jr.; 17. Dan Butler (H-D); 18. Willie McCoy (H-D); 19. Tim Eades (H-D); 20. Gary Rogers.