AMA Pro Racing and U.S. Flat Track Championships series sponsor Progressive Insurance are building on the successes of the inaugural AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships season, with many new initiatives for 2001 that will catapult flat track racing to the next level. The initiatives, which will increase the sport's fan base while providing loyal, media-starved fans with unprecedented coverage of the sport, include expanded television coverage and the same-day television broadcast of a race, a new state-of-the-art official series website, series advertising at the national level for the first time ever, and an expanded series schedule highlighted by new top-level facilities.

Flat-track fans have long craved more exposure for the sport through television, and in 2001 that will happen. The amount of televised flat-track racing in 2001 will double from last year. Programming will shift from ESPN2 to Speedvision and Fox Sports Net, who have agreed to provide a regular prime-time slot for the series. With a regular slot, fans will know exactly when races will be televised and airings can be promoted to potential fans. But the highlight of next year's television package will be the same-day delay broadcast of the annual Labor Day Springfield Mile race that will air nationwide on Fox Sports Net just hours after the race.

Web-savvy flat-track fans will also be treated well in 2001. 1800FlatTrack.com, the new official series website, will be launched prior to the March 10 start of the 2001 season. The website, a joint venture between AMA Pro Racing and Progressive Insurance, will be the most comprehensive, entertaining and informative motorcycle flat-track racing destination on the Web. In addition to racing and television schedules, news, results, race reports and exclusive photos, the site will feature extensive rider and team info, regular columnists, online auctions of rider memorabilia (with proceeds going to the year-end points fund), and a secure online giftshop with licensed gear from top riders. The site will also include a section devoted to the rich history of dirt-track racing, including historical statistics.

To attract new fans to the sport through increased on-track attendance, television viewership and series website traffic, Progressive Insurance and AMA Pro Racing are introducing national series advertisements, which will run in motorcycle enthusiast publications beginning in March 2001. The ads, which are co-funded by Progressive and AMA Pro Racing, will include a series schedule, television air date details and promotion of 1800FlatTrack.com.

Progressive has already been promoting flat track to prospective fans through its racing-themed booth at all 12 Advanstar International Motorcycle Shows. The booth includes impressive attention-grabbing flat-track visuals for potential fans, including the series' Harley-Davidson XR750 Show Bike and fully-equipped mannequin rider, racing videos and rider autograph sessions. Support for the 2001 series is also expanding on the race track as next year's race schedule will include four new top-notch, half-mile facilities. New to the 2001 schedule will be events April 21 at Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, Texas; May 5 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas; June 2 at Joplin 66 Raceway in Joplin, Missouri; and June 23 at Superior Speedway in Superior, Wisconsin. The April 21 and May 5 rounds in Texas are in major markets and are first-class facilities offering state-of-the-art lighting, large permanent seating and luxury suites.

Some 19 races are confirmed for the 2001 schedule with four more rounds in the works, for a tentative total of 23 rounds. This compares to 14 completed rounds during last season, in which AMA Pro Racing lost several dates to the Formula USA/Wrenchead.com National Dirt Track Series, while several more dates were plagued by rain.

"It's clear that Progressive Insurance has seen the value of the AMA U.S. Flat Track Championships," said AMA Pro Racing CEO Scott Hollingsworth. "They can see the future is a bright one and because of their support, the entire series has benefited."

Progressive is continuing its one-of-a-kind program, which provides monetary support to riders above and beyond the $100,000 series point fund. Each time a flat-track fan gets an insurance quote on their motorcycle, auto, RV, watercraft, or snowmobile by calling 1-800-FLAT-TRACK or visiting amaproracing.com, Progressive donates an additional $1 to the point fund. In 2000, the program increased the point fund by $10,000.

" [The year] 2001 is definitely going to be a banner year for the Progressive Insurance AMA U.S. Flat Track Championships," said Progressive Insurance Motorcycle Marketing Manager Miriam Deitcher. "We all know that sponsorships fuel the development of any race series. As America's number one motorcycle insurance company, we're proud to be supporting the growth in AMA flat-track racing and delivering an exciting history-rich sport to our customers and to race fans nationwide."

Flat Track News

By Scott Rousseau

Comments