The scheduling sweepstakes

| February 1, 2000
The speculation has been running rampant, dates have been flying like newly dealt cards. Finally, somebody has shown their hand in the professional dirt track poker game that has been taking place thus far in 2000.

AMA Pro Racing has released a tentative Progressive Insurance AMA U.S. Flat Track Championships schedule which varies significantly from the schedule that the sanctioning body released earlier in the year, and this one has a few significant dates missing.

The Oklahoma City Half Mile, which was purchased and promoted as an AMA event by PACE Motor Sports in ’99 is no longer on the AMA calendar. Ditto for the West Coast mile races at Sacramento and Del Mar, California, which have been promoted by Chris Agajanian of Agajanian Presents, Inc. The Sacramento date is now listed as a TBA on the AMA schedule, while the previously blank September 30/October weekend has been filled with what appears to be the AMA series finale, a two-day mile event at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Du Quoin, Illinois. The Del Mar date of October 7-8 has not been replaced with an alternate AMA date. AMA Dirt Track Manager Bruce Bober said that the changes were not by the AMA’s choosing.

“The removal of Oklahoma City from our schedule was the result of a request by PACE Motor Sports to have it removed,” Bober told Cycle News on January 31. “The rumor that Chris Agajanian was going with PACE was the reason that we removed the Sacramento and Del Mar dates. As of this morning Chris Agajanian has confirmed that Sacramento and Del Mar will not be on the AMA schedule. Whether or not those will be PACE races, he did not say.

“Obviously, this [schedule change] is unfortunate,” Bober added, “but what are we going to do? To secure promotions in California at this late a date would be impossible, but we do have some potential for the future at venues in Portland, Oregon and Perris, California, which might be ready to step up. Possibly in 2001, we will have a California swing again. It’s just a shame that this had to happen.”

As for the new schedule, there may still be some question as to whether or not the Rapid City, South Dakota, date is a firm AMA date, as it is rumored that promotional rights to the event have been purchased by Agajanian. Cycle News contacted Agajanian on Tuesday morning, February 1, and while normally never at a loss for words, Agajanian politely declined comment except to say that an announcement regarding the future of his events would be forthcoming.

Is PACE Motor Sports gearing up to announce that it has entered the dirt track game? That’s the supposition, although the details are still mired in speculation. It appears, however, that the AMA has elected to forge ahead with its dirt track program. The latest Progressive Insurance AMA U.S. Flat Track Championships schedule is as follows:

March 11 Daytona Beach, Florida
May 20 Harrington, Delaware
May 28 Springfield, Illinois
June 10 Topeka, Kansas
June 17 Mineral Wells, West Virginia
June 24 Lima, Ohio
July 1 Joliet, Illinois
July 15 TBA
July 22 Charlotte, North Carolina
July 29 Rossburg, Ohio
August 5 Lake Odessa, Michigan
August 9 Rapid City, South Dakota
August 13 Peoria, Illinois
August 19 Hagerstown, Maryland
August 26 Sedalia, Missouri
September 2 Springfield, Illinois
September 3 Springfield, Illinois
September 9 TBA
September 23 TBA
September 30 Du Quoin, Illinois
October 1 Du Quoin, Illinois

By Scott Rousseau