Harley-Davidson of Sacramento/Phoenix Racing’s Chris Carr scored his seventh win of the season and clinched the AMA/Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championship with a win in the Springfield Dirt Track Hall of Fame Grand National at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, today. Carr also became the first two-time winner of the Hall of Fame race.
The 25-lap main event showcased a tight battle among several riders, including Carr, Team Harley-Davidson’s Rich King, Bartels’ Harley-Davidson teammates Jay Springsteen and Shaun Russell, and friendly rivals Kenny Coolbeth on the Corbin Racing team and Mike Hacker on the Saddlemen Racing team. All of them took a turn at the front as the pack shuffled its way around the fast, black clay mile. It appeared as though King or Springsteen might have a performance advantage at the finish, but the two effectively robbed each other of the chance to draft past Carr off the last corner when King got a drive and ran into the back of Springer, who had elected to drop down low as they dashed toward the stripe. The contact sent Springer into a dangerous speed wobble, but the cagey veteran gathered it up, pursuing Carr to the line to finish second, with King landing third.
Carr’s win put him at 282 points, 79 ahead of King (the only active rider with a shot to overtake him) with just two rounds to go, locking up the title for team owner Mike Shattuck, who is retiring at the end of the 2001 season.
“That’s real special to me,” Carr said. “I owe Mike Shattuck so much. He really revived my racing career and made it so that I could come back and make a living at dirt track. I’m proud to be able to win the championship for him in his last season of racing.”
Carr was presented the AMA Grand National number one plate – his third – on the podium by reigning champ Joe Kopp, who is recovering from the injuries that he suffered in the big crash at Sedalia, Missouri.
The points races only tightened up in the two support classes held today, as defending Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series champion Willie McCoy scored his first win of the season in the series, with 2001 title rivals Paul Morgan III and Bryan Smith finishing second and third respectively. Smith now leads Morgan by a mere six points, 90-84, with just one round to go. Kenny Coolbeth scored a big win in the SuperTrapp SuperTracker Series to edge closer to contention in that title race. Series winner Bryan Bigelow finished second, and Mike Hacker finished third. Bigelow’s closest points rival, J.R. Schnabel, was fourth. Bigelow now leads Schnabel by 12 points, 113-101, with two laps to go.
Here are the 750cc main event results from today’s Springfield Hall of Fame Grand National:
GRAND NATIONAL: (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Chris Carr (H-D); 2. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 3. Rich King (H-D); 4. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 5. Shaun Russell (H-D); 6. Mike Hacker (H-D); 7. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 8. Terry Poovey (Hon); 9. Bryan Smith (H-D); 10. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 11. Willie McCoy (H-D); 12. Larry Pegram (H-D); 13. Kevin Varnes (H-D); 14. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 15. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 16. Dan Butler (H-D); 17. Nicky Hayden (H-D); 18. Dan Stanley (H-D).
Time: 14 min., 42.975 sec.