Three-time AMA Grand National Jay Springsteen announced Tuesday that he will race in the AMA Grand National Championship season opener at Daytona Beach’s Municipal Stadium on Thursday night. The popular 46-year-old rider from Lapeer, Michigan, announced his retirement from full-time racing last season, but said he will race in select events this season.
“I’m only going to do the races I want to do,” Springsteen said. “I’m going to do the Thursday night race only. I’ve been short track racing here in Daytona back to the days of the old Memorial Stadium. I’d like to get a national win at Municipal Stadium. I’ve been close a couple of times out there.”
Springsteen raced Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway in the final day of the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association Vintage event. He led both the Formula 750 and Formula Vintage races before being forced to pit with mechanical problems.
“These old Harley’s don’t last too long when they start popping and cracking like that,” Springsteen explained, “so I just decided to pull it in. I got into the eights (2:08 lap times), which is pretty good for these bikes.”
Springsteen is hoping his luck at the Speedway doesn’t follow him to the short track race.
“I’m having such tough luck here,” he said. “I hope my chain doesn’t pop off or something at Municipal Stadium.”
The expected showdown between Springsteen and Gary Nixon, another former AMA champ, didn’t come to pass. Nixon finished second to Tim Joyce in the Formula 750 race. Springsteen pulled off the track in that race after building a nine-second lead. Nixon never made the Formula Vintage event. He said the Honda he was to ride was starting to make some funny noises in the previous race, so he decided to sit out his final race. David Crussell won the Formula Vintage race on a 1970 Kawasaki HR1.