The Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds, in Davenport, Iowa, will play host to round seven of the 19-race AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship this Saturday, July 17. It marks the first AMA Grand National race at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds half-mile circuit, which is conveniently situated in an urban setting near the heart of Davenport.
The series is coming off a disappointing rain out last weekend in Joliet, Illinois,, but despite having no race there was news in the series. Former AMA Grand National champ Joe Kopp and Kevin Atherton had points reinstated after a penalty for illegal fuel was reversed by AMA Pro Racing. An internal review of the penalty determined the fuel samples had not been sealed properly so Kopp and Atherton each got back 23 championship points assessed for the penalty. The championship has tightened up considerably.
Defending champ Chris Carr still leads the standings with 106 points, but Kopp is now just 16 points behind with 90 points after his victory in Lima, Ohio, late last month. Kopp said his victory at Lima was crucial in not letting Carr’s early season lead blossom into a large mid-season points gap. As the season enters the middle stages it appears to be a two-rider race for the championship between longtime rivals Carr and Kopp.
Kopp has a new tuner in Larry Zumbrum of LZ Racing and is hoping the new relationship will yield good results.
“He seems a lot more like me,” Kopp said of Zumbrum. “I know he builds fast Harleys. I’m really looking forward to the miles later on. I think we will be right there.”
While Kopp has been the hottest rider on the circuit over the last three races it was Carr who sprinted off to one of the best starts in the 50-year history of the series with two wins in the first three rounds on his Quality Checked Certified Pre Owned Ford-sponsored motorcycles.
Warren, Connecticut’s Ken Coolbeth, teammate to Kopp on the KTM/Jones Powersports/H-D of Mid-America squad, is a distant third in the standings, but is hoping to make a mid-season run to get back in title contention.
Iowa fans will be rooting for favorite son Rich King (pictured), of the Harley-Davidson factory team. The veteran racer from Dysart, is ranked 13th in the championship coming into Saturday’s national, but does have a victory to his credit already this year.
The Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds half-mile is new to the AMA Grand National Championship, but the track has hosted motorcycle racing before, namely a popular vintage motorcycle racing event held annually. According to series manager Bruce Bober the track features a black clay racing surface and the turns are slightly banked.
“A lot of our tracks are out in rural settings,” Bober said. “But this one is practically in the middle of the city. It should be really convenient for people in the area who are curious about our series to come in on Saturday and see what it’s all about.”
This marks the first AMA Grand National race in Iowa since 1996, when the series ran in Knoxville.
In addition to the Grand National a 505 Expert support race will be held as well. For additional information on the race call 563/323-4085.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Saturday, July 17, 2004
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Registration at the track
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Tech Inspection at the track
4:15 p.m. – Mandatory Riders Meeting
4:30 p.m. – Practice
5:30 p.m. – Qualifying heats
7:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremonies
7:30 p.m. – 7:40 p.m. – 1st 505 Heat
7:40 p.m. – 7:50 p.m. – 2nd 505 Heat
7:50 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – 3rd 505 Heat
8:00 p.m. – 8:10 p.m. – 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
8:10 p.m. – 8:20 p.m. – 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
8:20 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. – 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
8:30 p.m. – 8:40 p.m. – 4th Progressive Insurance Grand National Heat
8:40 p.m. – 8:55 p.m. – 505 FINAL
8:55 p.m. – 9:05 p.m. – Victory Circle for 505 Final
9:05 p.m. – 9:15 p.m. – 1st Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
9:15 p.m. – 9:25 p.m. – 2nd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
9:25 p.m. – 9:35 p.m. – 3rd Progressive Insurance Grand National Semi
9:50 p.m. – 10:05 p.m. – AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE GRAND NATIONAL FINAL
10:05 p.m. – Victory Circle for Grand National