The following is a press release from AMA Sports:
An outstanding field of 22 national and international racers will answer the call on August 6 when the 2004 AMA National Championship Speedway Series Presented by Progressive Insurance begins.
Headed by two former World Champions — Billy Hamill (1996) and Greg Hancock (1997) — the field also boasts five past AMA National Champions: Hancock, Hamill, Mike Faria, Bobby Schwartz and Chris Manchester.
The three-round series begins on Friday, August 6, at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn, California, and heads south the next night to Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway in Victorville, California. The final round of the series will be September 24 at Fast Fridays Speedway.
Under a format unique to the AMA National Championship Series, there are 14 riders seeded into the main program of the first event, and eight others will contest a preliminary round from which only two riders will advance to round out a 16-rider championship program.
Each evening of racing will pack 28 four-lap sprints into a three-hour program. The winner of each round will be decided in a sudden-death sprint featuring the four riders with the most points from their five programmed heat races. At the conclusion of each round of the series, the two lowest-scoring riders are relegated to the preliminary round at the next race.
Greg Hancock, who is currently the No. 5 ranked rider in the world, is the pre-race favorite and the defending champion of AMA Speedway. He was closely trailed in the 2003 series by young lions Ryan Fisher and Billy Janniro and fellow veteran Hamill. Those four riders, as well as Eric Carrillo, are all California natives who are based in Europe.
One rider in the series, Bartek Bardecki, is a Polish national who races full-time in the United States. All but one of the remaining riders hail from California or Nevada, while New Yorker Tom Sephton is the sole Eastern States representative in the series. Sephton earned his slot by winning a special qualifying event in June at Champion Speedway in Owego, New York.
Four riders will be making their AMA National Championship Series debuts: Justin Boyle, Matt Browne, Shawn Harmatiuk and Sephton.
Here is the full field of 22 riders entered in round one of the series on August 6:
Top 14 Seeds Preliminary Round Riders
Bart Bast, Auburn, CA
Bartek Bardecki, Alta, CA
Scott Brant, Riverside, CA
Justin Boyle, Long Beach, CA
Eddie Castro, Ojai, CA
Matt Browne, Pleasant Hill, CA
Mike Faria, Reno, NV
Eric Carrillo, Newark, CA
Ryan Fisher, Norco, CA
Shawn Harmatiuk, Garden Grove, CA
Greg Hancock, Costa Mesa, CA
Chris Kerr, Grass Valley, CA
Billy Hamill, Monrovia, CA
Bobby Schwartz, Costa Mesa, CA
Bobby Hedden, Folsom, CA
Bobby Krips, Riverside, CA
Tommy Hedden, Auburn, CA
Billy Janniro, Vallejo, CA
Chris Manchester, Reno, NV
Tom Sephton, Vestal, NY
Charlie Venegas, San Bernardino, CA
Bryan Yarrow, Vallejo, CA
And here is the draw for round 1:
1 – Greg Hancock
2 – Qualifier 2
3 – Scott Brant
4 – Bobby Hedden
5 – Billy Janniro
6 – Qualifier 1
7 – Eddie Castro
8 – Ryan Fisher
9 – Charlie Venegas
10 – Billy Hamill
11 – Mike Faria
12 – Bart Bast
13 – Bryan Yarrow
14 – Tom Sephton
15 – Tommy Hedden
16 – Chris Manchester
Here is the draw for the preliminary round:
Prelim Heat One: Justin Boyle, Shawn Harmatiuk, Bobby Schwartz, Bobby Krips
Prelim Heat Two: Bartek Bardecki, Matt Browne, Eric Carrillo, Chris Kerr
Prelim Heats 3 and 4 lineups are based on results of Heats 1 & 2 per AMA Supplementary Regulations.
Alternates 1-2-3 for Round 1 in Auburn: JJ Martynse, Mark Carrillo and Greg Hooten Jr.
Alternates 1-2-3 for Round 2 in Victorville: Buck Blair, Gary Hicks and Jim Estes