Since 1947 the Peoria TT has been a regular stop on the AMA national circuit. With the AMA Grand National Series celebrating its 50th anniversary this season, it’s only appropriate that one of the most prestigious events in the series is Peoria. Ranking as one of the most coveted prizes in all of AMA Pro Racing, the TT is a grand old race with such rich tradition and history that a victory there is on the wish list of every rider in the series. On Sunday, Aug. 22, Peoria will host round 11 of the 17-race AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship.
Appropriately, the “Prince of Peoria”, Chris Carr, is leading the series coming into the race. Carr is on track to earn his sixth AMA Grand National title and, with 13 Peoria TT wins to his credit; he is certainly one of the pre-race favorites. The veteran racer from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, has won four Grand National races so far this season. He leads rival and former champ Joe Kopp by 25 points, 184-159, in the series points chase.
“I always feel good coming to Peoria,” Carr said. “I feel like I’m coming home when I go to that racetrack. It’s always a good weekend for us, and it’s obviously my favorite racetrack of the year. We know we can run good there, and hopefully find a good set-up and be tough to beat. It’s a good opportunity to pad our point lead and go on from there – use it as a momentum-builder for the rest of the season.”
While Carr is always a favorite at Peoria, he hasn’t won there since 2001. He has plenty of incentive to get back on top of the podium this year.
The defending winner is Glen J.R. Schnabel, of West Bend, Wisconsin. Last year’s Peoria victor comes into this race with two wins to his credit already. Schnabel has never won more than two Grand Nationals in one season, so he too has a lot of motivation to win Sunday.
“Being the defending Peoria winner gives me a lot of confidence, but it also places a target squarely on my back,” Schnabel said. “In past year’s everyone was trying to chase Chris there without much luck, but now there are four of five guys who have a real shot at winning. It should be a really competitive race.”
One of the riders Schnabel thinks will be a leading contender is Joe Kopp. The former champ from Mica, Washington, is keeping Carr in sight. He won the most recent round of the series earlier this month in Rapid City, South Dakita. Kopp knows he needs to keep the momentum in the points race if he’s to have a shot at dethroning Carr for this year’s title.
Peoria is one of the races in the series that will be telecast later in November on Speed Channel. For additional information on the Peoria TT, call 309/697-0011 or visit www.peoriatt.net.