The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield will host a doubleheader round of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship over Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, May 28, round three of the 2005 AMA Grand National Championship will take place on the Springfield Arena TT course. Then on Sunday the action will shift to the historic Springfield Mile for round four of the 17-race series.
Defending and six-time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr (1) leads the standings coming into the Springfield doubleheader. He is coming off a win last weekend on the half-mile at Route 66 Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Carr is happy to be carrying momentum coming into this pivotal weekend of racing.
“Any time you’re coming off a winning weekend it’s a good thing,” said Carr, who rides for his own Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford racing team. “Even though I won in Joliet it’s going to be a completely different ballgame in Springfield this weekend on the TT and Mile tracks. I think we’ll have a really good idea who the riders to beat are going to be after this weekend. After Springfield we’ll have four races in the bag on all different types of tracks.”
Carr brings a mixed history to Springfield. He’s won the Memorial Weekend Mile three times, with his last victory coming in 2002. On the Springfield Arena TT course he’s been less successful however, only scoring one podium finish in 2001 and never taking the victory.
The TT race combines broad sliding flat track corners, a tight, unforgiving infield section and a high flying jump. The track is the ultimate test of racers’ all-around riding skills. Most riders will use modified motocross bikes to tame the twisting track at the picturesque outdoor Arena. Last year Wisconsin’s JR Schnabel (33) and his Memphis Shades backed Yamaha rode a near perfect 25 laps to win.
Carr says he does find one major challenge facing him and the rest of the series riders over the Memorial Day weekend and that’s the speed of the famous Springfield Mile.
“This will be the first time we’ve ridden at sustained speeds over 100 mph in seven months,” Carr explained. “It’s been since Du Quoin last year that the series visited a mile. It takes a few laps to get used to, but I’ve been doing this long enough that it’s not a major problem.”
Daytona Short Track winner Jake Johnson slipped from first to second in the standings after a ninth-place result in Joliet. Johnson will be looking to regain the lead and he especially likes his chances in the Springfield TT on Saturday.
Iowan Rich King (80) is the defending winner of the the Memorial Day Weekend round of the Springfield Mile. King gave retiring Hall of Fame tuner Bill Werner his 150th National win a year ago.
A number of events are planned to add extra enjoyment for race fans. The weekend kicks off with a “Meet the Stars” autograph session Friday night at Hooters at 7 pm. Then on Sunday at the Mile a number of Ford race vehicles will be on display at their Ford Tech-Tour Truck. Other hands-on displays will include Yamaha Star Motorcycles, K & N Filters, and SuperTrapp Exhaust. WYMG will sponsor an Infield Party Tent at the Mile with a band, prizes and concessions from 10 am until 2 pm. Infield admission is only $15.
The Official Springfield Mile Biker Appreciation Party kicks off at the Orr Building on the Fairgrounds immediately following Sunday’s race.
For more information check the web www.illinoismda.com. Tickets are available at participating Illinois Motorcycle Dealer Association members or by calling the IMDA office at 217/753-8866.