After enjoying six years of one of the most lucrative sponsorship relationships – both for himself and for the sport of flat track – seven-time AMA Flat Track champion Chris Carr finds himself back in a position many of his fellow flat track riders are accustom to…trying to win a title on a shoestring budget.
With difficult times hitting the auto industry, Carr’s longtime sponsor (Ford Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned program) not only ended its deal with Carr for the upcoming AMA Flat Track Championship, but also as the title sponsor of the entire series – something Carr was highly instrumental in helping develop and nurture over the past six seasons.
That said, Carr has been fortunate to have a number of the generous motorcycle industry companies that have had his back over the years step up to help him with his ’08 campaign. And right out of the gate Carr paid some instant dividends, winning the opening AMA Hot Shoe at Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah, Ga., this past weekend over defending AMA Flat Track champion and friendly rival, Kenny Coolbeth (2nd).
“The core is still in tact,” says Carr of he and his longtime tuner/buddy, Kenny Tolbert. “And I certainly feel we have a chance to win this – prove that people win championships and not the almighty dollar. “So that’s our goal this year.”
In reality Carr has been a privateer since his road racing days ended with Harley Davidson – albeit a well-funded privateer with the Ford Quality Checked program. This year KTM has stepped up to help Carr in the Singles class, providing him with its new 450SXF, which Carr says will be the “Bike to beat” this Wednesday and Thursday (March 5-6) at Daytona Beach’s (Fla.) Municipal Stadium for the opening Singles rounds of the 2008 AMA Flat Track Championship.
On the Twins side of things – beginning April 5th in Tuscon, Ariz., at USA Race Park -Carr will again be running the Lancaster HD 750s – a non-factory bike he put on the podium a number of times in 2007, including a win at second Springfield Mile and podium finish at Lake Odessa (Mich.).
Wearing the toughness you’d expect from a veteran flat tracker, Carr doesn’t want any pity from the fans, nor does he expect any from his fellow competitors – many of whom have raced hand-to-mouth for their entire careers.
“I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for the Chris Carr Racing program. I had it good for a long time and now, because of some brutal economics, things are going to be tight this season,” explained Carr. “But some of my longtime supporters from within the motorcycle industry have stepped up and we’re basically back where we were in 1998 and ’99. So we’ll make due with what we’ve got and work hard to be there in the end for the championship.”
Those companies stepping up to help Chris Carr in his quest for the 2008 AMA Flat Track Championship title include: Drag Specialties, Parts Unlimited, Lancaster Harley Davidson, KTM Sport Motorcycles, Phoenix Racing, Arai, Wiseco Pistons, Motion Pro, A & A Racing, Cometic Gaskets, Pro Plates and Red Line Oil.
Seven-time AMA Flat Track champion and fastest man the world on two wheels at 350.884 miles per hour, the Chris Carr legend continues. For more information on Chris Carr, visit his website at www.chriscarr.com.
For more information on the Daytona Beach races this week on the 2008 AMA Flat Track Championship tour, link to: www.amaflattrack.com