Cal Expo Clash: Springsteen vs. Carr at the 2014 Sacramento Mile

Two Flat Track Legends to Meet in Friendly Showdown

SACRAMENTO, CA (June 26, 2014) – AMA Grand National legends Jay Springsteen and Chris Carr will be honored as living legends at the upcoming Sacramento Mile on Saturday, July 26. Fans will not only get a chance to meet two of racing’s superstars during the evening’s festivities, but the night will be highlighted by a friendly one-on-one Shootout Exhibition ride on the Mile between the Hall of Famers.

Jay Springsteen

Jay Springsteen

Jay Springsteen is considered one of the best AMA Grand National flat-track racers of all time. Bursting onto the scene and earning the AMA Rookie of the Year Award in 1975, Springsteen won three consecutive AMA Grand National Championships starting in 1976. In 1982 he became the first rider to reach 30 wins in AMA Grand National competition – a feat he accomplished at the Sacramento Mile.

“Springer,” as his faithful fans call him, compiled one of the longest and most impressive racing careers in AMA Grand National history, spanning from his 1975 rookie season to 2003, when he announced his retirement from full-time competition. Springsteen was a factory rider with Harley-Davidson for much of his career and was perhaps the racer most closely associated with the American brand from the 1970s through the 2000s. In all he raced in a record 398 AMA nationals, winning a total of 43. Over the years Springsteen became the most beloved rider in the series.

California’s own Chris Carr was the dominant rider in the AMA Grand National Championship during the early 2000s. The native of Stockton won seven national championships and retired second on the AMA Grand National all-time wins list with 78. He rode for Harley-Davidson as a factory rider for much of his early career, but gained the majority of his success as a private team owner. He was also one of the few riders in his era of Grand National racing to attract major corporate sponsorship, being backed by Ford Motor Company. Carr considered the Sacramento Mile his home race and he is one of the most successful riders ever in the classic event. He won a total of nine Grand Nationals in Sacramento, his first coming in 1987 and his final win there coming in 1999.

One of the most versatile motorcycle racers in history, Carr also raced AMA Superbikes as a factory Harley-Davidson rider and gave Harley its first and only AMA Superbike pole in 1996, when he qualified fastest for the Pomona (Calif.) AMA Superbike National in 1996. Ten years later, in 2006, Carr added another chapter to his impressive resume when he became the fastest man on two wheels by setting a motorcycle land speed record of 350.884 mph piloting Denis Manning’s BUB Enterprises streamliner at the AMA/FIM International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Chris Carr

Chris Carr

“We’re thrilled to be able to honor two of the biggest legends AMA Grand National racing has ever known,” said Steve McLaughlin, of SMI, the group promoting the event. “I’ve been a friend and admirer of Jay’s since he came on the scene in the mid-1970s, and of course Chris, having grown up racing on the tracks all around Northern California, he’s one of Sacramento area’s favorite sons. It’s great to have both of them a part of this year’s festivities at the Sacramento Mile.”

The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour and this year’s race at Cal Expo is the only Grand National Mile in the West. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle World Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden. Visit www.sactomile.com to keep up with all the latest on the event.

Practice for the Sacramento Mile begins at on Saturday, July 26 at 2:15 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kicks off at 6:15 p.m.

Visit us at: http://sactomile.com/
Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SactoMile
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sactomile
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sactomile

*** 2014 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the July 26, 2014 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.

Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/c84136, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453) or by visiting the Cal Expo Ticket Box Office in the Administration Building at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at any ticket window during the 2014 California State Fair.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.

In Search of Sacred Dirt

Legend has it that if you knew just where to look, you could still find a tiny remnant of the old Sacramento Mile – the track at the old State Fairgrounds that hosted the historic race until 1970, the year when Gene Romero clinched the 1970 AMA Grand National Championship with a victory on his Triumph. The same track that first hosted a national motorcycle race 100 years ago, when Bob Perry rode an Excelsior to the FAM 5-Mile National Championship. The track where later legends like Carroll Resweber, Joe Leonard, Bart Markel and Gary Nixon were all victorious.

This was sacred dirt, and if it actually existed I had to find it.

An aerial photo from 1930 of the old Sacramento Mile, which first hosted an FAM National in 1914 and then held AMA Grand Nationals until 1970. (Sacramento Room Photograph Collection)

An aerial photo from 1930 of the old Sacramento Mile, which first hosted an FAM National in 1914 and then held AMA Grand Nationals until 1970. (Sacramento Room Photograph Collection)

The only problem was that even though a few people had heard about the small section of the old track still existing, no one really could tell me how to find it.

It didn’t take a lot of research to find out where the old State Fairgrounds were located (the main entrance was at the intersection of Stockton Blvd. and Broadway). I’ve found old tracks like this before. It’s a bit of the crazy hobby of mine. I figured a quick look on Google Earth and I would be able to make out in some shape or form the outline of the old mile.

On the satellite view a few blocks east of Stockton off Broadway I saw something that looked like it could have been the outline of an old race track, but it certainly didn’t look like it was large enough to be a mile. I drove there to check it out and in between 49th and 50th Streets just north of Broadway there was something that looked like an old dirt track, banking and all. But again, it appeared much too short for a mile. And I don’t think they ever banked the turns of horse tracks, at least not to this degree.

Something wasn’t adding up. I needed more information.

So off to the Sacramento Public Library I went to see if I could find a map, diagram or aerial shots of the old fairgrounds. With the help of a research librarian it didn’t take long before I had a 1930s era State Fair Program in my hand, with a complete map showing the layout of the fairgrounds. Right there smack dab in the center of it all was the mile oval, and just as I’d thought, the banked dirt I’d seen between 49th & 50th wasn’t in the right place to actually be part of the old track.

See Y St. just to the left of center on this Google Maps satellite view? The dirt where that vehicle is parked just to the right of Y Street in the UC Davis medical complex was part of the old Sacramento Mile, the main straight just about at the start-finish line. Since this image was taking the forgotten little spot of sacred racing dirt has been converted into a green space with grass, picnic tables and benches. (Google Maps)

See Y St. just to the left of center on this Google Maps satellite view? The dirt where that vehicle is parked just to the right of Y Street in the UC Davis medical complex was part of the old Sacramento Mile, the main straight just about at the start-finish line. Since this image was taking the forgotten little spot of sacred racing dirt has been converted into a green space with grass, picnic tables and benches. (Google Maps)

I quickly discovered why it had been so hard to get a mental picture of where the old track would be looking from satellite views. It seems when the state acquired the property for the fairgrounds in the 1850s it wasn’t quite large enough to fit a traditional mile horse racing track inside if you ran parallel with the surrounding streets. So they simply built the track on a diagonal angle to make it fit. As a result, at the old Sacramento Mile you were actually heading southeast going down the front straightaway and then pointing in a northwesterly direction on the back straight.

With the fairgrounds diagram in hand I simply brought up Google Earth in the library, matched it to the size of the 1930s fairgrounds map and overlaid the map on top of the computer monitor, followed the outline of the track around and bam! There it was… clear as a bell. A small portion of the front straight could clearly be seen on the satellite view. I now knew exactly where to go to find this piece of sacred racing soil. It was smack dab in the middle of what is now the UC Davis Health System complex, tucked away in a forgotten little parcel of land behind the Education Building that somehow escaped development for nearly a half a century.

Marked on my GPS, I was off, excited at the possibility of seeing the final vestiges of historic dirt that was last raced on 44 years ago.

When I arrived I looked on the GPS and saw I was in the right place. I walked around following my dot on the little GPS screen. This is the spot, but wait… there’s no dirt! What happened? I could make out a diagonal parcel of land and even the grass was cut in the direction of the old track, but the dirt was gone, covered over by a recent addition of a green space in the once forgotten little parcel of land. Now instead of 100 year old, tradition rich Sacramento Mile dirt at my feet, there was grass, a few shade trees, park benches and picnic tables.

A view today looking down what was the front straight of the old Sacramento Mile. (Photo by Larry Lawrence)

A view today looking down what was the front straight of the old Sacramento Mile. (Photo by Larry Lawrence)

I was standing on the very center of what once was the start-finish line of the old Sacramento Mile, but alas I was a year or so too late to see the actual dirt racing surface on which Perry, Leonard, Resweber, Leonard, Romero and other legends once raced.

I snapped a few photos, sent a copy to Gene Romero, the last to ever win on that old track. He too wanted to see what the place looked like to today.

My search for Sacramento’s sacred old dirt turned up empty, but simply standing on what once was the front straightaway of the old track made me feel like I had at least some small connection to the history of the place. – Larry Lawrence

Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento will once again be the Official Host Hotel for the 2016 Sacramento Mile AMA Pro Grand National event

Red Lion Woodlake Sacramento Named Official Hotel of the Sacramento Mile

Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento has been named Official Hotel for the 2014 Sacramento Mile AMA Grand National event on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The hotel will offer special rates to racing teams, riders, their families and friends.

Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento has been named Official Hotel for the 2014 Sacramento Mile AMA Grand National event on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The hotel will offer special rates to racing teams, riders, their families and friends.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 17, 2014) – Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento has been named Official Hotel for the 2014 Sacramento Mile AMA Grand National event on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The hotel will offer special rates to racing teams, riders, their families and friends.

The 49th running of the Sacramento Mile will draw the nation’s top flat track riders and teams from across the country and the Woodlake Hotel Sacramento provides excellent accommodations for those attending the race.

This is the fourth straight year Woodlake Hotel Sacramento has served as Official Hotel for the Sacramento Mile. The special event rate is $79.00 single/double occupancy ($89.00 triple $99.00 quad).

To take advantage of the special Sacramento Mile rate use the promotion code “AMAP0724” when making reservations. To ensure confirmation of the limited Sacramento Mile event rate reservations should be made by June 26th (30 days prior to event). To make a reservation visit http://www.redlion.com/our-hotels/california/woodlake-sacramento/ or call (916) 922-2020 ext. 0.

“Red Lion Woodlake Hotel Sacramento is proud to be the official hotel for the Sacramento Mile,” said General Manager Janet Berger. “Our location is ideal, less than five minutes from Cal Expo. We are looking forward to welcoming riders, teams and their families from all parts of the country.”

The Woodlake Hotel Sacramento features the finest accommodations in a luxury setting. Located just 1.5 miles from Cal Expo it offers guests the finest in service and comfort.

Parking at the hotel is complimentary, including race team rigs. Pets are welcome for a fee of $15.00 per stay. Red Lion welcomes service animals. The pet fee is waived for our service animal companions.

Enjoy the hotel’s Roaring Start Breakfast served daily from 6:30 A.M. – 10:30 A.M. Enjoy lunch and dinner in the Lakeside Bar & Grille or a late night lakefront spot at the Lakeside Bar that overlooks the spectacular 50 ft. fountain. Stop by JavaCoast throughout the day for a cup of coffee and freshly baked pastries, desserts, sandwiches and salads.

The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s Motorcycle Grand Prix Champions such as Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden.

Practice for the Sacramento Mile begins at on Saturday, July 26 at 2:15 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kicks off at 6:15 p.m.

Visit us at: http://sactomile.com/
Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SactoMile
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sactomile
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sactomile

*** 2014 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the July 26, 2014 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.

Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/c84136, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453) or by visiting the Cal Expo Ticket Box Office beginning June 23rd, in the Administration Building at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at any ticket window during the 2014 California State Fair.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.

Shayna Texter Eyes 2014 Sacramento Mile

Rookie Expert Calls Cal Expo Track One of Her Favorites

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (June 12, 2014) – The race is still a month-and-a-half away, but it’s easy to understand why Shayna Texter, the 23-year-old factory Triumph rider from Willow Street, Pennsylvania, has July 26th circled on her calendar. That’s when the AMA Pro Grand National Championship comes to Cal Expo and the historic Sacramento Mile. Texter comes into this year’s event with the confidence of having won the Grand National support class (Pro Singles) the last two years and she’s hoping her success at Cal Expo carries over now that she’s made the step up to the premier Grand National Championship.

Shayna Texter not only faces the challenge of being an AMA Grand National rookie, but she’s learning to race a new motorcycle in the Latus Racing/Castrol Triumph.

Shayna Texter not only faces the challenge of being an AMA Grand National rookie, but she’s learning to race a new motorcycle in the Latus Racing/Castrol Triumph.

Never before has a female rider entered the AMA Grand Nationals with the kind of credentials Texter boasts. Texter scored eight support-class wins over the last three years, before stepping up to the Grand National level this season. In spite of being a rookie and racing an unproven Triumph motorcycle, a lot is expected of Texter, especially on the big tracks like Sacramento.

Some point to Texter’s diminutive stature (5’ 0”, 95 lbs.) as one of the reasons she’s been so successful on the Miles, but make no mistake about it, ask any of Texter’s competitors and they’ll readily acknowledge that her excellent riding technique and racing strategy are the main drivers of her success.

“Shayna is a smart racer,” says fellow pro Briar Bauman, of Salinas, California. “She’s one of the best at setting up other riders for passes. Most people think she has her biggest advantage with strong drives out of turns, but if you watch her closely she’s actually one of the best at making up time diving into turns with really good speed.”

She gets her race savvy honestly. Texter comes from a racing family. Both her father and grandfather were motorcycle racers, as is her older brother Cory.

In 2013, Texter won two AMA Pro Singles main event victories (Sacramento and Indianapolis), swept the two Basic twins main events at Springfield (Ill.), and finished fourth in the Pro Singles Championship. In 2012, she won three AMA Pro Singles main events (Sacramento, Knoxville and Tucson) en route to finishing fifth in the championship. And in 2011, Texter won the Pro Singles main event at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway to become the first female to win an AMA Pro Singles National.

Texter faces challenges on multiple fronts this season. Not only is she racing in the Grand National class for the first time, but she’s trying to develop the Latus Motors Racing/Castrol Triumph. At the Memorial Day weekend Springfield (Ill.) Mile, where she debuted on the Triumph, Texter and her team ran into an issue where the bike would get into a high-speed wobble at the end of the straightaways. Texter bravely tried every trick she knew to get the bike to settle down so she could qualify for her first Grand National main event, but ultimately the bike went into such a violent wobble that it nearly threw her off in a qualifying race. She wisely decided to back off the throttle.

Shayna Texter has been used to winning in the Pro Singles support class, but she acknowledges her goals are a bit more modest this year in the premier AMA Grand National class.

Shayna Texter has been used to winning in the Pro Singles support class, but she acknowledges her goals are a bit more modest this year in the premier AMA Grand National class.

There are four nationals upcoming before the Sacramento Mile, including Knoxville, Iowa, this Sunday, so Texter is hoping the team can figure out the handling issues she experienced at Springfield and qualify for her first AMA Grand National, but in spite of what may transpire in the coming weeks Texter says she can hardly wait for the series to roll into Sacramento.

“I’ve had a lot of success at the Sacramento Mile,” Texter said. “I was able to get two wins there and the time before that I was up on the box in third place. So Sacramento is really special to me and it’s one of the special events on the circuit. It’s awesome to race on a track that has so much history in our sport and it’s great to see that it’s back on the schedule this year.”

Texter feels the one-mile dirt oval at Cal Expo suits her style.

“One of the things with me is if I have traction I’m good to go,” she says. “For some reason the Sacramento Mile just comes easy to me. We always seem to have the bike setup great and it really fits my riding style. I seem to be able to finesse my bike there and it’s one of those places where it just clicks.”

While Texter is used to winning at the track, she acknowledges her goals are slightly more modest now that she’s in the Grand National class.

“Realistically I’m not out there fighting for wins this year,” she admits. “Of course every time you come to the track that’s your ultimate goal, but I’m going to be out there fighting for the Rookie of the Year this season. That’s my main goal. It would be huge for me to be the first female to win Rookie of the Year and in order to do that you need to make mains and be consistent. So that’s our goal this year to go out and be consistent and try to win that award.”

The AMA Pro Grand National Championship series Texter competes in is one of the longest running motorcycle racing championships in the world. On the long straights of the Sacramento Mile top speeds can reach 130 miles per hour. Flat track racing has produced many of America’s elite motorcycle racing athletes, such as World Champions Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Kenny Roberts, Jr. and Nicky Hayden.

Practice for the Sacramento Mile begins at on Saturday, July 26 at 2:15 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kicks off at 6:15 p.m.

Visit us at: http://sactomile.com/
Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SactoMile
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sactomile
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sactomile

*** 2014 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the July 26, 2014 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.

Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/c84136, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453) or by visiting the Cal Expo Ticket Box Office beginning June 23rd, in the Administration Building at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at any ticket window during the 2014 California State Fair.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.

Smith leads Springfield Mile

Bryan Smith Wins Springfield Mile AMA Grand National

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Takes Points Lead

Bryan Smith, of Flint, Mich., won the AMA Grand National in Springfield, Illinois, Sunday. Here Smith, riding a Kawasaki, leads Harley-Davidson mounted Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (No. 2), of Morris, Conn., and Jared Mees (No. 9), of Clio, Mich., coming out of turn four on the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Coolbeth and Mees finished second and third respectively. The AMA Grand National Championship comes to Cal Expo on July 26, 2014. Smith is a three-time winner on the Sacramento Mile. (Photo by Larry Lawrence)

Bryan Smith, of Flint, Mich., won the AMA Grand National in Springfield, Illinois, Sunday. Here Smith, riding a Kawasaki, leads Harley-Davidson mounted Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (No. 2), of Morris, Conn., and Jared Mees (No. 9), of Clio, Mich., coming out of turn four on the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Coolbeth and Mees finished second and third respectively. The AMA Grand National Championship comes to Cal Expo on July 26, 2014. Smith is a three-time winner on the Sacramento Mile. (Photo by Larry Lawrence)

(May 27, 2014) — Bryan Smith, of Flint, Michigan, racing a newly-built Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki, outraced Harley-Davidson riders Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and Jared Mees to win Sunday’s Memorial Day weekend Springfield Mile. It marked Smith’s first win of the season and moved him to fifth in the AMA Grand National Championship standings.

In a race that was stopped multiple times for red flags after crashes, and once for a malfunctioning starting light, it came down to a five-lap restart that saw four riders breakaway in the closing laps.

In the end it was Smith holding tight lines through the final turns and holding off the drafting moves of rivals Coolbeth and Mees at the finish line. Jake Johnson was a close fourth on a Ducati. Defending series champ Brad Baker, still recovering from a badly broken arm, rounded out the top five in his debut with the factory Harley-Davidson team.

“I was just trying to keep my lines tight on that last lap to keep anyone from coming underneath me,” said Smith. “I saw Kenny (Coolbeth) coming up, but I was able to gas it up and hold him off.

“I couldn’t ask for a better day,” Smith continued. “It’s been one heck of an effort by my team getting this motorcycle ready for this race and I can’t thank them enough. There are a lot of the same features on my bike this year but it’s also very different than last year’s at the same time. I’m very excited about this win and I’m excited for what the future holds for the rest of the season.”

The race was red flagged twice for two separate crashes by Salinas, California’s Steve Bonsey and once when Mickey Martin, of Acampo, Calif., fell. Both riders were up and OK after their crashes. On one of the restarts the starting light failed. That brought out yet another stop to the race.

Smith controlled most of the main, leading 20 of the 25 laps. Johnson led four laps on the Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Ducati Hypermotard 1100 and Coolbeth led a single lap on his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.

Coolbeth, who was riding with a broken thumb from a motocross training accident, leaves Springfield in the series lead. He’s up by two points over Johnson (53-51). Sammy Halbert, who dropped out of Springfield early with bike problems, and Brandon Robinson, who was seventh today, are now tied for third in the standings with 43 points.

The top finishing rider from California at Springfield was Briar Bauman, of Salinas, who finished ninth out of the 18 starters riding a Werner/Monster Energy Kawasaki.

The series next heads to Knoxville, Iowa for the Knoxville Half Mile at Knoxville Raceway on June 15, 2014.

The series comes to Cal Expo and the Sacramento Mile on July 26, 2014. Smith is riding a three-year winning streak at Sacramento.

Visit us at: http://sactomile.com/ Via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SactoMile Twitter: https://twitter.com/sactomile YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/sactomile

*** 2014 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the July 26, 2014 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.

Fans can order tickets online  at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/c84136, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453) or by visiting the Cal Expo Ticket Box Office beginning June 23rd in the Administration Building at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at any ticket window during the 2014 California State Fair.

Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at boxoffice@calexpo.com for more information.