AMA Flat Track
Chris Carr, one of motorcycle racing's greatest competitors, is currently celebrating more than a quarter-century's worth of outstanding AMA Pro Flat Track Racing with his 2011 "Chris Carr Farewell to Flat Track Tour."
Now halfway through his final season, Carr - contending thirty-five races in seventeen different states - took a break from his busy schedule to reflect on his career and future in this AMA Pro exclusive, which Carr will follow up with an appearance on SPEED TV's Wind Tunnel, hosted by Dave Despain at 9 p.m. EDT Sunday, July 17.
AMA: How's the Farewell Tour been going?
Chris Carr: The reception has been really good, in a couple of senses. We've been able to give something extra for the promoters to market and to help some fans rediscover flat track racing, [and] it's also been an opportunity for me to say goodbye to a lot of friends and fans who've supported me for many years. The tour itself consists of more than just the Grand National circuit; I'm doing a lot of Steve Nace All Star races and also some regional events around the country. It's been a lot of fun. We're about halfway though, and I look forward to the next four months of racing nearly every weekend in different parts of the country.
AMA: What does it mean to you to go back to some of the smaller tracks?
Chris Carr: There are so many other pockets of the country that have flat track racing, and to be able to go to many of those areas and have something to promote is meaningful to those flat track fans who aren't near some of the bigger tracks. In August, I'll be going back to the Rook's County Free Fair for two days of racing in Stockton, Kansas. That was one of the races I went to when I was 16 years old as a Pro Novice, cutting my teeth and trying to get some experience to prove myself as a racer. It's great to be going back there for the final time in August, and those are the kinds of events I've been wanting to do.
AMA: What other significant races are coming up?
Chris Carr: The upcoming Peoria TT was the site of my first Grand National dirt track victory in 1986. To race there for the final time will be kind of bittersweet; it will be hard in some respects, but it's going to be pretty cool in others. I've made a lot of friends there and have some real good local connections, too. We have the Sacramento Mile coming up -- my first Mile win was there in 1987, and being from Northern California means that's going to be a pretty special event. But the one race that stands out the most would be the Sacramento Mile in 1999. There were three races to go, and a young man had fallen and gotten hurt the week prior in Dallas, Texas. His name was Toby Jorgensen and our families had been close for some forty years. I had been with him in the hospital in Dallas until the Thursday before Sacramento. We flew out there, and then to win the race by a straightaway in the hometown with all the emotions of the week was pretty special.
AMA: Who have been your biggest flat track rivals over the years?
Chris Carr: My biggest rivalry was with my Harley-Davidson teammate Scott Parker. For a good fifteen-year period, he and I were going at it, but if you look at the Grand National Championship list, I've had the opportunity to race against every GNC champion dating back to 1975 with the exception of Mike Kidd. I've been very fortunate to share the racetrack with a lot of champions in the last twenty-six years.
AMA: You've been a great proponent of flat track racing over the years. Why did you take on that role?
Chris Carr: I always felt that there's no one individual who is bigger than the sport. I felt that if I did my part to elevate the sport to a bigger and better level, then I would benefit too. I've always tried to think of improving the sport overall because I knew in the end, if I continued to do my part as an athlete, it would pay off. That's just the way I always looked at it.
AMA: How long have you known Wind Tunnel host Dave Despain?
Chris Carr: I met Dave Despain in 1983 in Peoria. He was the flat track series announcer and I was 16 years old. I've known Dave for a long time, and I look forward to being in the Wind Tunnel studio on July 17 and having a good chat with him.