Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ Charlotte & Grand Rapids (Mich.) AX Notebook

AURORA, Ill., (Jan. 3, 2007 ) — For the first time in Toyota AMA Arenacross Series history, the series will split and host events in two different regions, both with points going toward the year end $100,000 bonus. Charlotte Bobcats Arena and Grand Rapids’ (Mich.) Van Andel Arena will play host to the nation’s top arenacross racers in what should prove to be four total evenings of equally exciting racing on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series circuit, beginning Jan. 5th.

Live Nation’s Robert Hansen, director of arenacross, figures the question on everybody’s mind as we head into the Jan. 5-7 weekend will be “Who’s going where?

A brief breakdown of the two events: It is more convenient for riders in the Midwest to make the short trek over to Van Andel Arena, compete in two nights of racing and earn the same points that a rider who lives in the southeast can earn by attending the Charlotte round. And at the end of the day, the points at each respective venue count toward the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series championship and $100,000 year-end bonus.

In addition, both venues will allow Lites class racers a chance for points for one of four regional No. 1 Toyota AMA Arenacross Lites class number plates. “Nobody really knows right now what is going to happen and who’s going where, said Hansen. “The split weekends — and we have four of them — will feature an ‘unknown factor’ where riders will take chances on making up points for the season-ending bonus or try and run for the cash at the higher payout events. Regardless, racing’s going to be great — as it has all season – at either venue.

So what are the teams going to do? Will there be a ‘cat & mouse’ approach to sending racers around the country in order to — hopefully — have them move up in the standings? As he previously stated, TUF Racing’s Dave Antolak thinks the latter looks to be the case. “I don’t think there’ll be any cat and mouse strategy, at least not with the top five guys, he said.

Still, Hansen says that may be the case for the teams. “So at the very least you would come out even racing an event closer to home, but quite possibly you’d for sure make up some points. There is no reward until the end, but I think fans will definitely see some of that strategy. And it’ll be fun to talk about as the split weekends get closer.

Last year’s results: Defending champion Chad Johnson started the ’06 portion of the season on a high note, winning the AMA Arenacross class on Friday night in Charlotte. But Johnson’s nemesis — Brock Sellards — bounced right back and won on Saturday. In the AMA Arenacross Lites division Shawn Clark and Cody Gilmore were the Friday and Saturday winners, respectively.

On top of the current standings in the AMA Toyota Arenacross Series is Team TUF Racing’s Danny Smith. The winner of the opening night’s AMA Arenacross class race in Des Moines (Iowa), Smith has tallied 123 points after six races (two each in Des Moines, Albany, N.Y. and Reno, Nev.). But right on his heels — and coming awfully fast — is the series’ defending champion, Wisconsin’s Chad Johnson (95 points). Also figure in Oklahoma’s Robbie Reynard, a true privateer and fan-favorite on the series tour, who’s one point behind Johnson.

Once, twice, three times a Johnson! If one Johnson (defending champ Chad) wasn’t enough, the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series features two more — the always entertaining brothers Keith and Kevin Johnson, both of whom have won main events this year and are tied for 4th place overall with 90 points each. And get this, Chad Johnson hasn’t even won a race yet! Said Kevin, who went 2-2 at Charlotte last year: “I did pretty well at Charlotte last year. I hope to improve upon that this year. So an all-Johnson podium is certainly not out of the question.

Look for floor announcer Ashley Phillips to begin to take a more active role in helping AX announcer Tim Cotter with telling the evening’s story. Ashleyy is no stranger to the racers and strategies involved with Toyota AMA Arenacross Series and will begin, in Charlotte, to play a more active role with describing the goings on to the fans.

Tickets are available online at www.arenacross.com, www.ticketmaster.com, www.tickets.com. For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to www.arenacross.com.

About Toyota AMA Arenacross Series
In its 23rd year, the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series, owned by Live Nation, is the premier indoor motocross series in the U.S. playing to sold-out arenas nationwide. Information on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series events may be found at www.arenacross.com. Live Nation is the world’s leading live entertainment company, annually connecting more than 67 million fans with their favorite performers at over 33,000 events. We are the largest producer of live concerts in the world, the second-largest venue management company and have a rapidly growing online presence. Live Nation creates superior experiences for artists and fans, regularly producing tours for the biggest superstars in the business, including The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2 and Coldplay. Globally, we own, operate and/or have booking rights for more than 170 venues, including House of Blues-branded music venues and prestigious locations such as San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium, Nikon at Jones Beach in New York and London’s Apollo Theatre and Wembley Arena. Live Nation’s websites collectively are the second most popular entertainment event websites in the United States, according to Nielsen//NetRatings. Headquartered in Los Angeles, California, Live Nation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under the symbol “LYV. For more information regarding concerts near you, Live Nation and its businesses, please visit our website at www.livenation.com.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship presented by FMF, the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com. Accredited media outlets can also access AMA Pro Racing’s online Press Room at www.amaproracing.com/pressroom.

About HPPR
High Profile Public Relations, LLC is a multi-faceted communications agency specializing in strategic media relations — both industry and mainstream — for the powersports and action sports communities. Dialed in with all forms of power and action sports, its participants, manufacturers and live event promoters, HPPR’s Pat Schutte can be reached at (734) 369-2170 and pat@highprofilepr.com. For more information, please visit www.highprofilepr.com.