Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ Notebook

AURORA, Ill., (Feb. 15, 2007) — The 2006-’07 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series comes to a boil this Friday and Saturday at Nashville’s (Tenn.) Municipal Auditorium with a championship battle between Idaho native TUF/Cernic’s/Honda’s Danny Smith and the racer dubbed the “War Horse, Oklahoma’s Robbie Reynard (Reynard Modifications/Honda).

As it stands, Smith carries a 19-point lead into Nashville. A fairly solid lead in most racing series, fans of Toyota AMA Arenacross know that one slight mistake, lapse in judgment, forgotten on/off fuel valve, Tuf Block cover in your rear sprocket, some sort of vapor lock and the scales sway hugely in favor of the other rider.

So in addition to the Smith/Reynard battle at Municipal Auditorium, shooting for that prestigious third and final spot on the overall podium with be Team Faith/Yamaha’s Kevin Johnson and his brother Keith Johnson (Bobby J’s/Yamaha). In fact, history will be made in Nashville as for the first time ever two brothers are in contention for an overall podium spot in a major motocross series. Kevin and brother Keith will certainly provide a highly interesting sidebar to the racing going on between Smith and Reynard for the overall championship.

“It’s the final round but the riders and teams seem real relaxed, said Toyota AMA Arenacross Series announcer Tim Cotter. “The atmosphere is exciting and all the riders seems to be getting along real well. Now that could all change once the first gate drops in Nashville, mind you. Fans here in Tennessee are in for a great weekend of racing!

Press Day at Nashville will prove to be a pretty exciting affair as a good portion of the top pros will mix with some local A-class racers to give the area media an advance look at the action in store for Tennessee arenacross fans this weekend. Helping out on the local end will be Buddy Brooks (Elizabethtown, Ky.), Corey Gatz (Nashville) and Shane O’Banion (Bowling Green, Ky.). And event sponsor, Sloan’s Motorcycle Supercenter, is bringing a local ace FMX jumper to add a bit of flair to the pre-race media event.

The season-ending banquet for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series will be held at the Wild Horse Saloon in downtown Nashville. And providing the evening’s entertainment for the event? That would be none other than the Blair Brothers – Vincent and Daniel and their rock band The Main Event. “We’re delivering the entire package to the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series this year, said Daniel Blair. “We’ll boot up and give ‘er heck in the qualifiers and main, then pack it in and hit the banquet to jam some more! The Blairs ride for team Eternal Industries.

So what was the turning point of the season that allowed Smith to take the lead? First off, if Reynard had qualified for the opening night’s program in Des Moines, there’d most likely be a four point difference heading into Nashville instead of 19. Although Director of Arenacross, Robert Hansen, sees it a bit differently: “The turning point had to be when Chad Johnson (Junior Jackson Racing/Suzuki) got injured. He (Chad Johnson) was coming on very strong. Not to take anything away from Reynard, but if Chad was in there it’d be a three horse race right now — especially if Chad kept winning. Charlotte was where he got hurt, and he rode hurt for a while until it just bit him.

What’s Reynard doing after Toyota AMA Arenacross? This just in from his sister, Cherie. “Robbie will still be riding on his own team and will be heading to Atlanta after this weekend for the start of his supercross season. He’s just hoping he can carry the momentum from arenacross to supercross and pick up a few sponsors to help cover the expenses.

Bit of discussion this week regarding Danny Smith’s decision to race the Wheeling (W.Va.) round versus the Saginaw (Mich.) round where Robbie Reynard was racing. And though everybody has their own opinion on the issue, the bottom line is no rules were broken and Smith has a 19-int lead with one weekend remaining. This from TUF Racing team owner Dave Antolak, Smith’s boss: “Everyone should keep in mind that there were eight previous rounds and both Danny and Robbie were at the same events. There is a lot of money involved and I believed we made the best decision for Danny and the team (in racing Wheeling vs. Saginaw). Anyway next week everyone will be in Nashville for the final and the racing should be great. And said Tim Cotter: “I’m not so sure the results would have been any different. Robbie only gained four points. But it’s certainly still possible for Robbie to win.

Big thanks to OMA! The Ohio MX Arena (www.ohiomotocrossarena.com) in Anna, Ohio, (40 miles north of Dayton) stepped up and helped out Pam and “Dirt Bike Mike Lambert this week when they got snowed in en-route to Nashville from Michigan. OMA owner Jason Waters put the Lamberts and the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ motor home and trailer full of stuff that makes the event happen up at his track, let Dirt Bike Mike’s riders practice indoors and even got his skid steer out and plowed a path for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series rig to get back on I-75 south. Thanks again, Jason, for helping out!

More on Municipal Auditorium: This from Dixie Carroll with the building’s marketing department: “The capacity of the building is 9,682, but for Toyota AMA Arenacross we’ll hold just a little over 7,000. In addition to concerts we host family shows, conferences, ice shows, motorsports, expos, etc… The building was built in 1962 and we are currently in our 45th year. The concert list is very deep as we’ve had everybody from Elvis to the Rolling Stones perform here. We also have a lot of information on our website, www.nashvilleauditorium.com

Tyler Bowers in Nashville? The rising 15-year-old arenacross star will be eligible to race the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ final round in Nashville. AMA rules state that pro riders need to be 16 years old in order to obtain a pro license. But Harv Whipple, the AMA official for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series said that since the series is sanctioned through AMA Sport, 14 is the minimum age which means Bowers is good to go!

Did you know that top AMA Arenacross Lites class racer Cory Green, who travels with Reynard, was two years old when Reynard won the 1993 arenacross championship?

Toyota AMA Arenacross Series’ Albany (N.Y.) round will air on SPEED Channel this weekend, Feb. 18th, at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. (EST), then re-airing at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. that night.

One last thing…A few hints from Hansen on what to expect for the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series next year and beyond: “The sport will continue to evolve for the next three or four years. We want to get the riders more involved with the crowds in the cities we go to, like the relating to the No. 3 Kevin Johnson bike. We want racers like Kevin to be the stars on the Toyota AMA Arenacross Series tour. So in the future you’ll be seeing more rider involvement directly with the fans. With other things, like new rules, new venues and such — we’re a work in motion right now. We’re looking to progress every year. We’ll look at what’s positive, what’s negative and we’ll make those adjustments and continue to move forward.

For more information regarding the racing coming to Nashville this weekend, the current series’ point standings and results, or the latest news on the series are all available at www.arenacross.com.

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 National 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.arenacrossonline.com. Live Nation is the world’s leading live music 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, Barbra Streisand, 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 Hammersmith Apollo 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 Toyota 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 presented by Parts Unlimited. 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.

ta AMA Arenacross Series
In its 23rd year, the Toyota AMA National 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.arenacrossonline.com. Live Nation is the world’s leading live music 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, Barbra Streisand, 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 Hammersmith Apollo 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 Toyota 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 presented by Parts Unlimited. 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.