Vicki’s View

 

Vicki Smith Photo

Vicki Smith Photo

Two Words – Come. Early.

American Flat Track racing, a 90 year old sport often described as the first “extreme sport” is coming to the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex next weekend to The Dirt Track at Charlotte and it’s not going to look like any flat track race you have ever seen.

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Johnny Lewis (#10) come up thru the pack (Vicki Smith Photo)

AFT events, the brand new in-house event promotion company of AMA Pro Racing is coming out of the box swinging with the intention of seriously raising the bar on what this brand of racing looks like and how a fan spends their day at the races.

Here are eight must do things at next weekend’s races:

Take a new Harley Davidson for a spin. The Carolina Harley Davidson Dealer Association is the title sponsor and on Friday and Saturday from 10am – 4pm anyone 18 or older with a desire to check out this iconic brand can sign up and take a ride.  Don’t know how to ride?  Talk to them anyway, they have a new rider program that is available Friday and Saturday as well. (free, no ticket required)

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Drive a real race simulator and try and beat the lap time of the International Motor Sports Association’s championship leading team driver, Dane Cameron. This isn’t some video game, these are the big bucks’ simulators actually used by the world’s top race drivers, but this weekend they are going to let mere mortals take a spin.  Even if you don’t win the time challenge, just getting to try out a piece of equipment of this caliber makes you the winner.  While you are there, take advantage of the unusual close up fan access and make sure you get a good look at the Action Express Racing Team – again, not something many people can normally do. (free, no ticket required)

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Enjoy some live music. And not some local garage band either – the CHDDA Charlotte Half-Mile has lined up a North Carolina favorite. Burlington’s Drew Foust & the Slim Pickins. If you have an ear for Blues, Folk, Roots-Rock or Americana they put on a memorable show.  (free, no ticket required)   Prefer a hopping DJ mix?  No problem. In addition to the concert, top sporting event DJ Scott Beaty will be playing music inside the stadium beginning at 2:00 p.m. Beaty has performed at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the last 25 years, as well as other major sporting events such as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, NBA All-Star Weekend and several others. (ticket required) Like we said, there’s a LOT going on.charlotte schedule

Picnic! Take a stroll and check out the food choices. If you are looking for a paper thin burger with a stale bun you are going to be disappointed. This event has foodies on staff and they aren’t serving anything they wouldn’t line up to eat themselves. Housemade ice cream, Wonuts (you NEED to try this, it’s a fried waffle with donut toppings and it’s the latest foodie craze), BBQ, Veggie grilled cheese sammies, there’s even a Nathan’s hot dog stand in the Kid’s Zone. Maybe two more words – Come. Hungry. (Food trucks are located both inside and outside the venue so access to some of these requires an admission ticket, these are $29 at the door but can be found discounted 2 for 1 at Speedway Harley Davidson this weekend while supplies last)

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Fans Zone/Kids Zone – So much is going on in the Fan Zone and the Kids Zone within it that it’s more than we can list here (and it’s all free). For adults Indian Motorcycles is coming with it’s impressive lineup, Greenville’s Dudley High School’s national award winning AVT Team will be on hand to display it’s Shell Eco-Marathon winning alternative fuel vehicles, there are minimotos and scooters, more motorcycle displays and the full range of the new AFT apparel line which debuts at the Charlotte Half Mile. The Kids Zone has an inflatable slide, rock climbing wall, and an obstacle course.  Kid’s 13 and under are free into the race with an accompanying adult.

Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo

Dunlop Fan Walk – Ever seen a Flat Track bike up close? Handbuilt frames, no front brakes, and every team has it’s own ideas how to make the magic happen for the rider.  These machines are hard to be fast on, riding them well is a special skill that takes years to master. And the riders are to motorcycle racing like the Special Ops guys are in the military.  Everybody, even the big bucks GP riders know these guys are fearless and skilled on a different level.  (access requires an event ticket)

Kenny Coolbeth Jr. on the Zanotti Harley-Davidson (Vicki Smith Photo)

Stunt Show! BMW factory Rider (and champion freestyler) Chris “Teach” McNeil, fresh off an appearance at World Superbike at Laguna Seca in California will be at the Charlotte Half Mile wowing the crowds with his impressive array of gravity defying stunts. He also teaches Latin. Really. “Ipse est Infigo!” (That’s “He is impressive” in Latin)

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Chris “Teach” McNeil

The Racing – American Flat Track racing is the original extreme sport. It’s been around over 90 years and right now it’s hotter than ever. Rapidly gaining worldwide popularity, it’s a pure test of man and machine. The Charlotte Half-Mile on The Dirt Track at Charlotte is well known for producing close contests and great racing. And, there’s not a bad seat in the house, so last minute or well in advance, as long as there are still seats you can catch some of the wildest racing you will ever see regardless of the number of wheels. (Tickets start at $29 and are available at the gate)

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The Dirt Track at Charlotte is located at 5555 Concord Parkway South in Concord, NC in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Complex.  Tickets can be purchased on site in front of the Dirt Track

Tickets are available on line here: http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/ama_pro_flat_track_charlotte_half_mile/   IMG_3914

 

AMA Pro Flat Track Circuit of the Americas, Austin Texas, April 9 2016

Regis Lefebure Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Come for the Party, Stay for the race…

Never has a catchphrase been so true as it will be at the upcoming CHDDA Charlotte Half-Mile, on Saturday, July 30. With only a couple weeks left to put your trip to the races together here are the details you need to end the summer with a memorable vacation. Sure the racing on Saturday night is spectacular but with so much going on, coming in early and making it a weekend is a great way to up the fun. These guys are stepping it up and I know because I am helping them, (I, finally put my love of Flat Track to practical use!)  Parties, race-fan base camp hotel discounts and rider appearances are all a part of a weekend that’s both wallet-, fan- and family-friendly ($29 tickets and kids are free!). Want to embrace the weekend? Love it when trip planning is easy-peasy? You’re welcome.

Race Tickets:

The fast moving Charlotte Half-Mile has three ticket options that should fit everybody’s wallets. Kids up to age 13 get in free with an accompanying adult, and tickets start at just $29.00 for trackside grandstand seating and a 30-minute access to the Dunlop Fan Walk which lets you and your friends beat check out the bikes, riders and teams up close. Prefer the VIP treatment? Check out the suite package for $130.00 that includes food and drinks, parking and an air conditioned skybox view.

Buy Your Tickets HERE  Oh, and a little advice, Flat Track racing has gained worldwide popularity and races have been selling out fast, so wait to buy your tickets at the gate and you might get (literally) left out! 

Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Flat Track Base Camp Hotels: The Charlotte Half-Mile, being held at The Dirt Track at Charlotte is a part of the world-class Charlotte Motor Speedway complex in Concord, N.C. so hotels are close. Five minutes will get you from the track to any of these specially-discounted race fan hotels:

Host Hotels Information:

Comfort Suites                         Sleep Inn and Suites                Wingate by Wyndham

Camping:

If you and the family are traveling cross-country, check out the full-service RV campground at the Camping World Racing Resort. This facility is next door to the Charlotte Motor Speedway and suits campers that are 20 x 50 ft. and 30 x 50 ft. in size. Nightly rates are $30.00 and $50.00 depending on size and come with various amenities that can be found at http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/ama_pro_flat_track_charlotte_half_mile/.

At the Track:

  • Friday and Saturday July 29/30 10am – 4pm: Free Harley Davidson Demo Rides (18 years or older, requires DOT helmet, eye protection, long pants, closed-toe shoes) 17 models on hand including a trike
  • Saturday July 30th 2:00 – 9:30:
  • Fan Zone – Stunt Show, Mini Moto Demos, Motorcycle Manufacturer Displays, Harley Davidson Heritage Motorcycle Exhibit, Live Music, Vendors, Monster Trucks, Prototype Sports Car Team display, Food Trucks, Beer Vendors
  • Kids Zone: 2-6pm (Kids under 13 free with accompanying adult) Bounce Houses, Rock Climbing Wall, Obstacle Course, Nathans Hot Dogs, Kids Ice Cream
  • Inside the track: Music by well-known sporting event DJ Scott Beaty, Paddock access from 2-5:30 ($10) or from 5pm – 5:30 (free), Fireworks display, and, of course, some of the greatest racing you will ever see!
Andrea Wilson Photo

Andrea Wilson Photo Courtesy of AMA Pro Flat Track

Family Fun:

The July 30th weekend wraps up most peoples’ Summer vacation and Charlotte has some really excellent choices to beat the heat. The Carowinds Water Park, US National Whitewater Center and beautiful Lake Norman are all great choices for getting wet or just dipping a toe.Not a water fan? Take a walk or bike ride through Freedom Park or maybe catch a free concert while enjoying the LED lights and the city skyline from Romare Bearden Park, right in the heart of Downtown Charlotte.

Side Trips for Gear Heads: Everybody knows Charlotte, N.C. is a gear head paradise. The town has a baseline culture built around racing and if you are like us, race shop tours and the world-class NASCAR Hall of Fame are a great way to spend a day. Here are a few state-of-the-art options that will impress even the most traveled race fan:

Parties, Bike Nights and Racer Appearances: The Charlotte Half-Mile has been embraced by the local community and the list of fun things to do the nights before is ever-growing (look for updates closer to the race weekend). Check here, and also on the AMA Pro Flat Track FaceBook Page for updates

So many great choices. The Summer clock is ticking and the Charlotte Half-Mile is the perfect way to join the party! Tickets for the Charlotte Half-Mile, scheduled for Saturday, July 30, start at just $29 for adults and kids 13 and under are free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/ama_pro_flat_track_charlotte_half_mile/.

Xgames

Hard to believe it’s here already but in a few days flat track  returns to COTA in Texas,  this time for the XGames which is making it’s last appearance in Austin before it heads to another city (which could turn out to be my hometown of Fort Lauderdale!). Rain has played a huge part in the event in the past and with over 8 inches yesterday there is nothing to suggest it won’t happen again in 2016.  The XGames is quite different because the athletes they invite aren’t all from the AMA Pro Flat Track series, and this year include in addition to the round the world list of XGames athletes an old friend Ducati fans know well, Larry Pegram (on a Harley this time) and of course I’ll be cheering on #10 Johnny Lewis on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports machine, with new support from event sponsor LifeProof.  Johnny’s top 5 finish last year makes him one of the favorites to medal this year.  I’m excited because I know he is ready, the team is ready and the bikes are capable so fingers crossed for a good racetrack and the moon and stars to line up just right in the Texas sky.

It’s sold out to attend in person but it’s showing live on ESPN:  

Thursday June 2nd

8:30 – 11pm EST

Moto X Step Up Final

Harley-Davidson Flat-Track Racing Round One/LCQ/Final

http://xgames.espn.go.com/xgames/austin/

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For those joining us there in the Vicki/Ducati grandstand area on Saturday night, there is lots of great info here:

AMA Pro Flat Track athletes are taking the spotlight on Saturday, April 9 at the inaugural Lone Star Half-Mile at Circuit of The Americas during the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas weekend on the new, purpose-built (XGames) dirt track inside the COTA property just outside parking lot C. The race is end of day Saturday after the main track shuts down. Discounted tickets are available HERE for $50 until April 4th (or they sell out)

What is AMA Pro Flat Track? AMA Pro Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. The sport is also regarded as the birthplace of the “Golden Generation” of USA Grand Prix stars, producing top riders such as Grand National and World Champion Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey and Nicky Hayden. AMA Pro Flat Track comprises two classes. The first is the GNC1 class, which features the world’s elite flat track riders. The second is the GNC2 class where up-and-coming athletes compete to gain cred and earn their spot in the top GNC1 ranks. AMA Pro Flat Track events commonly produce nail-biting action lap-by-lap as riders showcase racing that resembles not only the sound of a freight train but the proximity of one, too. As they whip around the freshly packed clay surface without front brake accommodation, riders demonstrate fierce competition as they try to force their way to the lead in bar-to-bar racing action.

AMA Pro Flat Track has also grabbed the attention of elite international talent from MotoGP, in particular from Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi. In 2009, Rossi experienced “a magical night” at the Indy Mile while watching the talent of Yamaha TZ750-mounted Kenny Roberts and established his own Flat Track at his ranch in Tavullia, Italy. While in 2014 and 2015, Rossi’s rival and fellow MotoGP competitor, Marquez hosted three Superprestigio dirt track events in Barcelona, Spain.

Who Should I Look For? GNC1 class pro Johnny Lewis of course, on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports #10 machine! Fans will have the opportunity to meet AMA Pro Flat Track standout Johnny Lewis and other superstars at 6:00 p.m. CST during the Dunlop Fan Walk in the rider paddock. Among these athletes are three-time Grand National Champion No. 1 Jared Mees, 2015 Summer X Games gold medalist #42 Bryan Smith , three-time Grand National Champion #2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. as well as rider #6 Brad Baker, who beat Marc Marquez to the line in his own SuperPrestigio in January (They all race in the GNC1 class).   Oh, and the numerous MotoGP riders and teams that past experience suggests will show up and check out the teams and machines.

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But wait, there’s more…

Roland Sands Design and the Super Hooligans will also put on a show during the evening with custom-built street bikes hurtling around the track.

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How to Purchase Tickets:
For spectators coming from the road racing circuit, tickets can be purchased at the Grand Plaza Ticket Booth in COTA until 5:00 p.m. General admission to The Harley-Davidson Lone Star Half-Mile at Circuit of The Americas is $55.00 at the Box Office. There are two ticket stations located at the entrance of the dirt track to the right of the shuttle drop off area and directly in front of the grandstands. Save 10% on admission by purchasing tickets online at http://www.texasflattrack.com/tickets/. Teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 will receive half-priced admission at the gate and children 12 and under are free.For additional information about The Harley-Davidson Lone Star Half-Mile at Circuit of The Americas, please visit their website at http://www.texasflattrack.com.
How to Watch If You Aren’t Going To The Race:
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track events. The site also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.FansChoice.tv.