Round 5 of the AMA Pro Flat Track season, set for this Saturday, May 21, will be the 51st running of the iconic Sacramento Mile.
Smith will ride the all-new black and green Kawasaki Ninja 650 and try for his sixth-consecutive Sacramento Mile victory Saturday in the elite Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class. He set the consecutive win record with his fourth-straight win at the Cal Expo in 2014 and won the contest in nail-biting fashion again a year ago, proving that he's capable of grinding out the close races as well as winning by a landslide.
This weekend's Sacramento Mile is the second of four consecutive Mile events on the 2016 schedule, as the series will roll into Illinois for the legendary Springfield Mile and then Remington Park for the Oklahoma City Mile for rounds six and seven, respectively. The series will also cap off the season with two Mile events, bringing the total number of long tracks to six in 2016.
The upcoming schedule spells blood in the water for a Mile shark like No. 42. If he's able to keep the heat up on his opponents during this stretch, he should hold a firm grip on the GNC1 points lead at the season's midway point and be in great position to capture his first-career championship at season's end. Right now, Smith sits fourth in the standings after four rounds of action.
Smith's biggest on-track rival and defending GNC1 champion, Mees, secured a runner-up finish in Arizona, and he enters Sacramento sitting second in the point standings. The No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson rider has won three of the last four GNC1 championships, and is on pace to be in contention for another one in 2016.
Another rider aiming to knock Smith off his mile-high pedestal this weekend in Sacramento is Brandon Robinson. The Pennsylvanian came within milliseconds of beating Smith to the line in last year's Main Event in the Golden State, but he fell just short - 0.02 seconds to be exact - of capturing the checkered flag. This year, Robinson is off to another strong start on all-new equipment, as he switched from Triumph to Harley-Davidson during the off-season, and he'll look to improve on his fifth-place position in the point standings aboard the No. 44 Kennedy Racing machine on Saturday.
Despite finishing fifth in last weekend's Law Tigers AMA Pro Arizona Mile, Sammy Halbert remains top dog in the GNC1 point standings heading into Sacramento. The No. 69 BriggsAuto.com Harley-Davidson pilot hasn't finished outside the Top 5 so far in 2016, and he'll look to carry over that momentum and remain consistent in California.
Entering Round 4 third in the GNC1 point standings is Jake Johnson. The No. 5 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson pilot and two-time GNC1 champion finished eighth in Arizona for his worst finish of the season, but he still looks sharp and he's always a threat to go the distance every time he takes to the track.
It's been a rough start to the season for the Factory Harley-Davidson Team, as Brad Baker and Davis Fisher have had some struggles through four rounds. GNC1 class rookie, Fisher, has failed to make a Main Event aboard the No. 67 Harley-Davidson in either of the two twins races thus far, and Baker is coming off 17th and 6th-place efforts. There's no denying the world of talent that both Baker and Fisher possess, as it has been on full display in recent seasons, and Baker's sixth-place position in the point standings isn't the worst spot to be in, but the tandem need to have a strong Sacramento performance if they want to be in the championship discussion later on this year.
Henry Wiles and Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. sit seventh and eighth in the GNC1 point standings after four rounds, with Cory Texter catapulting into the Top 10 after his career-best third-place finish in Arizona last weekend.
Dalton Gauthier earned his second GNC2 win of the 2016 season -- and the breakout professional flat track win for BMW -- last weekend in Arizona and his victory has him sitting pretty atop the GNC2 point standings after four rounds. Gauthier hasn't finished worse than fourth in any race so far this year.
Ryan Wells will enter Round 4 in Sacramento second in the point standings, and he, too, has been very consistent early on in 2016, as he hasn't finished outside the Top 5 in any race so far.
Kolby Carlile, Brandon Price and Jamison Minor round out the top five in the GNC2 points and only three points separate the trio from each other.
Clash of the Titans III
Scott Parker had some of his most memorable AMA Grand National victories on the legendary Sacramento Mile and on Saturday, May 21, he will return to Cal Expo to take part in the Clash of the Titans III, an exhibition against his former hero and rival and fellow Flint, Michigan native Jay Springsteen. It was Springsteen who won the first two Clash of the Titan events over Chris Carr and is looking for three in a row at this year's event.
The 51st running of the Sacramento Mile will take place this Saturday, May 21, and every session will be live streamed in high definition and free of charge at FansChoice.tv. Fans that can't make the trek to the Cal Expo Fairgrounds this weekend are invited to tune in at http://www.fanschoice.tv/ama-pro
The day's on-track festivities will begin with practice and qualifying at 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET), followed by an Open Paddock and Rider Autograph Session set for 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET). A special Pre-Race Show will air at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET) and then Opening Ceremonies will kick off the night's racing activities at 6:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET).
The field will qualify through a series of Heat and Semi races, whittling down the field to the best of the best for the night's GNC2 and Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines Main Events. The GNC2 Main Event will begin at 8:45 p.m. PT (11:45 p.m. ET) followed by 18 of the world's fastest flat trackers in the GNC1 Main Event at 9:10 p.m. PT (12:10 a.m. ET).
To purchase tickets to the Sacramento Mile, please visit http://www.sactomile.com/tickets.
How to Watch:
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.
About 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. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft/, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook or live stream the on-track action on FansChoice.tv.
About AMA Pro Racing:
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.