Industry Hills Speedway
The Grand Industry Hills Expo Center
City of Industry, California
AMA U.S. National Championship - Round 2
September 3, 2005 - Industry Hills Speedway
By: Ryan Evans
AMA U.S. National Championship - Round 1
Five-time National Champion Greg Hancock made a perfect debut performance at The Grand in Industry Hills by winning all of his races, including the all-important A Final, at Round 2 of the AMA National Championship Series.
Hancock, the 1997 World Champion, entered the final race unbeaten and earned the right to select his gate first. After mulling over all the positions, he chose gate one. Three-time National Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill, who suffered his only defeat of the evening to Hancock, selected gate two. Bryan Yarrow, who rebounded from a miserable performance the previous evening in Auburn to make the A Final, chose gate three. Industry Hills' dominant rider of 2005, Charlie "The Edge" Venegas, was left with gate four.
The four riders were staged, but there was movement at the line and the staging light was turned off. Referee Steve Lucero determined that Venegas touched the tapes and he was excluded. Venegas was furious and pleaded his case to no avail and he left the track.
When the tapes went up Hancock and Hamill were shoulder to shoulder going into turn one. As they exited turn two Hancock had the preferred inside line and made it work to his advantage and led into turn three. At the end of the first lap Hancock securely had the lead while Hamill had to contend with Yarrow. Hancock pulled away and on the third lap while Yarrow was close enough to Hamill on the back straight to get his attention. Hamill was able to hold off the challenge to his position. Hancock was first to the checkered flag, Hamill was second, Yarrow finished third, and Venegas was credited with fourth.
Coupled with his unbeaten performance the previous evening in Auburn, Hancock now leads the three-round series with 42 points to Hamill's 36, while Venegas sits third with 30.
The evening was to begin with eight riders vying to fill the final two spots in the 16-rider championship field. Only seven were able to compete because National Under 21 Champion Justin Boyle was stuck in the terrible traffic on Interstate five that was the result of a fire.
The group of seven was whittled down to four in the final elimination race. Matt Browne took the lead but was passed by Chris Kerr on the second lap. Billy Hiles also went by Browne to take second. The top two went unchallenged as Kerr's victory and Hiles' second place earned them spots in the field. Skyler Greyson and Browne finished third and fourth, respectively, and filled the reserve slots.
Race one had Tommy Hedden jump into the lead from gate three. Venegas started from gate four and stayed on the outside throughout the first lap. His choice of racing line paid off as he motored around the outside of Hedden at the end of lap one for the lead. Venegas led from there to take his first victory of the evening.
Hancock took the lead in race two, but the race was stopped when Hiles and Buck Blair went down in turn three. On the restart it was Hancock again in front and he adapted to the track very quickly and scored an easy win.
Three-time National Champion "Flyin" Mike Faria jumped into the lead in race three and scored a victory in his first-ever race at the track. Hamill closed out the first round by defeating Ryan Fisher and Bobby Schwartz for his first win.
Round two began with Jimmy Fishback taking the lead only to be overtaken by Yarrow on the back straight. Yarrow, who suffered a last-place finish in the first round, righted his ship by running away with the victory.
Schwartz, who recently scored a main event victory at The Grand, excited his legion of fans by winning race six. Hamill made it two in a row by defeating Faria in race seven. Hancock won his second straight race ahead of Venegas and Fisher in the final race of the second round.
The third round began with the riders taking to a wet track and three riders fell victim to the conditions in turn three. Faria jumped into the lead on the restart and masterfully navigated through the wet track to win his second race.
Hamill launched into the lead in race 10 with Perkins following in second. As Hamill pulled away Perkins battled Kerr. Kerr made a great outside pass on the front straight to take second. The positions remained the same as Hamill won his third straight race.
Hancock dominated race 11 with Schwartz following his one-time student for three laps before being passed by Bart Bast for second and Tommy Hedden for third. Hancock was unchallenged en route to his third win.
Blair made a great start and trapped Yarrow and Venegas to take the lead in race 12. Yarrow stalked the Colorado native the entire race, but couldn't push his way past. Blair took his first win in the final race before intermission.
At the break, Hancock and Hamill were tied for first with nine points each, Faria had eight points, Venegas had six, and Fisher and Yarrow were tied with five apiece.
Schwartz turned in another vintage performance by beating Blair and Jimmy Fishback in race 13
Yarrow jumped in front of Hancock and led him into turn one in race 14. Yarrow held the lead on the back straight but Hancock went on the attack on the outside. Hancock caught Yarrow entering turn three, continued his wide line, and was in front of his younger competitor on the front straight. Hancock led from there and took his fourth straight win.
Hedden was first off the line in race 15, but Fisher went by him and went on to victory. Hamill trapped the field from gate four in race 16 and scored an easy win to end the final race of round four and set up the giant showdown in round five.
The final round of heats began with the showdown of the unbeatens. Both riders had secured places in the A Final. At stake was pride and the right to first choice of position in that race. Hancock was away first when the tapes went up while Hamill was left to battle Fishback. Hancock ended the drama with a comfortable win while Hamill maintained second.
Blair earned his second win of the evening in race 18 by holding off Fisher. Yarrow won his second race of the evening by defeating Hedden in race 19.
Three National Champions came to the tapes in race 20 and all three had a chance to make the A Final. The three combatants were Venegas, Schwartz, and Faria. The three riders waged an epic battle in tight formation the entire four laps. Venegas was victorious with Schwartz getting second and Faria finishing third. The victory forced a three-rider runoff between Venegas, Yarrow, and Fisher to see who would join Hancock and Hamill in the A Final.
The runoff was anticlimactic as Fisher suffered an engine failure on the first lap leaving Yarrow and Venegas to cruise around at half-speed knowing their spots in the final race were secure.
Shaun Harmatiuk, who missed his first two races because he was stuck in the same traffic jam as Boyle, led the D Final on the first lap. He lifted slightly in turn two and left room for Nate Perkins to pass on the back straight. Harmatiuk's luck went from bad to worse when he slid off in turn three. Perkins took the victory, with Eddie Castro finishing second, and Hiles coming in third.
The C Final was led by Bast until Fishback lifted and the back straight fence in spectacular fashion and bring out the red flag. Fishback would walk away, but was excluded from the restart. Hedden took advantage of the second chance by getting the gate and holding on the victory. Bast was second and Kerr finished third.
Faria got the best start in the B Final and was victorious in that race for the second evening in a row. Blair finished second, Fisher was third, and Schwartz was fourth after blowing off the back of his muffler at the line.
The AMA National Championship Series will conclude at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn on Saturday, October 8.
Elimination Race 1: Hiles, Browne, Greyson (fell, remounted), Boyle (non starter)
Elimination Race 2: Kerr, Galvin, Martynse, Defreece
Elimination Race 3: Greyson, Browne, Martynse, Galvin (fell, remounted)
Elimination Race 4: Kerr, Hiles, Greyson, Browne
Rider 1 2 3 4 5 T
1 - Greg Hancock 3 3 3 3 3 15
2 - Billy Hamill 3 3 3 3 1 14
4 - Mike Faria 3 2 3 0 1 9
5 - Bart Bast 2 0 2 2 1 7
6 - Charlie Venegas 3 2 1 1 3 10
7 - Tommy Hedden 2 1 1 1 2 7
8 - Bryan Yarrow 0 3 2 2 3 10
9 - Eddie Castro 1 0 0 T 0 1
10 - Chris Kerr (Q1) 2 1 1 2 0 6
11 - Bobby Schwartz 1 3 0 3 2 9
12 - Shaun Harmatiuk N N 0 0 1 1
13 - Ryan Fisher 2 1 2 3 2 10
14 - Buck Blair 1 0 3 2 3 9
15 - Nate Perkins 0 2 2 1 F 5
22 - Jimmy Fishback 1 2 1 1 1 6
23 - Chris Kerr (Q2) 0 1 0 0 0 1
21 - Skyler Greyson (R1) F 0 0
17 - Matt Browne (R2) 0 0
1: Venegas, Hedden, Fishback, Perkins
2: (restarted) Hancock, Kerr, Blair, Hiles
3: Faria, Bast, Castro, Greyson (fell), Harmatiuk (non starter)
4: Hamill, Fisher, Schwartz, Yarrow
5: Yarrow, Fishback, Kerr, Bast
6: Schwartz, Perkins, Hiles, Castro (fell, remounted)
7: Hamill, Faria, Hedden, Blair
8: Hancock, Venegas, Fisher, Browne (fell), Harmatiuk (non starter)
9: (restarted) Faria, Fisher, Fishback, Hiles
10: Hamill, Perkins, Kerr, Harmatiuk
11: Hancock, Bast, Hedden, Schwartz
12: Blair, Yarrow, Venegas, Castro
13: Schwartz, Blair, Fishback, Harmatiuk
14: Hancock, Yarrow, Perkins, Faria
15: Fisher, Kerr, Hedden, Greyson, Castro (tape exclusion)
16: Hamill, Bast, Venegas, Hiles
17: Hancock, Hamill, Fishback, Castro
18: Blair, Fisher, Bast, Perkins (fell)
19: Yarrow, Hedden, Harmatiuk, Hiles
20: Venegas, Schwartz, Faria, Kerr
Runoff: Yarrow, Venegas, Fisher (engine failure)
15 - Nate Perkins
9 - Eddie Castro
23 - Billy Hiles
12 - Shaun Harmatiuk (fell)
C Final (restarted)
7 - Tommy Hedden
5 - Bart Bast
10 - Chris Kerr
22 - Jimmy Fishback (fell, excluded)
4 - Mike Faria
14 - Buck Blair
13 - Ryan Fisher
11 - Bobby Schwartz (retired)
1 - Greg Hancock
2 - Billy Hamill
8 - Bryan Yarrow
6 - Charlie Venegas
Championship Standings Rd.1 Rd.2 Total
1 - Greg Hancock 21* 21* 42
2 - Billy Hamill 18 18 36
6 - Charlie Venegas 16 14 30
4 - Mike Faria 12 12 24
13 - Ryan Fisher 14 10 24
8 - Bryan Yarrow 4 16 20
14 - Buck Blair 8 11 19
5 - Bart Bast 11 7 18
11 - Bobby Schwartz 6 9 15
15 - Nate Perkins 10 4 14
7 - Tommy Hedden 5 8 13
9 - Eddie Castro 9 3 12
10 - Chris Kerr 1 7 8
22 - Jimmy Fishback 3 5 8
12 - Shaun Harmatiuk 7 1 8**
23 - Billy Hiles 2 2 4**
* Earned bonus point as top scorer in heat races.
** Relegated to Elimination Round