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More racing series finalize 2014 schedules

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Although the 2013 racing season may be over, many of the major sanctioning bodies have begun to finalize their 2014 schedules. If you are a true race fan (and if you're reading this, you probably are) you have been busily perusing the internet in search of when your favorite motorsports franchise will visit your neck of the woods. With the sport continuing to expand to new and emerging markets, odds are pretty good that you are at most a few hours away from seeing the greatest riders and drivers in the world compete for fortune and glory at high speed.

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In 2014, the SPEED Energy Stadium Super Trucks series, competing in it's second year, features 10 race venues, all within North America’s top-50 markets, including six venues within the top-15. Several of the events will feature two rounds of competition, bringing the total number of rounds to 15 for the second season of the highly competitive and high-flying Super Trucks.

Among the cities SST will visit include Las Vegas, Toronto, San Diego, Los Angeles, Detroit, Indianapolis and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla. One additional city will be announced, which SST founder and president Robby Gordon, believes will be the headline event of the 2014 season. Specific dates will be announced in conjunction with promoters and other local partners. However, it can be stated the season will start in Las Vegas on March 7 and end at the same venue on Nov. 7.

“Having an opportunity to showcase these trucks last season at places like the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Honda Indy Toronto was tremendously successful,” Gordon said. “Since then the outreach from promoters asking us to bring the SST series to their venues has given us all a great sense of pride and proves to us that we have a series that is exactly what it was designed to be – the most unbelievable, jaw-dropping form of auto racing in the world.”

Other than the trucks launching more than 20 feet in the air covering distances more than 150 feet, what makes the SST program such a success is the fact that all the SST trucks are identically prepared and delivered to drivers in race-ready condition. Drivers do not have an advantage over others because they have a bigger budget or greater technology. Drivers are assigned SST crewmembers who make minor adjustments at a driver’s request. The rules are specific as to what changes are permitted on the trucks so that the technology in the trucks remains equal.

In 2013, Gordon came from behind to edge world-class off-road racer Rob McCachren by seven points to capture the season championship. NASCAR Truck Series race-winner Justin Lofton finished third. P.J. Jones won his first SST race at the season-ending event at Caesars Palace on the Las Vegas Strip, and finished fourth in season-ending points. Other race winners in the first SST season included Gordon (3 wins), McCachren (4), Lofton (3), Sheldon Creed (2) and Jerrett Brooks (1).

Influenced by the former Mickey Thompson Stadium Off-Road Racing Series, where driver’s such as Gordon, Casey Mears and six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson got their start, Gordon created SST to capitalize on the public’s overwhelming interest in trucks and SUVs as well as the fact that the majority of automotive aftermarket parts are marketed for trucks.

For the fans of the SCCA and Mazda Speed, SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup is planning a total 12 races over six events for 2014, with each event as a doubleheader, consisting of two separately-scored races.

As in years past, the series will be taking part in some of the most noteworthy racing weekends in North America. The season will be bookended by two marquee races, opening the season in support of the 62nd Annual Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by Fresh from Florida , followed by Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, then appearing at the Grand Prix of Houston, followed by a sojourn north of the border at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, before closing the season at Road Atlanta as part of the Petit Le Mans.

In addition to the 2014 title, the champion will also be eligible to take advantage of Mazda Motorsports Development scholarship funding. The prize is used to help fund talented up-and-coming drivers progress toward the top rungs of American motorsports, while driving a Mazda.

For fans of racing on two wheels, AMA Pro Racing recently announced the complete AMA Pro Flat Track schedule for the upcoming 2014 season; an agenda that includes 16 rounds featuring non-stop entertainment and thrilling motorcycle racing action from the AMA Pro Grand National Championship (GNC) and AMA Pro Singles classes.

"We're excited to be announcing the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule today," said Michael Gentry, Chief Operating Officer of AMA Pro Racing. "AMA Pro Flat Track is America's original extreme sport, and we're looking forward to watching our riders thrill crowds across the country during another action-packed season of racing in 2014."

Of the 16 races scheduled as part of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track calendar, the GNC Expert Singles will compete at four of the rounds, broken down into two Short Tracks and two TTs, while the thundering GNC Expert Twins will contest the remaining 12 rounds, consisting of six Half-Mile and six Mile tracks. Fans can also expect to watch the sport's finest up-and-coming talent battle for fame and glory in Pro Singles races at the majority of the events.

On March 13 and 14, 2014, DAYTONA Flat Track will once again play host to the AMA Pro Flat Track opener as the series kicks off the 2014 season with a doubleheader on the quarter-mile lime rock track located just outside Daytona International Speedway's west banking. At the 2013 season opener in Daytona Beach, Fla., fans witnessed four riders claim their first career victories at the professional level in dramatic fashion.

Next up, the series will make its first annual stop in Springfield, Ill. for the Springfield Mile on May 25, 2014 and will return again to the legendary venue on August 31, 2014 for the second go-around. Last season, Brandon Robinson made his money at Springfield, earning two convincing victories in a crucial late-season doubleheader weekend.

The series will head to Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa on June 15, 2014 for Round 4. Kenny Coolbeth earned a split-second victory at the Knoxville Half-Mile in 2012 over then defending champion Jake Johnson. After taking a break from the Marion County venue in 2013, the series is scheduled to return to Knoxville Raceway in 2014 to run in conjunction with the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series and provide the same exhilarating action that it does everywhere else.

Round 5 of AMA Pro Flat Track will take place at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio for the Lima Half-Mile on June 28, 2014. Dating back to 1984, AMA Pro Flat Track has made the trek to Lima to take on the pea-gravel circuit and the 2014 event should be another weekend filled with exciting racing.

It wouldn't be a normal 4th of July weekend without AMA Pro Flat Track racing in Hagerstown, Md. The series is set to roll out the thundering twin-cylinder motorcycles on July 5, 2014 at Hagerstown Speedway for the Hagerstown Half-Mile. Eventual 2013 Grand National Champion Brad Baker earned his first win at the GNC Expert level at Hagerstown last season and will look to have similar success following America's Independence Day in 2014.

The first west coast tour begins on July 19, 2014 with a Half-Mile event at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. The venue will serve as the first time that AMA Pro Flat Track tires will have touched this particular soil and the event will be hosted by a new promoter.

On July 26, 2014, the series will make its second west coast appearance at the famous Sacramento Mile in Sacramento, Calif. Last season, Bryan Smith recorded his first of two wins on the year at the Cal Expo and the Flint, Mich. product will look to continue his success on mile-long tracks when the series returns to Sacramento in 2014.

The first TT event will take place at Castle Rock Race Park in Castle Rock, Wash. for the Castle Rock TT on August 2, 2014. Jeffrey Carver recorded his lone win of the season last year in AMA Pro Expert Singles competition as he crossed the stripe a little over a second ahead of second-place finisher and 2012 Grand National Champion Jared Mees.

Next up, the series heads to Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, S.D. for the Sturgis Half-Mile on August 5, 2014, run in conjunction with the largest annual bike rally in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will flock to the 74th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the timing couldn't be any better with the Grand National Championship coming to town in the midst of all the excitement.

The Indy Mile at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Ind., returns to the 2014 schedule on August 8, 2014 and the event will once again coincide with both the Indiana State Fair and MotoGP's state-side return for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Next up is the second and final TT of the season, and the granddaddy of them all, scheduled for August 17, 2014 at Peoria Race Park in Peoria, Ill. Henry Wiles has owned the Peoria TT for nearly an entire decade and he will look to collect his 10th win at the Midwest venue next season. The Peoria TT has been a staple on the Grand National circuit since 1947 and still packs the hillsides with spectators eager to watch the high-flying singles takes to the track.

After a successful inauguration to the Grand National scene last season, Colonial Downs will host Round 13 of the AMA Pro Flat Track schedule on August 23, 2014. The 1.25 mile-long circuit, located in New Kent, Va., measures in as the largest track on the schedule and will surely provide for some thrilling racing action.

Following the second Springfield Mile event on Labor Day weekend, the season wraps up with two final bouts on the west coast with the Santa Rosa Mile in Santa Rosa, Calif. on September 28, 2014 and the Flat Track Season Finale on October 11, 2014 at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. These two races proved to be critical at the tail-end of last season, as Brad Baker, Bryan Smith and Brandon Robinson were neck-and-neck going down the homestretch of 2013. In the end it was Baker who sealed the final victory at Pomona to cap off an amazing season and capture the coveted No. 1 plate.

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