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American Flat Track racing nears end of record season

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Most race fans are accustomed to seeing cars on race tracks. Paved or dirt – oval, road course, or off-road – in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Motorcycle racing also has a long history in America, with its origins in the early 1900s.

Due in no small part to a partnership with NBC, flat track motorcycle racing is making headway in capturing modern America’s attention with a premier division known as the American Flat Track Series.

According to the American Flat Track web site, viewership for the series this season will exceed 3 million with more than 100,000 tickets sold at event sites. That is an average of about 6,000 tickets per event – a sizeable crowd for a dirt short track.

Many of the tracks on which the series competes will be familiar: So far in 2018, races were held at Daytona International Speedway, the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway, Calistoga Speedway in California, Illinois State Fairgrounds Speedway and the legendary Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.

The names may not yet be as familiar. Jared Mees leads the top division points on the strength of 10 wins. No one else has more than two. The singles division is tighter with Dan Bromley posting four wins and a female racer Shayna Texter becoming the first woman to win a major race in flat track history. In fact, she has two (at Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio and Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota).

The broadcasting partnership with NBC that began in 2016, is responsible for nearly 2.4 million of the 3 million viewers – an increase of more than 50 percent over last year’s numbers.

“American Flat Track has reached over 3 million fans so far this year and it is testament to the thrilling action our athletes and participating manufacturers are serving up, week in and week out,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track on the series Web site. “With two live race events and four NBCSN broadcasts still to come, AFT 2018 will end up reaching more people than in any year in the modern era. We are extremely proud and look forward to scaling new heights in 2019.”

NBCSN broadcasts are shown one week following the live event. The penultimate race was on a one-mile, modified horse track in Shakopee, MN outside of Minneapolis. That race can be seen on NBCSN October 14, a 5 pm ET.

The season wraps up today at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ and can be seen October, 21 at 2 pm ET on NBCSN.

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IMSA’s 50th Anniversary Celebration: Why Sebring is so special to Bobby Rahal

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Bobby Rahal has driven in some of the biggest races in the world, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Rolex 24 Hours and, of course, winning the Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1986 and in 2004 as a team owner.

But winning the 12 Hours of Sebring two years in a row (1987 and 1988), Rahal feels, is right up there in terms of his greatest accomplishments as a race car driver.

As IMSA celebrates its 50th anniversary, Rahal reflected on what racing at Sebring International Raceway has meant to him:

“To me, Sebring is the ultimate endurance race. Not as long as Daytona or Le Mans, but the demands put on a car and driver at Sebring are highly unusual.

“My father raced at Sebring in the late 60’s. To win that race two years in a row really meant something to me.

“While we’ve won a lot of other races, we’ve won just about everywhere, you name it. But for me personally, winning at Sebring those two years in a row was very special.”

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