American Flat Track Indy
© American Flat Track

American Flat Track racing nears end of record season

Leave a comment

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.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

Alex Zanardi showing signs of interaction three months after crash

Alex Zanardi recovery
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images
Leave a comment

MILAN — Italian racing driver turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has started responding to treatment with signs of interaction, more than three months after he was seriously injured in a handbike crash.

Zanardi has spent most of that time in intensive care after crashing into an oncoming truck during a relay event near the Tuscan town of Pienza on June 19.

“For several days now. Alex Zanardi has undergone cognitive and motor rehabilitation sessions, with the administration of visual and acoustic stimuli, to which the patient responds with momentary and initial signs of interaction,” the San Raffaele hospital in Milan said in a statement Thursday.

The hospital said that is “significant progress” but added that his condition remains serious, and that it would be “absolutely premature” to make a long-term prognosis.

Zanardi, 53, suffered serious facial and cranial trauma in the crash and was put in a medically induced coma. Doctors have warned of possible brain damage.

He was operated on several times to stabilize him and reconstruct his severely damaged face and the Milan hospital added that he recently had undergone another surgery to reconstruct his skull and would have another one in the coming weeks.

Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago. He won four gold medals and two silvers at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics. He also competed in the New York City Marathon and set an Ironman record in his class.