Smith, 31, of Flushing, Michigan, is riding a three-year winning streak coming into this year’s Sacramento Mile, having won all three races since the return of the event to the AMA Pro Grand National Championship calendar in 2011.
As it stands now Smith is tied with Sacramento Mile legends Scott Parker and Chris Carr, who each won the race three times consecutively. Carr was the first to accomplish the feat with his three straight wins in the early 1990s. Parker matched his Harley-Davidson rival in the late 1990s. Smith tied Carr and Parker last season and now stands on the precipice of claiming one of the most impressive records in the storied history of the race.
“It’s pretty cool to even have a shot at breaking that kind of record at Sacramento,” Smith said. “Anytime you talk about breaking a record where riders like (Scott) Parker, (Chris) Carr and (Bubba) Shobert raced for so long would be a real honor. I looked up to those guys as my heroes, so it would be really special to win four straight and own at least one record at that track.”
Last year Smith won his third straight in a spectacular finish that saw four riders come out of the final turn, just inches apart with Smith somehow managing to hold off Jared Mees, Brandon Robinson and Brad Baker at the checkered flag. The four riders were separated by a scant 0.145 seconds.
“It was going good all day, we were really dominant,” said Smith, after last year’s riveting Sacramento Mile victory. “I really wanted to try to get away from those guys and win this thing by a long ways. I had it going my way for a minute. I think I got my tire a little hot, started to fade back. Then Brad came running up the inside of me and ran me off the groove. I had my work cut out for me getting around the Harleys. They were hauling in the corners. Luckily my trusty Crosley Kawasaki was real fast on the straightaways so I got back by them.”
This year Smith will again be on a Kawasaki at Sacramento, this time around with the Villa Esparza/Crosley Radio Team. The new team will utilize Jeff Gordon-tuned, Kawasaki 750cc engines and many other components from the 2012 and 2013 Howerton Motorsports machine, in a highly modified C&J chassis by Robert Terando. The Villa Esparza/Crosley Radio Team is eager to build on the two consecutive GNC Twins Championships, with four wins, 13 podium finishes, and second place overall in the 2013 Grand National Championship earned with Smith riding the Howerton machines.
Villa Esparza is a food distribution company, owned by Joe Esparza, based in Austin, Texas. Joe is a long-time friend, and supporter, of Bryan Smith and American Flat Track racing. Esparza proudly steps into the team owner position after Rick Howerton announced he would reduce his time commitment to the AMA Pro Flat Track series at the end of the 2013 season. Howerton, Gordon and Ron “Dink” Glidden will continue to provide technical support for the team, with Bryan and his father, Barry Smith, maintaining the race bikes out of their shop in Michigan.
Founding sponsor, Crosley Radio, looks forward to adding a third successful race season, elevating the professionalism and competitiveness of the Grand National Championship on and off the track, and in the paddock. Visit www.Crosley-Radio.com or stop by the Villa Esparza/Crosley Radio Team pits to see Crosley Radio’s vintage inspired electronics.
Practice for the Sacramento Mile begins at on Saturday, July 26 at 2:15 p.m. and opening ceremonies for the evening program kicks off at 6:15 p.m.
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*** 2014 Ticket Information: Ticket information is available for the July 26, 2014 Sacramento Mile at www.sactomile.com.
Fans can order tickets online at https://secure.interactiveticketing.com/a/c84136, by calling 1-844 SAC MILE (1-844- 722-6453) or by visiting the Cal Expo Ticket Box Office in the Administration Building at 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (PT) Monday through Friday. Tickets can also be purchased at any ticket window during the 2014 California State Fair.
Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are available. Contact the Cal Expo Group Sales Department at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.