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Can anyone top Janniro?

Fast Fridays
By: Michael Kir Journal Speedway Correspondent
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Sixteen of the best riders in the nation will converge on the Gold Country Fairgrounds, racing to win the AMA National Speedway Championship tonight. Benicia’s Billy Janniro, who won the title in 2008, and has been the man to beat all season with eight scratch main event wins at Fast Fridays, will be hard to beat. Only Scott Brant, on June 5, and Charlie Venegas, just last week, have been able to beat Janniro in the scratch main event. Both Venegas and Brant could spoil Janniro’s party and both riders have the credentials to pull off upset victories. Venegas and Brant have been racing professionally since the 1980s, Brant was the 2003 AMA National Champion, and Venegas would like nothing better than to add a national championship to his impressive list of speedway accomplishments. “For me heck, that’s right on schedule, we’ve been pressing every week. I’m ready when the big ones come,” Venegas said. You can never count out Auburn’s Bart Bast and Tommy Hedden. Both are riding well and are always threats at Fast Fridays. From Southern California, Tyson Burmeister, Jimmy Fishback, and Gary Hicks could be a handful. Bobby Schwartz, a veteran of over 36 years of speedway racing and a national champion in 1986 and 1989, should never be counted out. Absent from this year’s national lineup is current AMA/USA National Champion Greg Hancock. He won last year and has a record eight championships, surpassing Auburn’s Mike Bast who won seven nationals. “Greg’s racing commitments in Europe and scheduling conflicts have kept him from racing in the national championship this year,” said Fast Friday’s promoter David Joiner. “He has promised to support the series and hopefully he will be back next year.” This year’s national championship will be a two-night event with both rounds staged at Fast Fridays in Auburn. Twenty heat races will seed riders into the night’s final four main events according to their heat race points. Points scored in these final four main events will go toward the championship series total points. “To win a national championship you have to be a good rider, you have to perform when it counts, and you have to have a little bit of luck,” Joiner said. The final and deciding round of the championship series will be Oct. 1 at Fast Fridays. The total rider purse for each round is $10,000 with the high-point rider in each round receiving $2,000. Racing gets going at 8 p.m. and gates open at 6:30.