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Hancock rides to 8th national crown

By: Michael Kirby Journal Speedway Correspondent
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After the main event wrapped up at Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds all the riders, fans, friends and family came out on the track to congratulate the best speedway rider in America. As Greg Hancock stood at the center of the awards podium and accepted his 2009 AMA/USA National Speedway Championship trophy history was made in Auburn. Hancock captured his eighth national title, giving him one more than Auburn’s Mike Bast and more than any other rider has ever won in the history of American speedway. Hancock’s record of eight championships will likely last for many years as his riding days seem far from over. “It’s just crazy, to think I equaled his record in 2006 and to come here today and take it. It’s odd,” Hancock said. “I always thought he’d be the man to go down in history to win all those titles. My plan is to keep racing for a least another year, while I’m still feeling as young as I am. I still have the desire is to be the best, and so for me it’s just to keep on going until I can’t do it anymore.” Hancock credits Bast with teaching him many of the speedway techniques he uses today. He interrupted his successful European riding career, where he currently sits fourth in the World Grand Prix Series, to compete in the national championship series. On hand for the special event in the infield for the main event was Bast, a speedway riding legend whose career ended in 1984 and a rider that dominated American speedway in the 70s. Bast couldn’t be prouder that his close friend was the rider who broke his 37-year-old record. “You know I set the record years ago and it had to get beat someday and I couldn’t think of a better kid than Greg,” Bast said. “You know the records are out there, you have to set them, so they can be broken.” Hancock was perfect in the heat rounds with five wins and 15 points for the night going into the A-main. Billy Janniro, the 2008 national champ, handled all of his heat races with wins until meeting Hancock in event 20, finishing second. Charlie Venegas who had tallied 13 points, with three wins and two second place finishes for the night. Fast Fridays fan favorite Bart Bast also worked his way into the A-main after a night of great racing with 11 points. As the tapes went up it was Hancock out of lane one who found his way again to the inside turf in turn one and he held on for the win, picking up an additional 20 series points. Venegas surged ahead of Janniro to claim second place while Bast took fourth. The B-main event was won by Bryan Yarrow. Matt Becker was the C-main winner and the D main went to Kelly Kerrigan. A Main 1-Greg Hancock, 2-Charlie Venegas, 3-Billy Janniro, 4-Bart Bast B Main 1-Bryan Yarrow, 2-Tommy Hedden, 3-Kenny Ingalls, 4-Eddie Castro C Main 1-Matt Becker, 2-Greg Hooten, 3-Mark Carrillo, 4-Tyson Burmeister D Main 1-Kelly Kerrigan, 2-Dan Faria, 3-Alex Marcucci, 4-Bryce Starks Results from Round 3 3rd Rd Pts 2nd Rd Pts. 1st Rd Pts. Total Series Pts. Greg Hancock 3,3,3,3,3-15 20+1 20 20+1 62 Billy Janniro 3,3,3,3,2-14 16 18+1 18 53 Bart Bast 2,2,3,3,1-11 14 16 10 40 Charlie Venegas 3,3,2,2,3-13 18 12 8 38 Kenny Ingalls 2,0,2,2,3-9 10 5 16 31 Bryan Yarrow 3,1,1,1,3-9 12 10 5 27 Eddie Castro 2,0,1,3,2-8 9 9 9 27 Ricky Wells 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 14 12 26 Tommy Hedden 1,2,3,2,2-10 11 11 3 25 Matt Becker 2,2,0,1,2-7 8 7 0 15 Gary Hicks 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 14 14 Greg Hooten 0,1,2,1,0-4 7 6 0 13 Tyler Burmeister 1,2,2,0,1-6 5 8 0 13 Jimmy Fishback 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 11 11 Mark Carrillo 0,3,1,1,0-5 6 3 0 9 Shawn McConell 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 7 7 Bobby Schwartz 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 6 6 Bryce Starks 0,1,0,0,1-2 1 4 0 5 Alex Marcucci 1,1,1,0,0-3 2 2 0 4 Buck Blair 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 4 4 Kelly Kerrigan 0,0,0,2,1-3 4 0 0 4 Mike Faria 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 0 2 2 Nate Perkins 0,0,0,0,0-0 0 1 1 2