Toyota AMA Ax Notebook: Rockford & Rochester

AURORA, Ill., (Nov. 29, 2007) – The 2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Series splits for the first time this season with one race being held at Rockford’s (Ill.) MetroCentre and the other in Rochester, N.Y.’s Blue Cross Arena.

One racer that you’d figure might stand to benefit is Monster Energy/Babbitt’s/Kawasaki’s Brock Sellards. The Ohio native and former Toyota AMA Arenacross Series runner up has dug himself into a bit of a hole to start the 2007-’08 season. Sellards is all the way back in 8th place overall in the standings with 61 points. Given that, is he planning on taking advantage of the potentially ‘less stacked’ lineup that will be in Rochester, or is he going to come out swinging with both fists in Rockford in hopes of gaining some momentum heading into the Christmas break?

“Brock will be racing Rochester,” said team manager Denny Bartz. “He, along with Patrick Boyle will head to Rochester and Kelly Smith will race Rockford. The plan is for Brock to make up some points and get back right into the title chase for when the series resumes in 2008.”

Leading the series: TUF Racing/Honda’s Chad Johnson is out front of Josh Demuth by three points, 85-83. Demuth is pretty much out of the equation after this weekend as his intent is to focus on AMA Supercross. That said, Johnson leads 3rd place Kelly Smith (Babbitt’s/Kawasaki) and TUF/Honda teammate and defending Toyota AMA Arenacross Series champion Danny Smith by eight points (each of the Smiths tied with 77 points). Veteran Jim Neese (Carolina Xpress/Suzuki) is close behind in 5th place with 71 points. Outside the Green Bay, Wis., finals, Rockford is considered Johnson’s hometown track.

Rochester’s press day should be pretty interesting as Monroe County Sheriff (an elected position, by the way), Patrick O’Flynn, is bringing his aptly numbered 911 dirt bike and running a few hot laps with two local racers, including pro Alex Sigismondi (Rochester) and ten-year-old Colton Camp (Marion). O’Flynn is a big proponent of the sport of motocross and is looking forward to attending the Toyota AMA Arenacross event at Blue Cross Arena this weekend.

Also at Blue Cross Arena, keeping in the spirit of the holidays, fans bringing one unwrapped, unopened gift to Friday’s event will receive one free children’s (age 2-12) ticket for Friday’s race. The toys will go to benefit the Salvation Army Toy Drive. For more information on the promotion, like to And, if that weren’t enough, Live Nation has invited a whole slew of kids out to the race on Friday from the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester!

Toyota AMA Arenacross returns to Blue Cross Arena for the first time since 2002. In that year Jim Neese swept the then 250cc (two stroke) pro class, winning both Friday and Saturday nights. Known officially as Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial, the building – then known only as the Rochester Community War Memorial – was first open for business on Oct. 18th, 1955. Total cost of the project in that day: $7.5 million.

Tim Cotter’s back!: Absent from the Reno round because he was emceeing the AMA Awards Banquet in Vegas, popular Toyota AMA Arenacross Series announcer Tim Cotter will return to Rockford to pump up the always packed MetroCentre. Note: If you’re going to the race, make sure you congratulate Tim on his West Virginia Mountaineer football team making college football’s Bowl Championship Series (BCS)!

Speaking of Rockford, the MetroCentre has been home to some memorable Toyota AMA Arenacross Series racing events over the years - just ask “Mad” Mike Jones & Todd DeHoop, circa ‘98! After taking last year off from hosting a Toyota AMA Arenacross Series race, the MetroCentre will no doubt rock this weekend when the gate drops on Friday at the 10,000 seat venue that also happens to host a USHRA-sanctioned “Thunder Nationals” monster truck event on Feb. 1 & 2, 2008.

Also, the MetroCentre is home to the Rockford Ice Hogs – which makes for a tricky move in/move out job for the Live Nation staff as the race track goes in over a pro hockey-size ice rink.  “It’s always a bit hectic when you move in over an ice sheet,” said Live Nation track builder Pete Henderson. “But we’ll get ‘er done.” Note: The Ice Hogs play the Houston Aeros on Nov. 28th and Toyota AMA Arenacross’ press day is Nov. 29th – so the guys have only about 14 hours to move the dirt in and get the track suitable for Tommy Hofmaster (Pearl City, Ill.) to show off for the local TV stations!

Hammertime Sports, Inc., of Belvidere, Ill., is the presenting sponsor for the Rockford AX. Carrying a full line of Kawasaki, Yamaha and Polaris vehicles, Hammertime Sports is well known for its unparalleled customer service and returns this year as a local sponsor for Toyota AMA Arenacross in Rockford. Check ‘em out at

More about the MetroCentre: MetroCentre is short for "Rockford Metropolitan Exposition, Auditorium, and Office Building Authority.” The MetroCentre is a municipal corporation, which was established by the Rockford Civic Center Act in 1969 for the purpose of promoting, operating, and maintaining expositions, conventions, sports, and theatrical and cultural activities in the County of Winnebago, Ill. Centre Events currently owns and operates the MetroCentre, which is a 10,000-seat arena located in Downtown Rockford. Centre Events also operates the Coronado Theatre, which is a first-class performing arts and entertainment center that is owned by the City of Rockford, and we operate Davis Park at Founders Landing, which is a seven-acre outdoor venue along the Rock River that is owned by the City of Rockford and is maintained by the Rockford Park District.

Tickets for the entire Toyota AMA Arenacross Series are available online at,, For more information on the Toyota AMA National Arenacross Series log on to