SMI’s Steve McLaughlin to Undergo Open Heart Surgery
Chris Agajanian to serve as acting director for the Sacramento Mile
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (July 16, 2014) – Steve McLaughlin, on the
verge of promoting his first AMA Pro Grand National at the Sacramento Mile
through his company SMI, suffered a heart attack at his home in Germany and is
scheduled for open-heart surgery on Thursday, July 17. As a result McLaughlin
will not be able to attend this year’s Sacramento Mile, on July 26. McLaughlin
has asked well-known former race promoter Chris Agajanian to fill in as acting
director of the event.
“It’s something you never expect to happen,” McLaughlin said from
his hospital room in Germany. “I was looking forward to coming to California
this week and overseeing the race, but my doctors tell me I won’t be up to
traveling for a month or so after this surgery. I’m going to miss getting to
see all the SMI staff, the Cal Expo staff I’ve worked so closely with and of
course the fans and riders who are going to make this year’s Sacramento Mile a
“I’m grateful to Chris for stepping up to come in at the last
minute and serving as director of the event. He is the first one I thought of
when I realized I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my duties in person, but I wasn’t
sure he’d agree to it or not. I was relieved when he told me he’d be happy to
Agajanian is a veteran racing promoter who grew up learning race
promotions under his legendary father, Motorcycle Hall of Famer J.C. Agajanian.
After college Chris began a successful career in the music industry working for
Warner Bros. Records, but it wasn’t long before his family’s business came
calling. In the early 1970s his father asked Chris to come to work for him full
time and he became General Manager and Vice President of Agajanian Enterprises
while taking on the duties of owner/operator at the legendary Ascot Raceway in
Agajanian worked his way up through the family business and went
on to head the company for years, successfully promoting AMA Grand National
races such as the Sacramento Mile, the Dallas Mile, the Seattle Mile and the
Del Mar Mile as well as other venues such as Knoxville, Iowa, Denver and
Las Vegas. For his outstanding work Agajanian received the prestigious Promoter
of the Year Award from the American Motorcycle Association. His company was
bought out by Clear Channel in 2000. He served as the President of that
company’s Dirt Track Division for five years.
“I thought I’d escaped this madness,” Agajanian joked when he was
asked by McLaughlin to direct the event. “But in all seriousness, I’m happy to
come in and help Steve. He’s been a friend for years and that’s what we do in
the motorcycle racing fraternity – we come together and make things work when a
colleague has a time of need. Steve has assembled a great team to promote this
event. I’ve worked with many of the staff before and it looks like things are
going to be pretty seamless. I think Steve just wanted someone there who’d been
through it all before and could answer questions should they come up and I’m
happy to do whatever I can to help this be a successful event. We all wish
Steve a speedy recovery.”
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.
Visit us at: http://www.sactomile.com/
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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.