Brad Baker on the #1 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin' Eagle Racing Parts-sponsored factory XR750 started from the second row in the 8th spot of the grid and worked his way to the front to take the lead and the win over runner-up and new 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship points leader Jared Mees by just over 1.6 seconds. The points leader going into the race, Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio-backed Kawasaki, started smoking towards the end of the 25-lap Grand National main and was given the black flag, but reportedly didn't recognize it with only two laps remaining and was stripped of his initial second-place finish and DQ'd from the race, thus handing the series lead over to 2012 AMA Grand National Champion Mees.
Jake Johnson on the #5 Ramspur Winery/Lloyd Brothers Motorsports-sponsored H-D XR750 continued his season strong run of podium finishes to bring the most diversified team in the paddock home in th e 3rd-place spot. With the DQ of Smith and Mees runner-up finish, the points took a swing with Mees now leading Smith 260-247 and Johnson hanging tough in the third spot with 244 points heading into the final round of the season on October 11 at the Pomona Half-Mile Flat Track Finals.
Dash for Cash winner Sammy Halbert brought his #7 South East H-D home in the 4th-place spot, with Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing XR rounding out the top-5. Fast qualifier Doug Lawrence on his #73 Lawrence Racing XR brought it home in 6th-place, Jake Shoemaker in his second time aboard the #55 USC Racing Kawasaki took home 7th, Jeffrey Carver, Jr. on the #23 Dan Dafner XR was 8th, Brandon Robinson improved his Springfield Mile II finish of 10th-place back on the #44 TJ Burnett Farms Kawasaki to grab 9th-place and Henry Wiles rounded out the top-10 on the #17 Don's Kawasaki.
In the shot above, Brad Baker gets low on the tank on the front straight on the #1 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin' Eagle Racing Parts/Dunlop Tire-sponsored XR750 during the first practice session of the day at the legendary Indy Mile during round 11 of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship on August 8 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Defending champion Baker's win was a great shot in the arm for the former 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year after a season of more downs than ups for the 21 year-old Washington State resident. After injuring in arm in a training accident several weeks before the Springfield Mile I, Baker has fought hard through the physical and mechanical challenges that have faced him in his championship defense, and has moved himself into the 5th-place spot in the overall championship standings with just the Pomona round remaining in just 13 days.
The feel good story of the weekend saw Dashin' Davis Fisher return to the track in his first race since his last-lap get off at the Indy Mile round of the AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Championship where he had taken a massive body slam coming out of the fourth turn on the final lap of the Pro Singles main event.
Fisher, aboard the #67M TJ Burnett Farms Kawasaki, came out of the gate on top right off the bat in his return to action to take fast time in qualifying and win his first heat aboard the TJ Burnett rocket over championship points leader Kyle Johnson. Fisher then went on to take his first win of the year and his young and promising career, as well as his first for team owner Burnett after missing the Virginia Pro Singles round and the non-points paying Pro Twins round at the Springfield Mile II in late August.
In the shot above, Dashin' Davis is shown on the #67M TJ Burnett Farms/Bob Lanphere's Beverton Motorcycles/Dan Wall Racing-sponsored Kawasaki heading out for the first practice session of the day in the AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Twins Series at the Springfield Mile I on May 25. In his only appearance on the big twin this season, Fisher showed he has what it takes to compete on all levels in The Rolling Thunder Show's junior series by taking his heat win and bringing it home in the 2nd-place spot behind another of the series's young contenders, Jarod Vanderkooi.
With his great win last night at Calistoga, and in spite of missing the Virginia round, Fisher made a big move into the 2nd-place spot of the Pro Singles Championship battle gaining serious ground on points leader Kyle Johnson, after Johnson's crash in the Pro Singles main. Johnson now only holds a slim 6-point lead over Fisher (172-166 points) with just the Pomona round remaining and has more than shown team owner TJ Burnett that he made a wise choice in bringing the young, hard charger and Washington State resident to his stellar team. Coupled with the tutelage he has received from Burnett, and team mate Brandon Robinson, Fisher has a very promising future in the greatest racing series on two wheels in the world and adds another big-time element to the future of the sport. And whichever way things go in Pomona in just under two weeks, next season's battle for the Pro Singles title between Fisher and Vanderkooi should make the great racing seen in the junior series even more exciting then what it is already.
A big shout out to Brad 'The Bullet' Baker and Dashin' Davis Fisher and big congrats for making it a double Washington State victory last night in California and for putting on a great show for all of the fans and showing anyone with a pulse that the action to be seen in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship is unmatched in any sport on wheels in the world!
|CALISTOGA, Calif. (Sept. 27, 2014) - The battle for the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert title took an unexpected turn in Saturday's Ramspur Winery Calistoga Half-Mile at Calistoga Speedway in California's wine country.|
Brad Baker took the checkered flag and claimed his first victory of 2014 on the No. 1 Factory Harley-Davidson, but championship leader Bryan Smith was disqualified for failing to heed a black flag after his No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki started smoking.
Jared Mees finished second on his No. 9 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson and will take a 13-point lead over Smith into the final round, the Flat Track Finals at the LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif., on Oct. 11.
"It's been an up-and-down season for both me and the team," Baker said. "We knew we had what it took and it was just lining all the pieces together." Baker started eighth but expertly carved through the field. He was sitting third when Jake Johnson passed Mees for the lead. Baker would eventually make his way around both, then cruise to a 1.634-second victory. I finally got by (Mees) and was able to pick off my own pace," Baker said. "I got by Jake at the end and I just came into my own and starting putting down consistent laps. It feels amazing putting this Harley-Davidson XR750 on top of the box."
Brad Baker #1 on the factory Harley-Davidson XR750 works his way around Jake Johnson #5 on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports XR750 in route to taking the lead and the win in last night's action at the Ramspur Winery Calistoga Half-Mile. It was Baker's first win of the season after a rough and tumble year for the defending Grand National Champion. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
Baker's last win before Saturday was the 2013 season finale at Pomona, where he wrapped up his GNC title. It's the third GNC victory of his career.
Smith was running in the top five when his bike started to smoke, bringing out the black flag. He took the checkered running in second position, but the finish was erased because he failed to take his bike off the track. "It's unfortunate, I know we're in a real big battle, and he and I are good buddies," Mees said. "I know that wasn't what he wanted to see tonight."
Johnson took third place points on his No. 5 Ramspur Winery Harley-Davidson and kept himself alive in the championship hunt. The Pennsylvanian is 16 points behind Mees and just three in back of Smith.
Sammy Halbert won the Dash For Cash on his No. 7 South East Harley-Davidson, which had an enormous purse thanks to an additional $5,000 provided by Specialty Fabrications. Halbert went on to finish fourth in the main, capping a solid event for the Washington native. Kenny Coolbeth rounded out the top five on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
After coming so close so many times this year, Davis Fisher claimed his first AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles victory of his career. In the process, he catapulted himself back into title contention. The pilot of the No. 67M T.J. Burnett Farms Honda held off a hard charge from Jarod Vanderkooi on his 17F Johnny's Vintage Motorcycles Honda to finally take the checkered flag. Ryan Foster placed his No. 23Y Thresher Communications Honda third. Before Saturday, Fisher recorded five second place finishes.
"It feels great, I feel like I broke through the wall and I can start moving forward," Fisher said. "If I can maybe win Pomona, that would be awesome." Fisher had to be on point with his starts since the race was restarted three times due to crashes. He did get out to the front each start and led the entire main event. "I led the whole race, I knew I had Jarod behind me," Fisher said. "I just put my head down a little bit."
Kyle Johnson held a 20-point lead over Ryan Wells coming into Calistoga, but crashed out of the main event. Fisher moved into second in the title chase and sits six points back of Johnson. Wells, on the No. 94B KTM, finished 13th and is 16 points behind Johnson, pilot of the No. 77 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda.
Vanderkooi looked to be reeling Fisher in, but a last-lap attempt to make a run ended in a scary moment and caused Vanderkooi to slip back and give Fisher a comfortable lead when he crossed the finish line. "I kept going harder and harder, gaining momentum on Davis," Vanderkooi said. "But I got too high, it was a little slick up there, and I about high sided down the back straightaway. It scared me for a minute, I thought I was going down. But awesome ride for Davis."
Ryan Kearns was fourth on his No. 99Y Josh Chisum Yamaha, and Bronson Bauman finished fifth aboard his No. 30Z Rod Lake Racing Honda.
Top five finishers in AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Main
1. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
2. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
3. Jake Johnson (Harley-Dasvidson)
4. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
5. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert points top five
1. Jared Mees 260
2. Bryan Smith 247
3. Jake Johnson 244
4. Kenny Coolbeth 208
5. Brad Baker 183
Top five finishers in AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles
1. Davis Fisher (Honda)
2. Jarod Vanderkooi (Honda)
3. Ryan Foster (Honda)
4. Ryan Kearns (Yamaha)
5. Bronson Bauman (Honda)
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles points top five
1. Kyle Johnson 172
2. Davis Fisher 166
3. Ryan Wells 156
4. Bronson Bauman 147
5. Jarod Vanderkooi 134
The stars of AMA Pro Flat Track head to Southern California for the Flat Track Finals at the LA County Fairplex on Oct. 11. On-track action is set for 3 p.m. PT (6 p.m. ET) with opening ceremonies scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m. PT (9:30 ET). The Pro Singles main event is set to go green at 9 p.m. PT (midnight ET) and the Expert main will follow at 9:30 p.m. PT (12:30 a.m. ET).
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
AMA Pro Flat Track is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2014 schedule consists of 16 rounds on the country's finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org