The phrase in racing 'it's not over until it's over' proved to be very true and almost prophetic in Friday night's round 2 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season as winner Matt Weidman took his #20 SNIP/Fiorio Investments-sponsored Honda CRF450R to his maiden victory at the Daytona Short Track II event when early leader Jared Mees and Thursday night's first-time Johnny Lewis came together in the last corner of the 25-lap National main, allowing Weidman to scoot around and get his cherry-breaking win in his 5th full season of competition.
After running a strong race on Thursday to come home in 2nd behind winner Johnny Lewis (tying his previous best of 2nd place at Lima 2011), New York State's Weidman was able to up his previous best by taking advantage of the coming together of Mees and Lewis and scoot to the win in front of a highly-charged crowd at Daytona. Winning the second-fastest heat of the night, Mighty Matt also went on to take a 3rd-place finish in the Dash for Cash event behind winner Mees and runner-up Lewis.
After coming together just shy of the checkers, Mees remounted to take 2nd in the National on his #9 Montgomeryville Honda after leading the previous 24 1/2 laps, with Werner-Springsteen Racing's Brad Baker filling out the podium on the #12 Kawasaki KX450F. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. equaled his 4th-place finish from the previous night on the #2 Chaplin Kawasaki, with last year's double winner Sammy Halbert rounding out the top 5 on his #7 Fredericktown Yamaha YZ450F.
In the shot above, Matt hammers it out of turn 2 on his #20 SNIP/Shoei/R&D Springs/Silkolene-backed Honda during round 14 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season at the Peoria TT on August 21. Matt went on to a strong 7th-place finish that helped to propel him into the 8th overall spot in the season's ending standings.
Matt has done a fine job throughout his career in flat track racing, winning several championship on his way up the ladder. Joining the AMA Pro Flat Track Series for his first-full year in competition, he was awarded the 2008 AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year for his impressive efforts, and has improved his ranking in the series from 10th in the 2010 season to last year's 8th place. Supported by his Mom and Dad (Rachel and Guy) for the last several years, this year he is going it alone without the family-supported effort, and proved that no matter what, a person can overcome and take advantage of the right opportunity at the right time, as he did on Friday night.
Congrats go out to Matt for his fine first-time win last Friday, and of all the people out there, it couldn't have happened to a nicer, harder working guy who truly deserved it. Great job man! We only wish we could have been on-hand to witness it.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 17, 2012) - Round two of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com belonged to Montgomeryville Cycle Center / Lucas Oils / Rogers Lake Racing's Jared Mees for twenty four laps. Unfortunately for Mees Grand National mains are twenty five laps.
Matt Weidman took advantage of a last lap incident between Mees and Round 1 winner Johnny Lewis to secure his first Grand National win on his Greg Crow Racing / Snip / Fiorio Investments backed Honda.
Mees posted a win in the four lap Dash for Cash over Johnny Lewis (Scott Powersports / DRD / Saddlemen) and last night's second-place GNC main event finisher Matt Weidman, making him the favorite going into the final race of the night.
Mees powered into the lead at the first flash of green and pulled to a safe lead over Lewis and Rookie of the Year contender Briar Bauman. Weidman and Werner-Springsteen Racing's Brad Baker dropped Bauman back quickly. Chaplin Kawasaki's Kenny Coolbeth charged past Baker on lap three and it looked like the top five was set for the night.
Lewis inched closer and closer until he slipped inside Mees in turn one just after receiving the white flag. Not going out without a fight, Mees charged inside going into turn three and disaster struck. Lewis came out on the short end, but Mees also lost his position, with Weidman turning what looked like a certain third place finish into a victory. "I saw Johnny get inside of Jared in one, but I knew the fireworks were not over. I hate to win it like this, but I've worked a long time for it, I'll take it," said a jubilant Weidman.
"I hate it this happened, I was chasing Johnny into three and he really put the brakes on trying to be defensive," said a dejected Mees. "I would have done the same thing, but I hit him and it cost both of us the race. It was just racing."
Mees was able to scramble back for second over Baker, Coolbeth and Sammy Halbert (Fredericktown Yamaha). Briar Bauman (USC Kawasaki / Rod Lake / Brown's Cycle), Bryan Smith (American Harley-Davidson / Oasis Homes), a remounted Johnny Lewis, defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson) and Jethro Halbert (Van's Yamaha / Woody Kyle Racing) rounded out the top ten.
The Motorcycle Superstore.com Pro Singles main truly was a runaway with no drama at the end. 16-year-old Ryan Wells made his second Pro race a huge success as he pulled his Weirbach Racing / General Engineering backed Honda to a nearly three-second win as he lead all 16 laps.
While Wells was running away, there was some good racing going on behind him. LaBelle Racing's Mike LaBelle worked his way up to a solid second, leaving Hayden Gillim (Bell Helmets / Technic) and fast qualifier Jason Isennock (Foard Racing / Doghouse Customs) well behind.
Gillim's third place finish gives him the points lead in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Championship with 35 points over the two class winners, Ryan Wells and Gerit Callies. Washington's Hunter Taylor is also tied with all three for second with 24 points.
The Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com points lead belongs to Weidman as he has 48 points to Mees' 41 and Lewis's 40.
The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com will next appear at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois for their Memorial Day Weekend doubleheader (TT and Mile events).
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.
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Miriam Deitcher posted this video interview with Daytona II winner Matt Weidman on her Flat Track Live at Facebook:
Tyler Porter, who runs the excellent Fight For Dirt Track site, also put up a winner's interview with Matt Weidman at the Daytona Short Track round 2 on his YouTube site:
Bryan Harley put in this story of the Daytona Short Track round 2 event over at Motorcycle-USA.com:
Cycle News was also on-hand for the second first-time winner at the Daytona Short Track II round, and Paul Carruthers filed this report:
Chew Larcom and Mia Moore, The Fans in The Stands from FlatTrack.com., posted these pics of the day's happenings at the Daytona Short Track II, round 2 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season. Thanks guys!
AMA Pro Flat Track had their official photographer on-hand, Dave Hoenig, to take pics of the action and here is his album from Friday night's action at round 2:
Dave also has his complete results posted and his albums of shots at his official site, Flat Trak Fotos.com (he usually has his pics posted within 3-4 days of each event, so come back if they aren't up yet):
Event results from AMA Pro Flat Track (standard versions with drop-down arrow for each heat, series, etc.):
AMA Pro Flat Track complete event results, including event entry lists (PDF versions):