SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 27, 2012) - The Illinois Motorcycle Dealers Association (IMDA) welcomed AMA Pro Flat Track as the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil rolled into the Illinois State Fairground for round four of the 19 race season.
The 90+ degree Memorial Day Weekend continued with racing just as hot as the bullet-fast Springfield Mile. When the final checkered flag fell on the 25-lap National, it was flat track veteran Willie McCoy slipping his Harley-Davidson of Wausau / Independence Harley-Davidson backed XR750 across the line first.
After waiting "forever" to win his first National, this win makes it two Springfield Mile wins in a row, as McCoy used the same strategy last year: Lead the only lap that counts, the last one. "This is our 'Indy 500,' it's the race to win," said McCoy. "After I won it last year, I thought about retiring, but then I thought maybe I could just win it again. I just rode as hard I could around the outside and was able to pull it off again."
Willie McCoy takes his wife and kids on a victory lap after winning his second Springfield Mile in a row during round 4 of the 2012 season on Sunday, May 27. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
McCoy's margin of victory was a scant 17 hundredths of a second over Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson's Jake Johnson. The defending AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Champion, Johnson, edged Bryan Smith who was on the maiden voyage of the Howerton Motorsports / Eaken Racing Kawasaki by another 16 hundredths of a second.
Smith led most of the laps after taking the lead on lap 10. He led 15 laps with a five-rider pack on his heels. "A rookie mistake I guess," said Smith. "I tried to go to the bottom off four on that last lap and it just didn't work." Smith had assumed the lead on lap 10 when he passed the dueling brothers-in-law, Johnny Lewis on the Scott Powersports / Saddlemen Seats backed Kawasaki and Jake Johnson.
Also in the mix was the Factory Harley-Davison of Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and the Rogers Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson of Jared Mees. The mad dash to the finish line was McCoy, Johnson, Smith, Mees and Lewis all within 25 hundredths of the lead. Coolbeth was just outside after being bumped off the groove on the last lap.
A day after the red flag-marred TT race, today saw only one. Unfortunately it came in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Expert Main Event, as four riders fell in the first turn of the race. South East Harley-Davidson-backed Sammy Halbert, Global Products / Harley-Davidson Motor Company's Nichole Cheza, Memphis Shades' Robbie Pearson and Werner-Springsteen Racing's Brandon Robinson all hit the ground.
Halbert and Cheza were done for the day with Robinson and Pearson restarting, although neither would finish the race. Jethro Halbert (Goodwin Racing / Drew-Massa Trans), Shawn Baer (Baer Racing Products / KB5), Jeff Carver (Kiesow Racing / Hall's Cycles) and Stevie Bonsey (Dodge Brothers / Alpinstars) rounded out the top ten.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles
The highly competitive AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles 16-lap main was another barn burner and once again the victor led only the last lap. Team Cunningham Racing / Schillers Tree Service's Jake Cunningham had been in fifth place on the white flag lap, but shot his Yamaha to the front and edged Zakk Palmer (Double Dick Bandits / Western Hills Honda) by 5 thousandths of a second. Crowd favorite Shayna Texter and her DFW Honda / RLT Racing / Herr's backed Honda, Performance Cycle & Dyno / Mack Daddy Racing's Stephan Vanderkuur and Montgomeryville Cycle Center's Jake Shoemaker rounded out the top five all within 15 hundredths of a second of the leader.
Coy Mathews (King's Kustoms), John Long (Powered by Clark) and Eric Stump (Markbilt Race Bikes) filled out the lead pack, all with a shot at the win.
Point Standings and Year-End Award Updates
In the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles point standings, Gerit Callies retains his lead despite not qualifying for the main event. Cunningham's win pushes him into second over Ryan Wells and the absent Hayden Gillim, who won today's AMA Pro Road Racing race final in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class at Miller Motorsports Park. Jason Isennock moves into fifth over Hunter Taylor.
The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil point standings are now led by Jared Mees, as he holds a 14 point advantage over Matt Weidman. Johnny Lewis and Jake Johnson are tied just one point behind Weidman. Kenny Coolbeth sits in fifth, seven points behind Johnson and Lewis.
The MotoBatt "Hard Charger" Award for the Springfield Mile went to Stevie Bonsey, who started in 18th position and battled his way to finish 10th in the Expert Main Event.
Johnny Lewis now takes the lead in the Cortech "Performance Edge Award" year-end points fund chase over Sammy Halbert and Henry Wiles.
Kenny Coolbeth continues to lead the Sunoco "Go the Distance Award" year-end points fund chase by having logged 208 laps for 103 miles. Bryan Smith sits in second place with 203 laps and 101.5 miles and Jared Mees in third at 202 laps and 100 miles. The "Go the Distance Award" is given to the Expert rider that covers the most distance during the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track season.
In AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles, Wyatt Maguire leads the Sunoco "Go the Distance Award" with 139 laps, accumulating 65 miles. Jason Isennock is in second with 134 laps and 64.25 miles and Eric Stump in third with 109 laps and 64 miles.
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