Willie McCoy celebrates on top of the podium after taking his second win-in-a-row at the Springfield Mile on Sunday, May 27 in round 4 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season. McCoy worked with the lead group of riders during the 25-lap National main, and slowly edged his way towards the front with less then five laps to go, and when it counted coming off of turn 4 on the last lap took the inside line splitting 2nd-place finisher Jake Johnson and 3rd-place finisher Bryan Smith to pull the win out of his hat by .017 seconds over Jersey Jake and .033 seconds over Flyin' Bryan.
In a day full of feel-good stories to go along with McCoy's second win of his 26 year career on his #59 Harley-Davidson of Wausau/Independence H-D/Tucker Rocky/Arai-sponsored XR750, among them including Clermont, IN. resident and former 3-Time AMA Grand National winner Dan Ingram making his first Expert National main event in 19 years on the TCR H-D XR750 (and finishing in the 11th spot), Smith winning his heat and the Dash for Cash event on the new Howerton Products Kawasaki, and Johnson returning to the podium on Sunday after also finishing in 2nd-place at the Springfield TT the night before after a very rough start to the season at the Daytona Short Track openers.
Also of note for the day, fast qualifier Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports Kawasaki finishing in the 5th spot, and Michigan resident Nichole Cheza qualifying 2nd on the day. Nichole eventually made the main event, but was involved in a first turn, first lap accident that saw her, Brandon Robinson, Rob Pearson and Sammy Halbert involved in an incident that saw Sammy go into the air fence hard and Nichole suffer what is now being called a lower-back fracture, that fortunately isn't going to need surgery and will reportedly see her back on-track within a month or so. Only Robinson made the re-start after being roughed up on the #44 Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki, but dropped out of the National main wih 13 laps to go. Halbert was reported in sore shape, resting last night with a cooler-full of ice packs in his hotel at Springfield. No word on Pearson's condition, but he appeared to be just real roughed-up when coming back to the front straight after the incident, and his #27 Memphis Shades XR looking like a pretzel after the incident. (Footnote-Rob Pearson did make the re-start but only made a lap or two before pulling in. Nichole did go to the doctor on Tuesday 5/29 and will be okay but is limited to bed rest for the next month or so.)
But it was the 42 year young McCoy who stole the show again, and showed the large crowd on-hand at the Illinois State Fairgrounds that in spite of his limited racing schedule, when he's on a mile track that he's a big force to be reckoned with. He celebrated by taking his wife and his tuner/helper on a victory lap, each one individually to the delight of the paying crowd and his fans and friends alike in the pit area.
A total of 53 Experts were entered for Sunday's mile event and first Twins Series event of the season, but several didn't compete for various reasons. Chad Cose, who took a nasty fall in the previous night's TT, experienced some sort of electrical problem with his new Kawasaki that kept him out of action, PJ Jacobsen who also took a nasty hit at the TT sat out the day, and JR Schnabel, Jr. who broke a couple of lower back bones and was due to have surgery before the first of the week.
After coming off turn 4 on the 25th lap of the National main, early leader Bryan Smith on the #42 Howerton Motorsports/Eaken Racing Kawasaki/Midwest Performance Hardware/Guts Wear-backed Kawasaki 650R-based mount went low and eventual winner McCoy split him and defending 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750 to seal the win. This is the final run to the checkered flag, just over 150 feet away.
Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Saddlemen/National Cycle-backed XR750 finished .233 seconds behind McCoy, with fast-qualifier Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports/Saddlemen Seats/Wallace Trucking/AXO-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based mount another .014 seconds behind Jammin' Jared.
While McCoy led the lap that counted and Johnson leading a lap, lap-leader Smith led 15 laps on his mile special built by Ricky Howerton, and Lewis showed his rise to dominance in the Twins Series events in leading 8 laps on the day.
Here's the full results as provided by AMA Pro Flat Track, and we'll have more as the week goes on to highlight the great Memorial Day Weekend of action at the annual Springfield gathering:
You can also read a rundown of the race thanks to my traveling buddy and good friend, Larry Lawrence, who covered the weekend's events for Cycle News: