Round 10 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season saw the return of the Lucas Oil Indy Mile to the series' schedule after the abrupt cancelation of the 2011 event due to the unfortunate aftermath of the stage rigging collapse just days earlier at the Sugarland concert held during the Indiana State Fair.
With The Rolling Thunder Show back on-track after a one-year hiatus, the racing returned as did the crowds, helped out by the 5th Annual Red Bull Indy MotoGP being held just down the road at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Heat two action gets off to a roaring start as AMA Pro Flat Track official flagman Kevin Clark hits the button on the Christmas tree to kick-off the 8-lap sprint to help determine the 18-rider National main event line up. With first-year Expert and 2011 Pro Singles runner-up Mikey Avila getting the jump on the #33E SDI/Bisha Racing/Alpinestars/Arai-sponsored XR750, the rest of the front row follows suit.
Morton, Illinois resident Rob Pearson on the #27 Roeder Racing/Eaken Racing/Moose/PMS-backed XR, Henry Wiles on the #17 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Ramspur Winery/Foremost Insurance Group/ENI USA-sponsored Ducati, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Screamin' Eagle/Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Fox/Arai-sponsored factory XR, Sammy Halbert on his #7 South East H-D/The South Ass/Mo Vaughn Transport/LZ Racing-backed XR, and 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored XR750 drop the hammer in unison. Cory Texter on the #65 Eaken Racing Kawasaki/RLT Racing/Herr's/Invisible Glass-sponsored 650R and Chaz Springsteen on the #29J Dan Dafner/TCR/Arai/Jay Springsteen-sponsored XR can be seen coming off of row 2.
Johnson made this one his own 'show me the money' race in running away with an over 3.4 second win over runner-up Halbert. Coolbeth and Wiles rounded out the top-4 who were set for the National, while the rest headed to a semi.
At the end of the night, Johnson had a horrible night in crashing out while racing with Bryan Smith on the #42 Crosley/Howerton rocket Kawi in the main, Sammy went on to take his first-ever mile event win and rounded out his dirt track 'grand slam,' Coolbeth took home a great 5th-place finish in his first race back after earlier in the season breaking his leg, and Wiles took his second-best result of the season in finishing 4th in a superb ride on the Big Red LBM Italian 'L' twin.
Rob Pearson, who was supposed to be riding the Memphis Shades H-D, had to work a deal with Skip Eaken Racing at Indy after the Memphis Shades hauler broke down in route to Indy, and at the end of the night had raced both the XR and Eaken's bright orange and white Kawasaki. Pearson rode the Roeder/Eaken XR to a 3rd-place finish in the semi, and then hopped on the Kawi in the main to take it to a strong 7th-place finish after Texter failed to qualify for the main. Avila came home in the 12th-placed spot.
Brandon Robinson on the #44 Werner-Springsteen Racing/Sponseller/Wossner Pistons/Big Dawg Racing-sponsored Kawasaki leads Dan Ingram on the #31J TCR/Zanna Racing/Indy Southside H-D/Tucker Rocky-backed XR750 and Willie McCoy on his #59 Harley-Davidson of Wausau/Independence H-D/Tucker Rocky/Arai-sponsored XR750 during one of the qualifying sessions at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on August 18, 2012.
Round 10 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com season saw Robinson put in the best ride of his career on the Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki, leading several laps and almost pulling out the upset win over eventual winner Sammy Halbert. As the season progressed, Robinson got better and better on the Green Machine and elevated himself back to contending status in the Expert class. And returning to the track that almost ended it all for him just three years earlier and having such a great run to 2nd-place on the night had to be a great shot in the arm for the Pennsylvania resident.
Talking about returns, local Clermont, Indiana resident Ingram returned to the Indiana State Fairgrounds mile oval 20 years after having previously raced at his hometown track. Injured in a racing crash at Springfield in the spring of '93, Dapper Dan was able to mount a return to the series that also almost ended it all for him almost two decades ago, when he made his return to the Expert ranks at Springfield in late May.
After looking strong early in his heat race, Ingram lowsided out of turn two after close contact with Brad Baker, and was forced to run the semi. But the Hometown Hero didn't disappoint as he went on to win that semi race much to the roaring approval of the packed house on hand. Getting the loudest ovation all night, seeing Ingram's elation on the podium alone was worth the price of admission. Unfortunately his night ended after just one lap in the 25-lap National main when his motor went south on his Tom & Nicky Cummings-prepped XR. But at the end of the day, everyone in the house knew that the former 3-time AMA Grand National Championship race winner was back where he belonged, and in a big way!
McCoy had an off-night for the long time veteran and mile specialist. After winning the previous two events at the Springfield Mile, Willie was a stout favorite coming into the night's action held the same weekend as the 5th Annual Red Bull Indy MotoGP just a few miles down the road at The Brickyard. Coming out of the semi to make the 18-rider National main, McCoy's mount went south 18 laps in and was credited with an unlucky 13th-place finish.
So it's not like I've given any spoilers away here (since this race ran almost three months ago) but you would be well advised to catch MavTV's coverage of the Lucas Oil Indy Mile when it airs next week. In another stellar event put on by the Blue Crew, AMA Pro Flat Track did a superb job of showcasing the best racing show on wheels in the world in front of a big international crowd.
Check out the press release below from AMA Pro Flat Track to get your DVRs set now, you won't be disappointed in this one as it is a must-see event--again!
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 13, 2012) - AMA Pro Flat Track's racing action from the Lucas Oil Indy Mile will be aired this Thanksgiving (November 22) evening at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT with a re-airing at 12:00 a.m. ET midnight.
Jake Johnson #1 leads Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2, Sammy Halbert #7, Rob Pearson #27 and Mikey Avila #33E early in the running of heat 2 at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on August 18, 2012. MavTV and AMA Pro Flat Track announced today that MavTV will be broadcasting this great event on November 22 at 9:00 PM EST. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
How to catch the action:
Find out how to get MAVTV by going to http://mavtv.com/get-mavtv.html
MAVTV is available nationwide on:
Please check your local listings for a channel line-up to find MAVTV. Search Lucas Oil Motorsports Hour or Motorsports Hour if you don't see the program listed.
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