Brandon Robinson on the #44 Action Motorsports/Big Dawg Racing/Metro Racing/Derby Ridge Salvage-sponsored Honda CRF450R attacks the final qualifying session at the Springfield Short Track at round 12 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season on September 15, going on to qualify for the evening in the 6th-place spot. Robinson, the former '08 Expert Twins Champion, finished out the day in great form to card a 9th-place effort in the 25-lap National main held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Multipurpose Arena.
BRob44 finally broke through last night in Daytona Beach and ran away with his first-ever AMA Grand National win at round 2 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season, to cap a remarkable return to form after his devastating crash at the '09 Indy Mile that left him recovering from multiple surgeries and months' long rehab due to injuries suffered almost 3 1/2 years earlier.
After returning to racing in the 2010 season, the lanky and likeable Pennsylvania resident took to the track fairly well in what was a hard-fought 7th-place finish at the Gas City Short Track in June '10. With up-and-down finishes throughout the rest of '10 and into '11, it was apparent that this young man had the verve, nerve and ability to reach the heights in the sport that he had tasted before that fateful night in Indy.
Signing with the rebuilding-for-2012 season Werner-Springsteen Kawasaki team, Robinson started to show those signs of on-track brilliance as early as the Springfield Mile I round in late May of last year before being involved in a first-lap crash in the National main and finishing the day off early when the 650R-based motor went south midway through the 25-lap National main. At Lima just over one month later, Robinson again met with misfortune when mechanical ills caused him to crash, again, early in the night's main event. The climb back to top form may have taken it's toll on many a rider, but not this kid.
As the season rolled on, Robinson began to show those signs of brilliance as he finally took his first top-5 effort with a great run to 4th-place at the Sacramento Mile in late July. By the time the series headed to the Lucas Oil Indy Mile in mid-August, Robinson had a smile on his face as wide as a midwest barn door, and capped his great run back to the top with his first-ever podium finish of 2nd-place at Indy, and came away with even a bigger smile from the venue that almost ended his young career. Throughout the remainder of the season, Robinson continued to improve and impress, and by the end of the season had taken the 10th-place spot in the overall season's end point standings.
Over the off-season, Robinson switched teams and signed with the newly-rebranded USC Racing team, now being headed up by T.J. Burnett Farms, and combining efforts with USC and James Hart Racing.
The team started the new year off with a bang in the first Steve Nace Racing All-Star presented by Golden Tyre event at Oglethorpe Speedway in Pooler, GA. late last week with Brandon taking wins in both the Expert Twins and Singles events, followed by another win and a 2nd-place finish at Volusia early this week.
But Robinson's break-out win last night was the true frosting on the cake for him when he made the pass on early-leader Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and went on to a rousing win over a strong field of AMA Grand National Championship-caliber riders to score his cherry-breaking victory in The Rolling Thunder Show at Daytona International Speedway. After placing 5th the evening before and having a dominant night, Robinson took charge for good last night to show that hard work, prayer and determination do pay-off. And it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!
On a side note, and not to take away from this great win by Brandon Robinson, but the ride of the night (other then the winner's!) was put in by 2-Time AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson.
Forced to race the semi after coming together with another rider in his heat and working his way back to 5th-place from his restart on the back row, Johnson started the 18-rider National main on the back row and in the 15th-place slot. Snaking and maneuvering his way through the field, Johnson capped his great run with a 4th-place finish on the night, one that champions are made of.
And after what appeared to be another 2nd-place effort in as many nights, 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Brad Baker was DQ'd on the evening after an issue involving what was reported to be the use of 'improper' equipment on his #12 Honda. As it stands of this writing, Baker is still shown and scored in the 2nd-place spot, but AMA Pro Flat Track has stripped him of his points earned on the evening. This all could change, as well, as Baker does have the right to an appeal due to some verbal misunderstanding as reported from his video interview with Miriam Deitcher's Flat Track Live.
Full results can be found here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track.
Larry Lawrence was again on-hand at Daytona last night and filed this report on round 2 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season for Cycle News.
And LL filed this story on Cycle News earlier this morning concerning the Brad Baker issue and DQ.
Mia Moore & Chew Larcom, The Fans in the Stands from FlatTrack.com, were again taking care of business with these shots from last night's Daytona Short Track II.
And here's another batch of shots from last night, again thanks to Chew & Mia!
Just added @ 5:05 PM EDT on March 16:
Brandon Robinson talks to AMA Pro Flat Track about winning his first AMA Grand National event.
This just in from Will Fulford & Yve Assad from The Fast and Dirty.com who produced these great videos for AMA Pro Flat Track:
"The jury is still out on Brad Baker's DQ in Daytona. At this moment he has lost Championship points only, he was allowed to keep the prize money for 2nd place and the Dash for Cash."
Updated Saturday, March 16 @ 8:35 PM EDT:
This just in from Miriam Deitcher's Flat Track Live: Turns out Brad Baker wasn't DQ'd during the Main last night. He was just stripped of his points. AMA Pro Racing felt his actions didn't warrant a DQ. So he gets credit for finishing 2nd and gets to keep the purse. Baker has until Tuesday at 5pm to appeal.
Double runner-up Brad Baker talks to AMA Pro Flat Track about his two-night run.
Bryan Smith talks to AMA Pro Flat Track about his great run to 3rd-place on the Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports #42 Honda.
(Thanks to Will & Yve for their great efforts and as always bitchin pics and vids! You guys rock!)
A big congratulations go out to Brandon Robinson and the T.J. Burnett Farms/USC/Hart Racing team for their big win last night in Daytona, and to all the riders, teams and sponsors, AMA Pro Flat Track, and all the fans that made last night's season kick-off complete and possible. Without a doubt, a superb start to the new season in the best racing series on wheels in the world, the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship series!
You can check out the official press release below, courtesy of the folks on Fentress Boulevard in Daytona Beach.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2013) - Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki KX450F/TJ Burnett Farms) tasted the sweet taste of victory for the first time in his young career tonight during the second round of action at the DAYTONA Flat Track. The Pennsylvanian acquired the lead on the second lap of the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles main event and never let up on the throttle from then on.
"My entire team just worked extremely hard to make this happen for me and I can't be more thankful for their support," said Robinson. "We got the setup as close to perfect as possible and everything went as smooth as we could have asked for all night. I got out front early in the main event, put in a hard 25 laps and it all paid off. My team and I have had an awesome week in general and it feels incredible to win here."
Brandon Robinson #44 executes the pass on early leader Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. #2 that would take him to the lead and his first-ever victory in The Rolling Thunder Show at round 2 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season at the Daytona Short Track II on Friday, March 15.
Robinson not only took his cherry-breaking win in the series, he also delivered for his new team, the T.J. Burnett Farms/USC Racing/James Hart Racing-sponsored Kawasaki team, who he joined during the off-season. A big congrats to the former Expert Twins Champion and to the Burnett/USC/Hart team for their hard-earned and well-deserved efforts! AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
After recording an impressive fifth place finish last night, complacency obviously wasn't an issue for Robinson tonight as he was hungry for better results and he certainly delivered. After taking the early lead from Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Chaplin Kawasaki/Kawasaki KX450F) on the very first lap, Robinson's main competitor of the night was Brad Baker (Honda CRF450R/Specialty Fabrication Incorporation). After fending off Baker's valiant attempts late in the race to overtake the lead, Robinson managed to get loose on the final lap and take the checkered flag by 1.262 seconds.
Baker, who finished in second-place last night, turned in another second-place effort tonight before an issue in post-race technical inspection resulted in the loss of points for the night's main event. Robinson now sits atop the AMA Pro Grand National Expert Championship point standings and will carry that momentum into Stockton, Calif. when the stars of the series head out west for their next event.
After getting knocked out of last night's main and finishing in 17th to start the season, Bryan Smith (Honda CRF450R/Crosley Radios) rebounded quite nicely on this go-around. The Michigan native beat out 2011 Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Honda CRF450R) to close out the podium with a third-place finish.
Final results: 1st - Robinson, 2nd - Baker, 3rd - Smith, 4th - Johnson, 5th - Rush
AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles
Jake Constantine's (Honda CRF450R/Allphase Masony & Chimney) lead was in constant expansion throughout the duration of tonight's AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles main event. The New York product captured the lead early on and never looked back. Constantine, who won the race by over a full two seconds, had never won a professional race before tonight.
"I can't even explain how I feel right now," said an ecstatic Constantine. "To come down here and win it all is the best feeling in the world. It feels great to be on this podium, let alone be at the top of it! This win was huge for me and my team because of how bad we struggled last night in the opener. I can't thank everyone enough for helping me out; this feeling is so surreal right now."
Ryan Wells (Honda CRF450R/Waters Auto Body), who was on the pole for tonight's main event, ran a solid race that landed him in second place.
Final results: 1st - Constantine, 2nd - Wells, 3rd - Poe, 4th - Maguire, 5th - Vanderkuur
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.
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org