Mikey Rush on the #54 Machete Energy Drink/GP Sports/AAA RV/LGR Racing-sponsored Honda CRF450R lays down a qualifying lap at the Springfield Short Track during round 12 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season, good enough to put him in the 10th-place spot out of the 48 riders that qualified for what would be the final short track National at Springfield for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately for the California rider, he would later in the evening be seriously injured in his heat race crash that would put him on the sidelines for the rest of the season and well into the off-season.
But the youngster who won his first (and up until last night, only) AMA Grand National event at the old Municipal Stadium at Daytona back in 2007, came roaring back last night to win his second-ever race in round 1 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season, besting early leader and 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year, Brad Baker, with an inside move pass on lap 18 that would leave him in charge until the checkers flew at the end of the 25-lap National main.
Rush bested a field of National caliber talent, with Baker ending up in the 2nd-place spot, 2012 AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees in 3rd, 2-Time AMA Grand National Singles Series Champion Henry Wiles in 4th, and Brandon Robinson rounding out the top-5.
In a side note, the ride of the night was probably put in by 2008 AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year, Matt Weidman, who brought his #20 DFW Honda from the back row to a 6th-place finish after having to win his semi to qualify for the main after losing his shock in his heat race and being forced to race his back-up mount.
Racing resumes today at Daytona with practice scheduled to start at 3:00 PM EDT. SpeedTV is scheduled to show highlights of both night's events on Sunday, March 17 at 6:00 PM EDT, and you don't want to miss the happenings going on in the best racing series on wheels in the world!
Full results from last night's opening round of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season can be found here, with a big thanks and shout-out to AMA Pro Flat Track!
AMA Pro Flat Track posted this video of Mikey Rush celebrating at Daytona last night.
Larry Lawrence was on the scene last night covering the action for Cycle News, and filed this race report.
A big thanks to Mia Moore and Chew Larcom, The Fans in the Stands for FlatTrack.com, for these great pics from Daytona yesterday.
And another great round of shots from the action at Daytona yesterday, again thanks to Chew and Mia!
Check out the full press release below from AMA Pro Flat Track, and get ready to follow the action again today as the riders get ready to go at it for round 2 of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season.
Mikey Rush Rips Late Lead to Win Season Opener at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla (March 14, 2013) - It was an uncharacteristically cold night under the lights at DAYTONA Flat Track for the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles season opener. Fans witnessed Mikey Rush (Machete Energy/Honda CRF450R) capture the Grand National checkered flag in what proved to be an impressive showdown between several prominent riders.
Lap 18 is what told the story in tonight's 25 lap shootout. Brad Baker (Specialty Fabrication Incorporation/Honda CRF450R) seemed to have everything under control until that particular lap when Rush edged him out on turn four to steal the lead and surrender nothing for the final seven laps.
"First of all, I just want to say that I love Daytona, this place is extremely special to me," said Rush. "Brad made it extremely difficult for me tonight but I was lucky to make that pass late in the race and eventually stick it for the win. The feeling I have right now is incredible and I love competing against these guys."
Rush's surgical pass of Baker on lap 18 was a game-changer and it's safe to say that the Californian was telling the truth when he stated that Daytona is a special place to him, as his only two professional wins have come at this venue. Rush won at the Municipal Stadium circuit in Daytona back in 2007 and again here tonight.
Mikey Rush #54 is shown making the pass for the lead on early leader Brad Baker #12 during the season-opening round of the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season at the Daytona Short Track I on Thursday, March 14. Action continues today with practice scheduled to start at 3:00 PM EDT, as the riders gear up for round 2 at the Daytona International Speedway-hosted event. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
"So close but so far away," said a discouraged Baker. "I felt him breathing down my neck and unfortunately I let him slip by. I have to give Mikey credit for running an excellent race though, he deserves it. I look forward to giving it another shot tomorrow night."
Defending 2012 AMA Pro Grand National Champion and tonight's Dash for Cash winner Jared Mees (Montgomeryville Cycle/Honda CRF450R) got the holeshot in the main event but surrendered it immediately to Baker. However, Mees battled it out until the very end and came away with an impressive third place finish.
Final results: 1st - Rush, 2nd - Baker, 3rd - Mees, 4th - Wiles, 5th - Robinson
AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles
In his first career race as a professional, Kyle Johnson (Boughner Racing/Kawasaki KX450F) took no prisoners Thursday night as he cruised to a dominating victory. Johnson was the only rider in the field mounted on a Kawasaki and he took full advantage of the power it produced.
Johnson, who started on the pole, got the holeshot to begin the race, only to see defending 2012 AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles Champion Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda CRF450R) crash and force a complete restart. Johnson, however, didn't lose focus as he repeated with yet another holeshot on the second go-around. On lap three, Mike Poe (CCBC/Honda CRF450R) robbed Johnson of the lead only to forfeit it back to Johnson on lap 11. The rest of the race was seemingly uncontested for Johnson, as he won by over a full second.
"I couldn't be more satisfied with the way I performed tonight," said Johnson. "My bike was unbelievable and everything really came together when it mattered the most. I reclaimed the lead late in the race and that was all I needed to close it out. I'm feeling great about the win right now and can't wait to get back out there again."
One man's success is another man's disappointment. Reigning champ Vanderkuur had high hopes going in to the season opener after coming off of the best year of his burgeoning career in 2012. However, the Missouri product had two on-track mishaps that knocked him out of the main event. Look for Vanderkuur to bounce back tomorrow night in round two.
Final results: 1st - Johnson, 2nd - Isennock, 3rd - Poe, 4th - Wilhelm, 5th - Spencer Jr.
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