2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year Brad Baker runs it in hard during the final qualifying session at round 12 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season at the Springfield Short Track in route to a 2nd-place qualifying position behind 2-Time and defending AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson.
The Washington State resident went on to take his #12 Brothers Powersports/D&D Exhaust/Schenk Racing Enterprise/Boughner Racing Suspension-sponsored Honda CRF450R to the win in his heat race and a pair of 2nd-place finishes in the Dash for Cash and the 25-lap National main, behind winner Henry Wiles after leading the majority of the main event.
'The Bullet' had an excellent start to the 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Championship season at rounds 1 & 2 in Daytona in mid-March, finishing 2nd in both Nationals held at the Daytona International Speedway short track. However, after round 2 he was demoted to a 'DNF' status after a misinterpretation of the rules concerning his forks on his 2013 Honda.
Check out the full press release below to get filled in from 'The Bullet' as to what transpired in Daytona and how the first two races of the season went for the former rookie of the year.
Press release courtesy of Brad 'The Bullet' Baker, AMA Grand National #12 and the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Saddlemen Rookie of the Year.
Daytona Short Track 2013 Round 1&2 AMA Pro Flat Track
The beginning of the year excitement is one of my favorite feelings. When you hit the track in Daytona you have a clean slate from the seasons past and it’s just the beginning of the next 7 months of great racing! I always look forward to the Daytona rounds, it is a track that has always seemed to treat me well as I have not finished outside the top-5 there since I began my Pro career in 2009.
This year was no different. I had some pretty good momentum going into the series this year. I raced almost every weekend throughout the off-season and trained as much as I could in between getting everything ready. Not to mention, I had just come off a second place at the Savannah, Georgia half-mile and a win at the Volusia Speedway short track in the AMA All Star Series previous that week.
Round 1 started off a little shaky when I qualified outside the top 10. I quickly turned it up a notch by having an awesome battle with Jake Johnson #5 in the heat race, earning myself a spot in the Dash for Cash and a front row start for the main event. In the Dash we were all stacked on top of each other like we were dominos! I got shuffled around a little and ended up 5th in the short 4-lap race, earning my first championship point of the year.
When the main rolled around it was go time! I nailed an awesome start getting to turn one second right behind the Grand National Champion, Jared Mees. I followed him down the back stretch and then squared him up coming off turn 4 rocketing past him for the lead going past the start/finish line. For the next 17 laps I just tried to stay consistent and hit my marks and I guess I had a pretty good sized lead for a while.
That changed when my good friend and fierce competitor Mikey Rush #54 started applying the heat on my rear wheel pretty hard. Mikey is an awesome rider and when I slipped just a little wide going into turn 3 on lap 18 he was there to take the spot. I stayed pretty much even with Mikey for the remaining laps he was riding great and I ended up second. Although, I fell short of my first win once again it was a great way to start off the year and I went into the next day in 3rd-place in championship points!
On the morning of round 2 I was a man on a mission! I knew exactly what I had to do and I was ready to succeed in my goal. In qualifying I set fast time in all three rounds and set pole for the heat races. In the heats, I lined up right next to my biggest competitor from the previous night, Mikey Rush!
Unfortunately, Mikey went down going into turn one also taking Jake Johnson with him. We all found out that the track was way slicker then it had ever been throughout both nights of racing and we were going to have to adjust our riding a little. I nailed the hole shot on the restart and went on to win heat 1 and also set pole for the Dash for Cash and the main event!
In the Dash, I again nailed the hole shot but I had Brandon Robinson #44 right behind applying the pressure. I put in four solid laps and earned my second Dash for Cash win of my career and an extra 5 points in the championship hunt!
Come main event time as you can imagine I was more determined than ever! I decided to switch up my starting position from the pole position to complete outside position. I thought this was a smart call because there was a lot of rubber being laid down on the outside and Jared Mees had nailed the hole shot from the outside on the previous night.
I ended up getting off the line about third but I was on the outside. Another rider came up the inside of Henry Wiles and rammed into him hard! I was on the outside of Henry so this sent both of us way up the race track. I crossed the start/finish on the first lap in about 6th-place I believe. By lap 3 or 4 I had already moved up to second place and I had my sights set on the leader which was #44 Brandon Robinson. I closed the gap at the beginning of the race but about midway through we were about dead even on our lap times. He would make a little slip and I would gain some ground but then I would make a mistake and he would gain it right back. Eventually, I just ran out of laps and I came home in another second place position! I never got my first win like I wanted but I got to witness another great friend get their first win, so that was cool. I was also very happy and proud of myself because I had realized that I had the championship point’s lead moving on to round 3 of the AMA Pro Flat Track GNC Series!
As they say though, great things always come to an end! When I got back to the pits I was informed by the AMA Pro Racing staff that a protest was posted against me for a non-homologated coating that I was running on my fork tubes. At first, I thought I was okay because I had spoken to Al Ludington (AMA Pro Racing’s technical director) about possibly using a set of forks that had D.L.C.-coated fork tubes at Daytona.
The reason why I decided to use the forks in the first place was because they were an older conventional/spring set of forks that I had for a back up in case I encountered a problem with the new air forks that come on the 2013 Honda CRF450. The only problem with this situation was that the only extra set of older forks I had available to me had D.L.C.-coated fork tubes, which violates rule 5.5. B in the rule book. It wasn’t that I encountered a major problem with the air forks but with how the track conditions were shaping up at Daytona and I knew I would feel more safe and comfortable running the older spring/conventional forks, so I switched to them throughout the program of round 2.
What I understood during the conversation between Al Ludington and myself was that I could switch to the forks that had the D.L.C coating at any time whatever the reason may be and I would be safe from any protest. Al recalls telling me that the only circumstance that I could use the forks was if I had a mechanical failure and I had to contact him before I used them. Regardless of it being a misunderstanding between myself and AMA Pro Racing, I was still stripped of all my championship points from round two’s main event. I have decided to file an appeal to AMA Pro Racing. The appeal wasn’t to bash on AMA Pro Racing at all, I appreciate all their hard work they put in to further our sport! I just think that since it was a misunderstanding between both of us and that D.L.C. coating is a minimal-to-no-performance advantage that I don’t deserve that severe of a punishment. As we all know, one point can determine a championship, let alone 19!
In Conclusion, whether the appeal falls in my favor and my punishment is dropped to a less-severe punishment and I get my points back I am proud of myself and my team and all the hard work we put in to start off the year with a bang like we did!
This just in Tuesday, April 2, 2013 @ 8:30 EDT:
Brad Baker #12 AMA Pro Racing Daytona Short Track II Protest/Appeal Conclusion
Schenk Racing Enterprises, Sefnco Communications, Specialty Fabrication Incorporation, Silkolene Lubricants, Boughner Racing Suspension, EBC Brakes, Brother Powersports, Dodge Bros Racing, Motion Pro, CP Carrillo, D&D Exhaust, Fusion Graphix, Saddlemen, K&N Air Filters, Arai Helmets, YSR, Crank Works Incorporation, Micro Blue Racing, Cometic Gaskets, Perrys Harley Davidson, MVR, Jack MIlls, Defy All Odds, Light Shoe, 100%, Oneal USA, Sparkplugs.com, Atlas Brace Technologies, Matrix Concepts, Alpinestars, Micah Racing Services, KIbblewhite, Major League Motorsports, Spencer Aircraft, Paint By Smokey, Rockstar Powder Coating, Renthal, PMP Sprockets, Eddie Mulder 12, Devol Engineering, Mototassinari, Loudmouth MX, DandW Racing, Boysen, Acerbis, PMP Sprockets, Moto Hose, Bam it All and Pacific Auto Trim.