Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. took a big step today towards earning the 2014 AMA Grand National Championship in romping to the win in round 4 of the season at the Knoxville Half-Mile. Coolbeth, on his #2 Zanotti Racing/Dave Atherton-tuned Harley-Davidson XR750, set sail from the start and took the win by just shy of 3.2 seconds over runner-up and fast qualifier and pole sitter Jake Johnson on the #5 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/Brent Armbruster-tuned XR.
Coolbeth's win was his second of the season after winning the Daytona Short Track II round on March 14, and has finished no worse than second in the last three events after garnering a lowly, for him 17th-place finish in the Daytona Short Track I season-opening race. After parting company with the Harley-Davidson factory team at the end of last year's season and a seven-year relationship with the Milwaukee-based team, the King of Cool hooked up with the Zanotti team, three time winners of the AMA Grand National Championship, and has looked all but untouchable since finding his groove in Daytona.
In the shot above, Kenny, Jr. and his lovely wife discuss strategy with Kenny, Sr. for the upcoming first qualifying session at the Springfield Mile I on May 25. Coolbeth went on to finish in second-place at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on the #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives Honda-sponsored H-D XR750.
Coolbeth now takes a eight point lead in the overall championship over Jake Johnson (80-72) heading into round 5 of the season at the Lima Half-Mile on June 28. Sammy Halbert, who finished in 3rd-place today, also now sits in the 3rd-place in the championship standings another eight points in arrears of Johnson, with today's 4th-place finisher Jared Mees another six points back in fourth place in the standings.
Full results of today's events can be found here thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track, and Cycle News has a short synopsis of the race that can be read here, and you can check out the press release below from AMA Pro Flat Track as we get geared up to do some cushion pushin' in the Ohio National Championship round of the Rolling Thunder Show as it heads to Lima, OH. on the last Saturday in June to put on another great show at another of the series' great events.
KNOXVILLE, Iowa (June 15, 2014) - Kenny Coolbeth, aboard his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson, dismantled the Grand National Championship competition on Sunday, June 15, at Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville, Iowa and earned the 31st GNC win of his illustrious career and his second on the young 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track season.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. took command early at the Knoxville Half-Mile to lead every lap in the 25-lap National main on the #2 Zanotti Racing XR750. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
"What can I say? You give me the kind of equipment that Zanotti Racing provides me with and this is what happens," said Coolbeth. "I'm just having fun out there. That's all it takes for me to go fast, is to simply have fun. I have great people to work with and I look forward to weekends now."
Coolbeth hooked up with Zanotti Racing last offseason, and together, the tandem has rocked the AMA Pro Flat Track paddock thus far in 2014, earning two wins and enough points to sit atop the standings after four rounds. Coolbeth got out to an early lead after starting from second on the grid, and the Morris, Conn., native led every turn of the 25-lap shootout.
Jake Johnson trailed Coolbeth for the majority of the race. Mounted on his Ramspur Winery Harley-Davidson and starting from pole position, Johnson didn't have a great start and found himself sixth after the first lap. Johnson rebounded quite nicely, though, as he knifed his way through the pack and eventually caught Sammy Halbert on lap nine to claim second place. From there, Johnson was able to break away and earn a strong runner-up finish.
The fiercest duel on the track wound up being between Halbert and Jared Mees. The two were in a dogfight for the majority of the race, going neck-and-neck, bar-to-bar with each other until turn three of the final lap, when Mees went too high and Halbert capitalized, earning third aboard his South East Harley-Davidson. Mees finished just off the podium in fourth aboard his Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson. Stevie Bonsey rounded out the top five aboard his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
AMA Pro Singles
AMA Pro Singles pole sitter Kyle Johnson earned the main event victory in a rout. On the start, Johnson coughed up the lead early, only to regain it again on lap four and never look back. Johnson's 6.271-second win margin aboard his Hot Rod Harley-Davidson Honda was the largest of his brief yet impressive career. "Oh man, the bike was feeling really great," said Johnson. "I actually didn't get off to the best start, I found myself behind a little bit at the beginning of the race but I was able to work my way up to the front. It was really nice to know I had some breathing room and didn't have to ride as hard as I could on the final laps."
Johnson's win was the second of his career. After getting off to a not-so-hot start in 2014, Johnson catapulted into fifth place in the AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles point standings win the victory.
Johnson's win was impressive, but the most intriguing component of the main event was the battle for second place. Kolby Carlile was able to outgun Davis Fisher by .046 seconds to steal the runner-up spot aboard his K.C. Cycle Helmet World KTM. Fisher's third place effort aboard his TJ Burnett Farms Honda was somewhat bittersweet, but the Warren, Ore., native's consistent start to the 2014 season has him sitting third in the AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles point standings thus far. Dylan Morin finished fourth aboard his Kawasaki of Simi Valley KTM and Ryan Wells rode his KTM to a strong fifth place finish.
The stars of AMA Pro Flat Track will head to Lima, Ohio, for the Lima Half-Mile at the Allen County Fairgrounds on June 28, 2014. Footage of the Knoxville Half-Mile will be available to view on AMA Pro Racing's YouTube portal at www.youtube.com/amaprovids.
How to Watch
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.
AMA Pro Flat Track is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most compet"itive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2014 schedule consists of 16 rounds on the country's finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.
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