Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. took his 4th win of the season yesterday at the Springfield Mile II in a dominating racing move over runner-up Bryan Smith to close out the mile event portion of the 2014 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship in front of a crowded house and under mostly sunny skies at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Running in the lead pack all day during the 25-lap National main, Coolbeth made a wide sweeping move out of turn 3 on his #2 Zanotti Racing/Moroney's H-D/Burt Ives-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 that allowed him to gain enough traction to distance himself from Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza Kawasaki by just .010 seconds at the checkers, with 3rd-place finisher Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing XR750 coming home just .140 seconds behind winner Coolbeth. It was reported to be Coolbeth's fourth win at the facility, a record he couldn't be sure of under all the excitement while being interviewed on the podium by AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone.
The win gave The King of Cool his 33rd win in AMA Grand National competition and keeps him in a solid 4th-place in the championship, albeit 53 points behind leader Smith, who gained three points on the day over Mees (247-238, with yesterday's 6th-place finisher Jake Johnson on the #5 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Kawasaki in 3rd with 224 points, and Coolbeth now with 194 points.)
Coolbeth was full of adrenaline and excitement on the podium, evidenced by his congratulatory handshake from Mees above as he pulls his #2 Zanotti Racing mount onto the victory podium. Coolbeth only led 1 lap on the day, but it was the one that counted after Smith dominated (20 laps led) on the track he took victory at in May.
Jarod Vanderkooi on his #17F Johnny's Vintage Motorcycles/Dave's Cycle-sponsored Kawasaki took the win yesterday over Illinois resident Molly Terry on her #11P B&B Racing/Foundry Rats M/C-backed Harley-Davidson XR750 in the AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Twins Series 12-lap main event and in doing so completed the double in the Pro Twins races held this year at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
Vanderkooi and Terry had both won their heat races earlier in the day to dominate the class and put on a great show in their main. Vanderkooi took the early lead and never relinquished his lead throughout to win by 2.257 seconds, while Terry held the runner-up spot early and then fell back in the pack before working her way back to the runner-up spot towards the end of their final. The crowd approval for winner Terry was a mighty roar in their main and in her heat win earlier in the day, and the Creve Coeur 18 year-old is swiftly becoming, along with Vanderkooi, one of AMA Pro Flat Track's brightest and fastest future stars.
I made the trip to Springfield with my long time friend, Larry Lawrence, and he filed this report on Cycle News.com last night.
And you can check out full results here via AMA Pro Flat Track's Springfield Mile II event results.
We'll have more as the week goes on and talk about many of the rider changes at yesterday's big race as the series takes a four week break before heading to the penultimate round of the season at the Calistoga Half-Mile on September 27.
Classic Springfield: Kenny Coolbeth claims thrilling AMA Pro Flat Track Springfield Mile II victory over Bryan Smith
|SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Aug. 31, 2014) - The Springfield Mile is a special event, known for its super close finishes and furious action, and Sunday's running was classic Springfield. Kenny Coolbeth, on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson, beat the winner of the May edition of the Springfield Mile, Bryan Smith, by just .010 seconds to win Round 14 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season. It was the fourth Springfield victory for Coolbeth and his second on a mile-long track this season. |
Smith, on his No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki, retained the overall points lead over Jared Mees, who finished third on the No. 9 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Zanotti Racing XR750 leads Bryan Smith on the #42 Villa-Esparza Kawasaki and Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Racing XR750 to the checkers at the Springfield Mile II yesterday afternoon. AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.
In typical Springfield fashion, the top six finishers were separated by less than one second. Springfield is tough," Coolbeth said. "Everybody goes fast here, to get a win is huge. We had an up-and-down year, but when we're good, we're good. So I'll take it."
Smith led the most laps in the Expert main, but Coolbeth was the fast qualifier. The Dash for Cash went to Jake Johnson on his No. 5 Rampsur Winery Kawasaki. Johnson finished sixth in the main to stay third in points with just two events remaining on the schedule.
"These guys built me a horse today," Coolbeth said. "And we had an up-and-down day. In the Dash, we had a little mishap, but we turned it around, and this feels good."
Smith, who is famously dominant on mile-long courses and was the man to beat, on paper, coming into Sunday's race, knew nothing can be taken for granted at Springfield.
The photo-finish was evidence of that. "That's typical Springfield right there," Smith said. "I thought I could get by Kenny coming up to the line, but I ended up about a wheel short."
Jake Shoemaker followed up his podium finish at the Virginia Mega Mile last weekend with a fourth place showing in Springfield on his No. 55 Hot Shot Motors Kawasaki. Don's Kawasaki's Henry Wiles rode his No. 17 machine to fifth.
The GNC title chase heads to California's Wine Country next. The series will run the Calistoga Half-Mile at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif. on September 27.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Twins
Jarod Vanderkooi completed the season sweep of the Springfield Mile, piloting his No. 17F Johnny's Vintage Motorcycle Kawasaki to a 2.257-second victory over Illinois' own Molly Terry on her No. 11P B&B Racing Harley-Davidson. Dalton Winkler rounded out the podium on the No. 35S Van Leeuwen Distributing Kawasaki.
In the May running of the Springfield Mile, Vanderkooi was dominant, winning by more than seven seconds. This time around. He faced stiffer competition and still proved up the challenge. "It's just awesome to be able to come out here and perform like I did the last two times," Vanderkooi said. "I have a great bike behind me. I got a good start and pulled it off."
Terry won her first career heat race earlier in the day, giving the packed house at the Illinois State Fairgrounds plenty to cheer about. In the main, she sat third most of the race, then slid into the No. 2 spot when Brandon Wilhelm's No. 24J Sylvester Farms Harley-Davidson gave out. "I couldn't feel better, I can tell you that much," Terry said. "This year, I learned a lot about the draft, and it helped out a lot. Patience is everything with a track like this, and I couldn't be happier."
AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Springfield Mile Top 10
1. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
2. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
3. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
4. Jake Shoemaker (Kawasaki)
5. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
6. Jake Johnson (Kawasaki)
7. Willie McCoy (Harley-Davidson)
8. Stevie Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
9. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
10. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Top 10 in Points
1. Bryan Smith 247
2. Jared Mees 238
3. Jake Johnson 224
4. Kenny Coolbeth 194
5. Henry Wiles 170
6. Brad Baker 159
7. Sammy Halbert 145
8. Brandon Robinson 140
9. Stevie Bonsey 135
10. Jake Shoemaker 99
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Springfield Mile Top 10
1. Jarod Vanderkooi (Kawasaki)
2. Molly Terry (Harley-Davidson)
3. Dalton Winkler (Kawasaki)
4. Jamison Minor (Kawasaki)
5. Jeffery Lowery (Kawasaki)
6. Tyler Butts (Harley-Davidson)
7. Ryan Varnes (Kawasaki)
8. Macintosh McGrew (Honda)
9. Andrew Butler (Kawasaki)
10. J.R. Addison (Harley-Davidson)
The stars of AMA Pro Flat Track head to Napa Valley for the Calistoga Half-Mile at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif., Sept. 27 for the season's penultimate event.
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
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 competitive 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, email@example.com