Saturday, September 18, 2010

AMA Flat Track Knoxville Half Mile Race 16: ReScheduled for Sunday 9/19

Poised for battle at Lima back in June, the #3 Latus H-D/Lloyd Bros/American Agip/MotoConcepts Ducati 1098 of 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National
Champion Smokin Joe Kopp sits next to the #5 Zanotti Racing/Leo Vince/
Arai/Tucker Rocky XR750 of 2-Time AMA Singles Champion Jersey Jake Johnson. With the first half mile race to be run today (barring any weather delays, see below) since Hagerstown in August, Knoxville will be only one of two chances for anyone else in the ranks to make an attack at the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship.
With Kopp's misfortunes of a broken chain in Minnesota last weekend and 3 points on the day for a 16th place finish, Johnson capitalized by coming home 2nd to winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and also 2nd to Dash winner Chris Carr to score all but maximum points for the event. Kopp left Canterbury Park in second place, 10 points in arrears to Jersey Jake, 265-255, in what was at the beginning of the day a 10 point lead in the championship, stating after the race that having done this as long as he has, anything can happen even with only two events left in the season. It's sure to be a great battle to the end when the checkered flag flies in Arizona on October 9th.
With rain in the area well before and as this is being written and posted, round 16 in the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series at the world famous Knoxville Raceway is scheduled for today, but official word to come well before early afternoon on Saturday 9/18. With the track being inundated with heavy and steady rains in the last few hours, the chances are looking good at this point that tomorrow's rain date will have to be utilized in order to get the event in.
Saturday 9/18/10 1455 EDT UDPATE:
The race has now been postponed until tomorrow. Rider sign-ups scheduled for 1000 CDT at the track, so I imagine practice and qualifications should start around 1200 CDT/1300 EDT.
We will post updates as they become available.
The story of the 2010 AMA Grand National Flat Track Series Season has been one of diversity and experience. On the diversity side, as many as seven brands have attempted to gain a berth in several rounds this year, with last weekend's event at the horse track at Canterbury Park in Shakopee, MN. seeing six different makes in the final event. On the experience side of things, throw in long-time competitor and 2000 AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion Joe Kopp, along with 2-Time AMA Singles Champion Jake Johnson, and you have JJ leading Smokin Joe with the two rounds remaining in the series, 265-255. And there is a good possibility that Kopp will be on his #3 Latus XR for this half mile event as he has been at several other runs on the shorter ovals this season.
With six riders still in the hunt mathematically, you have a championship run going on this year in the series that has seen multi-brand winners (H-D, Ducati, Kawasaki in the Twins events) for the first time in literally decades. The last time anything but a H-D XR750 won on an oval was at Joliet in August of '98 when Rich King won on a Corbin-sponsored Honda RS750. And I couldn't tell you the last time there was multiple-brand winners in the series. It surely must be the early '70s. At least on an oval!
The other main contenders for the title that are still in the hunt, and that could help mix-up the overall standings in the end, are far from inexperienced as well. You have Jammin Jared Mees sitting in the 3rd spot with 246 points, the defending Twins Champ riding his #1 Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Rockysonline/Lucas Oil-sponsored XR. The Jammer hasn't won an event yet this season, but that's NO reason to count him out. He's been there all year with his veteran experience, great machines and being Mr. Consistent, just as he has done overall in his almost-decade in the sport now.
Hammerin Hank Wiles has made a career the last few years of dominating on the Singles event bikes, and also has some half mile wins under his belt. The now-2 Time AMA Singles Champ won at Lima in June and ended the '09 season with a win at Pomona as well. He rolls into Knoxville with the #17 KK Motorcycle Supply/Mike & Eddie Atkins/Don Kissinger Racing/Saddlemen-backed XR in the 4th spot in the overall championship with 239 points. Missing the main at Indy three weeks ago really put a big hole in where he COULD have been today. But he's got four Singles wins this year to go along with his Twins win at Lima to back him up and make for what has been a great year overall for this young charger.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. comes into the Knoxville Half Mile as the defending series winner, having bagged his first event of the year last weekend on the Minnesota Mile. Riding his #2 Harley Davidson Motor Comp/Screamin Eagle/Arai/Fox-sponsored Harley Factory XR, The King of Cool now sits in the 5th spot in the points with 231 markers. And one thing to remember ALWAYS in AMA Flat Track NEVER count out experience, nor factory horsepower.
And rounding out the top 6 in the points, Sammy Halbert comes back to the series after having been suspended by AMA Flat Track for the Minnesota round after a rough riding incident at the Springfield Short Track round from two weeks ago. Slammin Sammy is still in the hunt on his #7 Kings Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply/Nelson Racing/AGV-backed XR with 228 points, and the Daytona Short Track winner will no doubt be ready to mix it up again.
Several other riders to keep an eye on for this event are #42 Bryan Smith on the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki, former 7-Time Grand National Champ #4 Chris Carr on his Lancaster H-D XR, and Matt Weidman on his #20 White's H-D XR who put on a magnificent show at Minnesota last week, and got his first-ever GNC podium at Lima's half mile earlier in the season. If the Knoxville track ends up a cushion, look for Matt to mix it up at the front.
So strap in and hold on as the greatest show in racing rolls off this weekend at the world capital of sprint car racing in Knoxville, Iowa, and the men and women of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series put on a show that will make you wanting to come back for more---and that's a guarantee!
AMA Pro Flat Track Knoxville Half Mile Event Live Timing and Scoring:
AMA Pro Flat Track Knoxville Half Mile Event page with event schedule:
AMA Pro Flat Track Knoxville Half Mile ALL results PDF--updated as the event goes on and withing minutes of each event:
AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Overall Point Standings:
You can also follow some of the action via THE place for all things flat track at Wayne Hosaka's forum:
Weather in Knoxville thanks to The Weather Underground:
Knoxville Raceway's official site on the net:
....and you can check out the Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum while in Knoxville as well:
Google Maps of Knoxville, Iowa and the surrounding area:
Lake Red Rock just north of Knoxville is a beautiful recreation area that first came to fruition back in the mid-late '60s. My Grandfather talked about this and what it would do for the local area when we were kids (my grandparents lived in Pella, Iowa, the home of the official hotel for the Knoxville event, and Knoxville is actually the county seat for Marion County, Iowa).
Here is the map of the area in PDF form:
.....and this is a great overhead shot of the beautiful Lake Red Rock area and dam just a few miles up the road from the track:
And here is some general info on the Knoxville area as well:

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