Saturday, October 9, 2010

AMA Flat Track: Arizona Mile II 2010 Season Finale in Prescott Valley Today


The Zanotti Racing/Schaeffers H-D/SuperTrapp/NJK Leathers-backed XR750s of #5 Jake Johnson sit in the pits at the Springfield Mile on Sunday, September 5. Team owner Dave Zanotti can be seen fitting a new wheel on one of Jake's mounts in the background as Jake talks with him during the break between qualifying and heat race action. Dave is the son of Mario Zanotti, who during the 1979 AMA Grand National Championship Series Season led the late Steve Eklund to the the Grand National Championship, which was the first privateer team to do so in 16 years since Dick Mann had won his first of two GNCs in 1963.
With Jake outfront in the point standings with 265 points to Joe Kopp's 255, he is definitely in the driver's seat to take it all and make the Zanottis the first father/son team owner-duo to win the coveted AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship. Jersey Jake has had a remarkable year, starting off the season with a win in round two at the season opening Daytona Short Track, and backing it up with a win on the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval in the Memorial Day Weekend running of the Springfield Mile, and has been a model for not only consistency but for bringing it home in the clutch. His Dash for Cash crash at the Springfield Mile last month was testament to what the team, and Jake, can do. He started the National from the back row due to having to run his back-up bike, and within what seemed like moments was in the running with the lead group. He eventually hung in for a 6th place finish in what could be one of his defining moments of the year in facing adversity. In the five mile events run to date in 2010, Jake has the highest overall finishing average of any of the four riders still in contention for the crown.
Keep an eye out today for the former 2-Time Singles Champ as he knows what to do to milk the points to be there in the end. At the end of the day, he could very well be the new Overall AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion.



Smokin Joe Kopp talks with Dave Lloyd in the pit area at the Springfield Mile last month. The #3 Latus H-D/Lloyd Brothers/American Agip/MotoConcepts-sponsored rider won the spring running of the Arizona Mile at Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, wowing the crowd, flat track fans and the world in taking Ducati to their first-ever AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Twins win. Since then, the team has struggled with teething problems on the Big Duc, the worst of which was the former 2000 AMA Grand National Champion's 16th place finish at the Minnesota Mile last month due to losing the chain on the 19th lap of the 25 lap main in Shakopee.
Hopping back and forth from the Ducati and his trustworthy Latus H-D (also in the pit shot above) throughout the season, Joe also has two wins on the XR at Hagerstown and Lake Odessa, both of which were half mile races, to go along with his Arizona triumph. He also finished 9th on the Duc at the Lima Half Mile in June. But at Indy, he lost valuable Dash points due to the bike not firing, and didn't even make the Dash last month at the Springfield Mile due to having to race his way into the National via winning his semi, and eventually coming home 7th. What was at one time in the season an 18 point lead in the championship shifted to a 10 point deficit after Minnesota.
Joe has been pretty strong about being ready to retire at the end of the season, and would like to do so a two-time champ. Just like he has mentioned, anything can happen in racing. And we all know that that is even more true in the world of AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship racing as well. Let's hope no matter what happens today that Joe decides to stick around as a championship contender for another year or two, as the 16 year veteran is a true joy to watch on the track.



Jared Mees gets ready to roll out for final qualifying at the Springfield Mile last month. The 2009 AMA Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion has had a stellar year on the #1 Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D/ Oil-sponsored XR750. Nabbing podiums in all four types of AMA Flat Track Series racing (TT, short track, half mile and mile), The Jammer has been extremely consistent this year in spite of NOT winning a National main event.
Sitting 3rd in the points with 246, 19 points in arrears of leader Jake Johnson, and with a total of 28 points up for grabs in today's season finale (5 points to win the Dash, 23 points to win the National), look for Jared to run strong again today. His worst finish on the five mile events this season was at Indy (8th) and his other finishes include two 3rd-place podiums and two 4th-place finishes.
Jared was at Hacienda H-D in Scottsdale on Thursday and reportedly they had a real good turn-out with the fans. Also, former '75 AMA Grand National Champion Gary Scott was on hand to hang out and talk with the fans as well. Look for Jared to at least finish in the top five or six today to end his season as strong as he has been consistent this year.



2009-2010 AMA Flat Track Singles Champion Henry Wiles rolls the #17 machine out of his pit at Springfield last month for the day's final qualifying session. Hammerin Hank's KK Motorcycle Supply/Mike & Eddie Adkins/Don Kissinger Racing/Saddlemen-sponsored team has been up and down this year on the XR in the Twins events. Having won the most events of all riders this year (Springfield and Peoria TT's, Springfield and Gas City ST's, and Lima Half Mile), Henry failed to make the National at Indy at the end of August, the only event any of the top four riders in the mathematical title hunt failed to qualify for.
I've been saying for some time now, once this team gets their Twins program in line, and they aren't that far off, Henry will be up at the top. With 4th place in the overall standings at 239 points going into Prescott Valley, anything could happen, but 26 points back from leader Johnson is a big mountain to climb in the world of AMA Flat Track with only today's final event to run for 2010.
With two half mile wins to his credit (Pomona '09 season closer and Lima in June) Henry can ride the XR onto the podium for wins. And his run at the Minnesota Mile, where he was sure to win his heat before he broke, and to come back and win his semi and start at the rear and bring it home in 4th place in the National shows he has it. But most likely not for 2010. However, a strong finish today could help steer the team into the 2011 season on a very high note. And you can't count this young man out, ever.


With the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track K&N Filters presented by Motorcycle Grand National Championship Series season set to wrap it up today in Prescott Valley on the Yavapai Downs Mile, there are still four men mathematically in the hunt for the 2010 AMA Grand National Championship. And you can bet that Jake Johnson, Joe Kopp, Jared Mees and Henry Wiles will be on the top of their game this afternoon as action kicks off.

With the 2010 season almost in the rear window, the season has been one of the best in the series history. With record crowds at new and existing events, Mike Kidd and company are doing a great job of turning the Titanic of racing series around to make for a timely program with great racing at all of the venues that survived the 2010 calendar. In spite of losing five overall events this year to postponement, cancelations and rain (Beaulah Park, Lexington, Castle Rock to cancelations, the Arizona Short Track to postponement and Knoxville due to rain-out) the series has done a remarkable job of partnering with great venues and promoters on the 16 events that did make the cut.

And the racing itself has been stellar, with Ducati and Kawasaki breaking out for their first-ever wins in the Twins class, and Kawasaki capturing the manufacturers championship by conquering in the Singles class and nabbing wins with the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy/Bryan Smith-ridden team at Indy and Springfield.

Action is set to kick off in just a few minutes at Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, and you can check it all out below to stay on top of the action with The Rolling Thunder Show's grand finale on the mile oval in Arizona. It's time to go racing for the final AMA Flat Track event on the 2010 season!


AMA Flat Track Live Timing and Scoring from Prescott Valley:

AMA Pro Flat Track Main Page:

AMA Pro Flat Track Budweiser Racing Arizona Mile II event page. This also has the overall event schedule for today in Prescott Valley. This page also has the pre-entries link as well, although as of this writing only 16 riders were shown in the Grand National Twins class. I wouldn't be too worried about the low number on pre-entries as AMA Flat Track Manager Mike Kidd has stated in the past not to be too concerned with the low numbers, either, because a lot of riders won't pre-enter a lot of events for one reason or another:

This is AMA Flat Track's overall PDF results page that in most cases has done the best job of getting the official entries, times and results posted at each event up and available within minutes of the running of any particular session. I didn't post the individual link for this event, since for one they postponed the Arizona Short Track event until next year, and for two since they haven't removed it from the results list. Just in case they wouldn't use the correct event or don't remove it entirely I didn't want to have an empty link there to further aggravate getting timely results. You should, if all things being equal are factored in, be able to click on the link for the Yavapai Mile II and get updated results from there once the day is underway out west:

And this is the standard event results link for the day's events which are also usually updated withing several minutes of a session's end over at AMA Flat Track:

The AMA Flat Track folks released a press release talking about this last race, the importance of the Dash for Cash in gaining points to attain the title and the point rundown for the Dash as well as the National itself. Here's the press release as it was posted over at Larry Lawrence's The Rider from 10 days ago:

Will Fulford has a nice preview story on today's races posted over at Will also shoots video for them as well as his most excellent site The Fast and

Weather shouldn't be a problem in Prescott Valley today. Here's the local weather thanks to The Weather Underground:

THE place to go for AMA Flat Track info is Wayne Hosaka's The forum link below is also a great place to go for updated info from people who are at the track that may post info on what's going on:
TWITTER feeds: Nicalee Sowders is the only Twitter feed I could find that was going to Prescott Valley. You can follow the updates at this link by just refreshing the page (F5) every so often to keep up with what may be happening at the track:

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