Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sammy Halbert Among Group of AMA Pro Flat Track Regulars Heading to Willow Springs for Eddie Mulder's West Coast Dirt Track Series on May 1

Sammy Halbert's #7 Kings Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply/Nelson Racing/Fluid Suspension-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 sits in the Halbert Brothers Racing pit area during the Springfield Mile round of the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Series weekend in September of '10.  Halbert finished 4th in the overall and Twins Series year-end point standings on the year, after missing what ended up being the penultimate round of the 2010 season in Minnesota after having been suspended by AMA Pro Flat Track for what was deemed 'rough riding' on the year (and ultimately) at the Springfield Short Track round the night before this shot was taken.  Coming back to finish the year off as strong as ever, Slammin' Sammy wrapped up the year in AMA Pro Flat Track competition by finishing 3rd on the day at the season-ender in Prescott Valley, AZ. behind event and series champion Jake Johnson and Jared Mees, the '09 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion.
With the 2011 season already five races into it's scheduled 21 race series, Halbert leads the championship by 16 points after winning both season-opening rounds in Daytona, a strong 5th-place finish at the indoor event at DuQuoin two weeks ago, and another 5th in the TT and a great ride into 3rd on the short track at last weekend's action in Salinas, CA.  With the weekend off (and a break in the AMA schedule until May 28 when the series resumes at Springfield), Sammy heads to Rosamond, CA. for round one of the Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series on the 3/8-mile oval at Willow Springs Raceway.  This will be the first race of the year for Halbert riding the big twin XR and should be a good test of what is to come from this great young racer for the upcoming events on the AMA schedule during the 2011 season.

Eddie Mulder's West Coast Dirt Track Series official logo.

With the 2011 edition of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series taking a break until the Springfield TT (round 6 on May 28), a handful of AMA GN regulars are sticking around California after last weekend's rounds 4 & 5 at Salinas, to contest the Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series scheduled for round one in Rosamond tomorrow.  Among some of the racers scheduled to be on-hand racing at the Walt James Stadium 3/8-mile oval tomorrow include '09 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins Champion Jared Mees, AMA regulars Nicole Cheza, Chad Cose, Jimmy Wood (hot off of his first AMA podium from Salinas, and a noted West Coast regular attendee/winner in the Mulder series), and Sammy Halbert, who will be racing his Kings Kustoms/Halbert Brothers Racing XR750 on the weekend.

Eddie Mulder is a former AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship racer from the late '60s/early '70s who in his day was considered one of THE top riders in his element, one of which was in TT racing.  Along with former champion Gene Romero (WCFTS), Mulder runs a very competitive flat track racing series on the west coast that often plays host to some of the AMA regulars, when their schedule permits.  With the over four week break in the the AMA schedule those racers will be competing tomorrow in the opening round of Eddie's series held at Willow Springs Raceway.  Halbert considers this his favorite all-around track (and makes note that he wishes there was an AMA National race held at Willow's Walt James 3/8-mile oval.) 

The racers will have today for practice at Willow Springs, and tomorrow is slated as a full day with several classes of racing.  Practice today runs until 4 P.M. PDT, and practice on Sunday, May 1 starts at 10:30 A.M. PDT and racing begins at Noon PDT.

This should be a great weekend of racing on the left coast, and the wonderful Miriam Deitcher, who keeps all of us up-to-date on the races via her Flat Track Live Facebook page, will also be on hand to keep the flat track fans updated on tomorrow's action.  You can check Mir's link out below along with all of the other event and locale info that will surely keep you on the edge of your seat!

Here is the link to Eddie Mulder's West Coast Vintage Dirt Track Series official site with schedule info:

Here is the link to the info page for Eddie Mulder's West Coast Dirt Track Series.  Although the pre-entries page hasn't been updated for several days, it should have full results posted sometime during/just after the race weekend:

Here's a link to a couple of great videos with Eddie Mulder, the founder of the Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series and one of the greatest racers from back in the day:

Miriam Deitcher has been covering flat track racing for some time now and normally provides us with coverage of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series.  This weekend she will be on hand for what she is reporting to be her first time at Willow Springs for the Eddie Mulder Series, and will be providing coverage of the racing this weekend via her Flat Track Live page on Facebook.  You can keep up with what is going on in Rosamond via this link to Miriam's coverage:

Thanks to Jamey Blunt from Today's Cycle Coverage for this story of round one of the Eddie Mulder West Coast Dirt Track Series in Rosamond, CA. at Willow Springs Raceway being held tomorrow, May 1:

Here is the link to the Willow Springs International Raceway track layout map.  Note that Walt James Stadium is the 3/8-mile oval is centrally located just east of the Streets of Willow Springs road course:

You can also follow Sammy Halbert via his Halbert Brothers Racing page on Facebook, where he will be supplying pictures, updates and videos throughout the weekend with the help of Miriam from Flat Track Live on Facebook:

And here is Sammy's personal page on Facebook to help keep up with Slammy throughout the weekend and year:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

AMA Pro Road Racing Set for 2-Day Test at Miller Motorsports Park on May 2-3

Mike Smith's #68 Fast By Ferracci/SBS/Pro Grip/Michelin-sponsored Ducati 916/955 sits in the Ferracci pit area during the St. Louis Superbike Challenge Weekend at the Gateway International Raceway stop on the AMA Superbike Championship Series tour in August of 1995.  Eraldo Ferracci can just be seen behind the bike trying to cool off in what was to this day undoubtedly the hottest weekend ever attended by the AMA Road Racing Series ever.  The poorly-attended race was a blip on the radar to the series after showing up at a track that was at the very least 'sketchy' in terms of safety concerns, not to mention the landfill that sat across the street whose aromas permeated the air throughout the weekend.  Needless to say, the series never returned to the track dubbed 'The Dump' by several fans and insiders.
The weekend was so hot, humid and hazy that the view of the St. Louis Arch, which is normally very clear from the track just across the Mighty Mississippi River, was all but obscured due to the haze (and aromas) that hung in the air, with the triple-digit temperatures making for a very long and unpleasant weekend for sponsors, racers, team owners and fans alike.  We spent over half the weekend in the air-conditioned comfort of our car it was so bad!
AMA Pro Racing News Release

          AMA Pro Road Racing Back in Action at MMP Test
                         Two-Day Test at Miller Motorsports Park, May 2-3, Fans Welcome!

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (April 27, 2011) - The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship returns to asphalt May 2-3 at next week's official, two-day test at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah. Located just outside Salt Lake City, the beautiful MMP circuit will play host to the majority of AMA Pro's top competitors as they prep for both Round 2 at Infineon Raceway (May 13-15) and for MMP's BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, which will see AMA Pro Road Racing's Round 3 run alongside Round 5 of the World Superbike Championship, May 28-30.

Heading up the field in AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike testing will be reigning SuperBike champion Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) and current points leader Blake Young (Rockstar Makita Suzuki). Hayes will be joined by fellow Yamaha SuperBiker Chris Clark (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Motorsports), while Blake will have teammate Tommy Hayden and Suzuki's Australian Superbike star, Josh Waters, for brand-centric company.

Team M4 Suzuki's Round 1 standout (and reigning Daytona SportBike champ) Martin Cardenas will likewise be honing his skills at MMP in the new-to-him class, joined by veteran teammate Chris Ulrich. The Michael Jordan Motorsports effort will be out in force with riders Ben Bostrom (Jordan Suzuki) and National Guard-sponsored Roger Hayden.

Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram will represent just one of a trio of BMW S1000Rs testing at the MMP facility, with Iron Horse BMW fielding both Chris Peris and Tony Kasper. In all, a total of fourteen AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike riders are currently registered for the test.

The AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class will see at least twenty-two of its riders take to the track at Miller, a field that includes Ducati riders Jason DiSalvo on his Daytona 200-winning Team Latus Motors Racing machine, P.J. Jacobson (Celtic Racing), and Jake Holden (DNA Roberson Motorsports), plus a slew of ferocious Yamaha and Suzuki riders.
Image courtesy Miller Motorsports Park.

Image courtesy Miller Motorsports Park

No fewer than eight Yamaha R6's, in fact, will be running at Miller, led by Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin. He'll be joined by Tommy Aquino (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Motorsports), Melissa Paris (HT Moto Yamaha), and a trio of AMA Pro SuperSport graduates: LTD Racing/Y.E.S. Yamaha's Huntley Nash, Cameron Beaubier, and 2010 Top Gun Champion Tyler O'Hara.

On the Suzuki side, 2009 Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick (Richie Morris Racing/GEICO Powersports) will lead the Suzuki delegation to Utah, joined by M4 Suzuki's talented Dane Westby; Westby's teammate, Santiago Villa; and Vesrah Suzuki's highly capable Taylor Knapp and Cory West, among others. A trio of SuperSport Kawasakis will be headed up by Fernando Amantini, while Honda pilot Tyler Odom will likewise put his machinery through its paces.

Thirteen AMA Pro SuperSport riders are slated to begin testing on Monday, the sessions serving as a preview of the highly anticipated Larry H. Miller SuperSport Challenge event, which will take place during the BigM Weekend and be broadcast live on SPEED2 Sunday, May 29, at 3:05 p.m. PST. Along with the BigM Weekend's AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 race, the Larry H. Miller SuperSport Challenge will also be included in an AMA Pro Road Racing Special that will air Monday, May 30, at 9 p.m. PST.

The SuperSport group will be led by Daytona winners Tomas Puerta and Daniel Gaviria on their Team LTD/Y.E.S. Yamahas. SuzukiScoopFans Racing's Elena Myers was also scheduled to attend the test, but having broken her arm in a Supermoto accident last Monday, she'll be forced to sit out the test and focus instead on healing in time for a possible return at Round 2. Corey Alexander, however, will be present to represent for Suzuki, while standout young-gun Benny Solis (Team will lay down laps on his Honda.

The above riders will be joined by Ducati pilots Brad Graham, Jose Flores, and Nicholas Hayman; newcomer Shelina Moreda (Triple Crown Industries Yamaha); and many more.

AMA Pro's Vance & Hines XR1200 riders are prepping for their first-ever appearance at MMP, and a minimum of eight of the big-twin pilots will be testing May 2-3. They'll also be preparing for the aforementioned expanded television coverage on SPEED and SPEED2 during the Memorial Day weekend, comprising a live broadcast on SPEED2 (Monday, May 30, at 12:20 p.m. PST) and inclusion in SPEED's AMA Pro Road Racing Special (Monday, May 30, at 9 p.m. PST).

Daytona winner Kyle Wyman will lead the XR1200 testing group on his RMR Bruce Rossmeyer/Daytona Racing machine, joined by teammates Chris Fillmore and Michael Corbino. AMA Pro Flat Track multi-time champion Joe Kopp (Team Latus Motors) will also be on track, as will SuperSport Top Gun champ Tyler O'Hara and a handful of other Harley-Davidson XR1200 pilots.

The two-day test will begin with team move-in Sunday night, and on-track activities will run 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, the schedule comprising five morning sessions and seven afternoon sessions. AMA Pro National Guard SuperBikes will share the track with AMA Pro Daytona SportBikes, while SuperSport riders will run jointly with AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 pilots.

Fans are welcome to attend the test, free of charge, and are encouraged to come out and cheer for their favorites. For directions and information, visit or call 435-277-RACE (7223). For additional information about the BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil, visit For information or tickets to AMA Pro Road Racing's upcoming Round 2, May 13-15 at Infineon Raceway, visit

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

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

Rizla Suzuki Announces Alvaro Bautista Returning at Estoril MotoGP Round

The #19 Rizla Suzuki GSV-R of Alvaro Bautista sits on display outside the team's garages during the Indianapolis RedBull Moto GP round in August of 2010.  Suzuki kept Bautista in the saddle for the 2011 season as the team's only rider, and after his injury at Qatar in the season opener, drafted former team rider John Hopkins to contest the team's machine in Jerez for round 2.  The rumors are still running deep that Suzuki won't be on the grid for the 2012 season, unless it would be contesting the current bike in the new-for-2012 '1000' class.

Rizla Suzuki team rider Alvaro Bautista was cleared to ride the team's GSV-R this weekend in round 3 action at the Estoril Circuit in Portugal, after breaking his femur in the season opener at Qatar just over 40 days ago.  With MotoGP having a three week break due to the earthquake disaster in Japan, and postponement (and still possbile cancelation) of the Motegi round, Bautista was afforded a little more time to recuperate after his injury.  Action kicks off tomorrow in Portugal and Bautista and Rizla Suzuki will make a determination after the first free practice session if he is up to racing for the whole weekend or not.

Here's the official press release thanks to the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team:

Monday, April 25, 2011

AMA Pro Flat Track & Stu's Shots Reviews Salinas TT & Short Track Action from Easter Weekend

Henry Wiles throws his #17 Monster Energy/Don's Kawasaki/Shift Racing/Jones Bros.-sponsored Kawasaki KX450F into turn 3 during a qualifying session at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, IL. on April 16 during round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series.  Wiles suffered a leg/knee injury during his heat race at DuQuoin that caused his leg to swell considerably during/after the event, and as a result he finished 19th out 19 riders at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track, and also left a big question as to how or if he would be able to ride in the following weekend's round 4 & 5 at Salinas.
Hammerin' Hank overcame the adversity of his knee problem at Salinas over the weekend, however, and scored the most points over the two-event weekend over all of the other Expert riders combined.  During Saturday afternoon's TT race, he won his heat (the fastest of the day), came home third in the Fastenal Dash for Cash, and then followed eventual winner Jake Johnson home in second on the demanding course, showing once again why he has been the most dominant rider in the Expert Singles Series over the course of the last few years and winning the Singles Championship in '09-'10.
But the weekend wasn't over just yet, as there was still some short track racing to do, and Wiles again showed why he is a master of the Singles Series.  Winning his heat and settling for 5th in the Dash for Cash, Wiles started from the middle of the front row in the short track main yesterday afternoon and put on a clinic to take the win over first-time Grand National podium finisher Jimmy Wood by .169 seconds.  Scoring 47 points on the weekend, Wiles moved from 12th to 6th in the overall championship standings with 64 points total on the year. 
However, what happens to Henry for the next few months will depend on the outcome of his surgery, which was scheduled for today.  Stating after yesterday's race that it needed to be done now, even he won't know for several weeks (at least) when he will be able to return to the track.  And that is something the rest of the competition might not mind after the stellar weekend he had on the west coast, and especially with the Springfield TT race on May 28 coming up that everyone knows how much he has dominated over the last few years.

Here's hoping Henry's surgery and rehab goes well and quickly, and we see this fast fighter back on the track in a little over four weeks over the Memorial Day Weekend.  That may be too much to ask for depending on the seriousness of his injuries, of course, but he will be missed while he is under the knife and recovering.  Congrats on a great weekend, Henry and here's to a safe and quick recovery so you can get back out here to wow us some more!
AMA Pro Racing News Release

Race Report: AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Round 5

SALINAS, CA (April 25, 2011) - The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship returned to the Salinas Sports Complex yesterday for the Round 5 Short Track event, where hard work by promoter Ken Netto and the AMA Pro crew provided a very racy venue for the Easter Sunday showdown. Defending Pro Singles Champion Henry Wiles (Monster Energy Kawasaki/Jones Bros Racing) had been fighting problems all year, but a wire-to-wire win in Salinas' Expert Main, coupled with a second-place finish in yesterday's TT, has marked Wiles as newly resurgent.
Henry Wiles topped the Salinas ST podium on Sunday. Photo by Dave Hoenig.

Henry Wiles topped the Salinas ST podium on Sunday. Photo by Dave Hoenig.

Wiles' victory was somewhat bittersweet, since he'll be undergoing knee surgery next week that may force him to miss a significant chunk of the 2011 season, but the affable Michigan rider went out on a very high note. "They were an awesome two days," Wiles said. "I'm still pumped about it all. It just means so much to me, with some of the things I was up against the whole weekend, really. I can't wait to get back to racing and get back to all the fans. All the fans coming out to the races and getting excited about watching motorcycles race, that really motivates and drives me."

The race was far from a gimme for Wiles, as fast qualifier Jimmy Wood (Southland Racing/M.E.H. Corp.) tried every way possible to get around the solid Wiles. "I started trying to make a couple different moves here and there," said Wood. "I checked behind us a couple times, [and] we had a little bit of a gap, so I figured I could just sit behind him. He wasn't making any mistakes at all. On the last five laps, I tried going up a little bit to go around him, [but] he was just too fast."

The race for third ended up a family affair, as Woody Kyle Racing/Kings Kustoms' Jethro Halbert had it, and little brother Sammy (Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha) wanted it. The two battled back and forth for a long time before Sammy was able to wrest the position away on Lap 22. "I thought he might make it easy," said Sammy, "[since] I'm going for a championship, but he really wanted to be on the podium too."

Yesterday's TT winner Jake Johnson overcame a second-row start to bring his Zanotti Racing Honda home fifth. American Motorcyclist Association/Dallas Fort Worth Honda's Chris Carr stayed in the hunt as well, finishing sixth over youngsters Jeffery Carver (Van's Yamaha/Woody Kyle Racing) and hometown hero Stevie Bonsey (Mack Daddy Racing). Monster Energy Kawasaki Werner-Springsteen Racing's JR Schnabel and Chaplin Kawasaki's Kenny Coolbeth filled out the top ten.

The Fastenal Dash for Cash saw Jethro Halbert come out of the box quick and win the four-lap sprint over Wood and Bonsey. The win was worth $1,000 and an extra 5 points toward the Grand National Championship.

Sammy Halbert continues to hold the overall GNC points lead in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, his 103 points giving him an 8-point margin over defending Grand National Champion Johnson. Coolbeth and Brad Baker follow with 74 and 72 points, respectively.

The Pro Singles main saw a first-time winner in the form of Shoe Racing/Sportland Motorsports' Will Cato, who ran away with the victory. Current points-leader Gerit Callies finished almost two seconds back, while a small war raged several seconds behind him between second-generation racers Mickey Fay (Pat Hayes Racing/Rod Lake) and Rod Spencer Jr. (Rod Lake/Hooper Motorsports). The two fought furiously over the last podium spot, but in the end neither got it done, as the honor instead went to Weirbach Racing/General Engineering's Mikey Martin.

It is Callies, however, who maintains a strong hold on the points lead, topping Mikey Avila 102 to 90 after a sixth-place finish on Sunday. Martin and Cato follow with 72 and 56 points, respectively.

Next up, the AMA Pro Racing Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship heads to Springfield, Illinois, after a brief hiatus. The series will return to racing May 28 and 29 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for the Springfield TT (AMA Pro Round 6) and the Springfield Mile (AMA Pro Round 7). To be a part of the Memorial Day weekend action, visit

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

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,


Jake Johnson lines up his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/MotionPro/Arai-backed Honda CRF450R for his heat race during round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series inside the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL. on April 16.  The defending AMA Flat Track Grand National Champion (and '06/'08 Singles Champ) put in another great ride at DuQuoin to come home 3rd on the night behind event winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. and 7-Time AMA GN Champ Chris Carr, coming off the second row in doing so.
Jersey Jake showed the west coast crowd at Salinas over the Easter Weekend why his IS the defending champ, in winning Saturday's TT race over second place Henry Wiles by 2.473 seconds, and third place Brad Baker, 3.526 seconds back.  Then on Easter Sunday during the Short Track main, he came off of the second row to bring it home in the 5th spot, behind winner Wiles, second place (and 1st-time GN podium finisher) Jimmy Wood), 3rd place Sammy Halbert and 4th place Jethro Halbert.  After 25 uninterupted laps (in a race that only took 5:36 to complete when riders where turning 13 second laps), Johnson was still only 3.623 seconds back of winner Wiles.
Johnson has already established himself as a serious threat to repeat in the 2011 season as champ with only five of 21 scheduled events in the bag.  With him moving into second in the overall championship standings behind series leader Sammy Halbert (103-95) after rounds 4 & 5, when the series resumes at Springfield on May 28 for the TT and May 29 for the mile, the competition had better be ready for JJ.  Because he's obviously ready for them!

Congrats to Jake for a great win this weekend, as well as getting the second highest point total on the two day event, for what is starting out as another great year for this great racer.  Great job man!
AMA Pro Racing News Release
Race Report: AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Round 4

SALINAS, CA (March 24, 2011) - Defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing) roared to victory at the inaugural AMA Pro Racing Harley-Davidson Insurance Salinas TT on Saturday afternoon, but that triumph didn't come easily. Despite leading twenty-four laps of the twenty-five-lap National, Johnson's win was at times very much in doubt, as series rookie Brad Baker had his ENI USA-backed Honda parked on the champ's rear wheel for much of the contest.
Reigning GNC champ Jake Johnson took victory at Saturday's Salinas TT. Photo by Dave Hoenig.

Reigning GNC champ Jake Johnson took victory at Saturday's Salinas TT. Photo by Dave Hoenig.

Johnson's early lead slipped away after Baker disposed of Rogers Lake Racing's Jared Mees on Lap 8 and set out after the lead. Baker appeared to be faster almost everywhere; everywhere, perhaps, save the all-important last turn to the finish line.

"I looked back and saw Brad," said Johnson. "Not that I was less worried, but when I was young, I was kind of a hammer head. It was dry slick and you had to be careful not to spin the tire, but I was the one doing that and he was the one making up ground on me. He caught me and started poking a wheel in on me here and there. I kind of threw out the defense a little bit."

Every time Baker looked to have a chance, the veteran Johnson would squirt away. The battle raged until Lap 23, when Baker took the lead at the line. Disaster hit Baker almost immediately, however, as he lost the front wheel in the tight, left-hand turn leading into the infield. Baker's first win was not to be, but he was able to get the clutch pulled, remount, and forge on.

"I almost had it," said Baker. "I almost kept it up down there, but it was the hardest corner of the race. That's where I was making up the time on Jake for the whole race, [but it] was harder to lead in there than it was in second. The front-end got away from me. Fortunately, I pulled in the clutch and kept it going, [and] I almost held on to second. Winning the race would have been awesome."

Baker lost first and second, but he was able to hold on to third and earn his second podium finish of 2011. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Henry Wiles overcame a near-disastrous first lap to climb all the way from tenth to a solid second-place finish.

Mees, who had appeared to be in position to get his first podium finish of the year, ultimately lost ground to both Wiles and current points-leader Sammy Halbert (Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha). Mees was able to salvage fourth with a last-lap pass of Halbert.

Farewell Tour or not, American Motorcyclist Association/Dallas Fort Worth Honda's Chris Carr continued his string of impressive showings, as he moved from fourteenth on the first lap to a closing sixth at the end. Southland Racing's Jimmy Wood had won the Fastenal Dash for Cash (and the $1,000 and five points that went with it) earlier in the afternoon, but that proved the high point of Wood's day, as he would limp home in the National itself, finishing two laps down in eighteenth.

Johnson's win and Halbert's fifth-place finish have tightened up the championship hunt considerably, as the top two are now separated by a single point, Halbert with 85 and Johnson holding 84. Brad Baker and Kenny Coolbeth sit nineteen and twenty points behind Halbert, respectively.

Earlier in the day, the Pro Singles main was won by California's Mikey Avila. "This is really great," said Avila afterward. "I'm not really much of a TT rider." The Boughner Racing/M.E.H. Corp-backed Avila had been pressed early in the race by points-leader Gerit Callies (Full Throttle/Gillespie Small Engines), but a late-race mistake cost Callies second, as Rod Lake/Hooper Motorsports' Rod Spencer Jr. slipped by and earned his first podium appearance of 2011.

The Callies-Avila points race is once again tight. After the pair split Daytona wins at the opening round, Avila turned in a disappointing finish at last weekend's DuQuoin round. That was nearly negated, however, by yesterday's performance, and Avila currently sits just six points behind class-leader Callies.

The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship launches immediately into Round 5 of the series with a short track event today, Sunday April 24, at Salinas, California's, Salinas Sports Complex. For tickets to the event, visit, and to follow today's on-track action via live timing, visit and click the green bar at the top of your screen.

Wishing you a very joyful Easter, from everyone at AMA Pro Racing.

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

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- had Bryan Harley on the scene over the weekend at the Salinas Sports Complex for rounds 4 & 5 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series.  Here's his story on round 5 of the short track from yesterday:

....and then you can read his spin on round 4 from the Salinas TT on Saturday here:

Checkered Flag Photos out of California was on the scene at rounds 4 & 5 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at Salinas over the weekend.  Here's the link to their great shots from the weekend:

You can check out Dave Hoenig's Flat Trak results and pictures (when posted) here from the Salinas Short Track yesterday:

....and from Saturday's Salinas TT here:

AMA Pro Flat Track has the results from yesterday's Salinas Short Track Singles Expert main event here:

....and here is the link to the complete event results from the Salinas Short Track:

....and here are the Singles Expert results from the Salinas TT on Saturday:

...and the complete event results from the Salinas TT on Saturday:

Saturday, April 23, 2011

AMA Flat Track Salinas TT & Short Track Rounds 4 & 5 Preview & Race Guide for Easter Weekend

The intensity is in the air and can be seen in the riders' eyes as the main event gets ready to roll off in round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series inside the confines of the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL. on Saturday, April 16.  With the first indoor short track on the series' schedule in over six years getting ready for 'go time' for the 30 lap main, riders take their position and get their last breath before fighting it out on the bullring track that proved to be fast, furious and exciting.
With experience triumphing over youth at DuQuoin, round 3 showed that it's not always the fast and the young that get it done, but that veteran leadership all-to-often plays out when it comes to making it to the end.  The top three finishers on the bullring at DuQuoin had a combined 115 + wins amongst them, as well as over 14 total AMA Flat Track Championships on their resumes.  End results of the event were far from what many had thought and predicted, only to show that at any given time, anything can and likely will happen in the Rolling Thunder Show.
Riders chomping on the bit on the front row of the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track above are #37 Jimmy Wood on his Southland Racing Honda CRF450R, #45 Jesse Janisch on his #45 Weirbach Racing Honda, #49 Chad Cose on his M.E.H. Corp. Honda, followed by #9 Jared Mees on his Montgomeryville Cycle Center Honda, #4 Chris Carr on his DFW Honda, and event winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on his #2 Chaplin Kawasaki KX450F.  Carr followed The King of Cool home in second (.606 seconds shy of the top spot on the box) for his best finish on a short track in over five years, with defending GN Champ Jake Johnson coming home third on his Zanotti Racing Honda 1.625 seconds back from Coolbeth.  Mees and Slammin' Sammy Halbert on his #7 Woody Kyle Yamaha rounded out the top five.  Will Fulford from The Fast and can be seen on the right side of the shot getting final adjustments made to on-board cameras for the event.
AMA Pro Racing News Release
Salinas Preview: Rounds 4 and 5 of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (April 21, 2011) - The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship is set to invade the West Coast for the first time in 2011 over the Easter weekend, as Salinas, California's Salinas Sports Complex plays host to Rounds 4 and 5 on April 23-24. Saturday will feature a TT Steeplechase, followed by a Short Track on Easter Sunday, all adding up to one can't-miss event.

For the history buffs out there, this isn't the first Grand National to be held in Salinas ... a Half Mile National was staged in the Monterey Country city back in 1968, a race in which none other than former Grand National Champion Mert Lawwill took victory. Amateur and Pro-AM TT racing at the Sports Complex dates back to the early 1960s.

Fast forward to 2011, and the all-new cast of characters that makes up the AMA Pro Racing "Rolling Thunder Show" is getting set to continue the tight, handlebar-banging action that's typified the 2011 season. Three-time Grand National Champion Kenny Coolbeth is fresh off his first Short Track National win (at last weekend's DuQuoin event) and will be looking to notch his first TT win on his Chaplin Kawasaki-backed Kawasaki.

Current points-leader Sammy Halbert (Fredericktown Yamaha/Woody Kyle Racing) backed up his pair of Daytona wins with a come-from-behind fifth-place result at Round 3, but he's looking to expand on his 16-point lead in a big way. Meanwhile, Coolbeth is tied for second in the points chase with defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson. And though Johnson's a Pennsylvanian, Salinas will be something of a of a hometown event for his crew, as the Zanotti Racing Team is based in California.

Henry Wiles, who's dominated Grand National Singles racing over the last few years, will be trying to straighten out what's been a trying year for the Monster Energy Kawasaki/Don's Kawasaki-backed effort. After getting banged around at last weekend's DuQuoin event---- and coming away with a dismal 19th-place finish---- Wiles is twelfth in points, but that deficit probably won't last long.

Salinas's own Stevie Bonsey will be looking to keep the victories local as he brings his potent Mack Daddy Racing Honda out with a chance to perform in front of friends and family. (Watch for an upcoming "Notes From the Blue Groove" column on Bonsey, who doubles as a quick road racer, and check out Mark Gardiner's DuQuoin-to-Salinas column right here:

And here:

South Dakota's Gerit Callies has taken possession of the Pro Singles points standings after his dominant performance in DuQuoin. California's Mikey Avila had been tied with Callies, but his ninth-place finish at Round 3 leaves him 14 points back, in second. Another Californian, Mikey Martin, rests third in the points.

For information and tickets to Rounds 4 and 5 of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship at the Salinas Sports Complex, April 23-24, click here. To see the entire 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track schedule, please visit

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

For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014,

The AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series returns to the west coast for Easter Weekend for rounds 4 & 5 of the 2011 schedule.  The first National to be held in Salinas (the home to such motorcycle racing notables as the late Ricky Graham, 3-Time AMA Superbike Champion Doug Chandler and 3-Time 500CC GP World Champion & '83 AMA Superbike Champion Wayne Rainey) since the late 60s, should provide a high level of excitement on the TT and short track at the Salinas Sports Complex.

With practice scheduled to roll off at 1300 EDT/1000 PDT today, it's time to strap on that steel shoe and get ready for the best racing on wheels anywhere in the world.  Everything you need to know to follow this weekend's exciting line-up of racing on the left coast can be found below.  So sit back, hang on and get ready for AMA Pro Flat Track Series action as it gets ready to hit the track for Easter Weekend.  Let's go racing!

(NOTE on all links below: If you are like me and can't be AT the races, you want every advantage you can have to keep up with the action.  All links below will keep you up to date with on AND off-track action, and all can be opened into a seperate window-so you don't have to navigate back and forth.  If you are using Windows XP or 7 and at least IE8, all links can be right-clicked and opened into either 'new tab' or 'new window' for easier viewing.  If you're like me, you'll have several open to better navigate the action!)

AMA Pro Flat Track Live Timing and Scoring here:

Miriam Deitcher, Ms. AMA Pro Flat Track Live, will be reporting all weekend from the Salinas Sports Complex via her Flat Track Live Facebook page.  She's already got some pics up to get you fired up for today and tomorrow's action:

AMA Pro Flat Track Facebook here:

AMA Pro Flat Track Twitter here:!/AMAProFlatTrack

AMA Pro Flat Track Salinas round 4 TT event info here:

AMA Pro Flat Track Salinas round 5 Short Track event info here:

AMA Pro Flat Track results and info (PDF versions/updated within minutes) for round 4 at the TT in Salinas can be found here:

AMA Pro Flat Track results and info (PDF versions) for round 5 at the Short Track in Salinas can be found here:

Info can be found here on the Salinas Sports Complex' Easter Weekend TT & Short Track events, rounds 4 & 5 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series:

Salinas, CA. weather courtesy of The Weather Underground:

Friday, April 22, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Sammy Halbert Reviews DuQuoin and Looks Ahead to Salinas TT & Short Track For Easter Weekend

Sammy Halbert gets ready to pop in a set of ear plugs as final adjustments are being made on his #7 Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha/Kings Kustoms YZ450F before he heads out for battle in round 3 action of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series DuQuoin, IL. on Saturday, April 16.  The Southern Illinois Center hosted it's first National event in over six years last weekend, thanks to the tireless efforts of Steve Nace Racing and his crew, and presenting sponsor Four Rivers H-D out of Paducah, KY.  Drawing a field of 55 Expert and 48 Pro Singles riders, the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track National was also the first indoor event on AMA Flat Track's schedule in over six years and was a test of the best riders in the game going at it on the bullring while turning laps in the 11 second range.
Halbert, the '09 AMA Flat Track 'Mythical' Grand National Champion, came into DuQuoin with a 17 point lead after sweeping everything he touched a wheel on at Daytona from last month's opening races. One of the early favorites due to his training regimen and his 'off-season' racing schedule, this race would be right up Slammin' Sammy's alley.  Along with some other early-race favorites including Henry Wiles, J.D. Beach and Brad Baker, Sammy and the rest were left to fend for themselves when Kenny Coolbeth, 7-Time Champ Chris Carr and defending Champ Jake Johnson didn't get the note and came home 1,2,3 in a field packed with short track specialists.  This time the veterans took the kids to school!
After leading both Baker and Beach home in the second semi to qualify for the main event, all had a distinct disadvantage right off the bat in having to start from the third row.  And even with the National extended to 30 laps (AMA Flat Track decided to add 5 laps from the normal 25-lap main event to make up for the smaller size of the track), anyone any further back then the second row had their work more then cut out for them on this short and tight track.
During the final, Halbert, Beach and Baker methodically picked off riders in the event that lasted just shy of 6:20, and when the checkers had fallen had made their way to 5th, 6th, and 7th and had brought 'em home with nary a scratch. And they survived what could have been a ruthless battle with solid points, safe rides and able to look ahead to rounds 4 and 5 in Salinas this Easter Weekend.  And Sammy heads west with a still 16 point lead in the championship battle, with 18 rounds scheduled to go for 2011.  And it was a great show watching him come through traffic, just like it's going to be a great show for the rest of the season!

On a side note, the young lady in the background, right of the picture is one of the hardest working people at an AMA Pro Flat Track event.  Miriam Deitcher brings track-side action to fans of the sport via her Flat Track Live @ Facebook page, and works tirelessly at each and every event to bring the fans at home closer to the track action, serving up race action, behind the scenes action, videos and much more.  Having done 'at the track' action for the AMA several years ago, Miriam was kind enough this year to re-start her 'at the race coverage' via Facebook.
And if there is anyone that can type any faster then this hardworking lady, I wanna meet them.  Bottom line, between AMA Pro Flat Track's Live Timing and Scoring and Miriam's Flat Track Live on Facebook, you won't miss a thing if you can't make it to the races.  Tune in to Miriam's Flat Track Live or be lost in the dust of the greatest show on wheels, The Rolling Thunder Show!
Sammy Halbert turned what could have been a disastrous event into a great show in coming from the third row at last weekend's DuQuoin Indoor Short Track, round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series, to bring it home in the 5th spot to retain a 16 point lead in the championship.  The man from Washington State put on a show of confidence and skill, working his way through the 19 rider main to score a solid top five finish in the toughest series on the planet, and what surely could have been the toughest track on the schedule.

Slammin' Sammy is headed to Salinas, CA. as this is being written for rounds 4 and 5 of the 2011 series schedule, with Salinas hosting a TT for tomorrow afternoon's event and a short track for Easter Sunday's event at the Salinas Sports Complex.  The action is just revving up early in the season, and the Rolling Thunder Show is guaranteed to keep you on your feet all year long!

Sammy talks about DuQuoin and previews Salinas for us thanks to this great video on his YouTube site:

You can also follow Slammin' Sammy National #7 here via his Facebook page:

If you haven't bookmarked this yet, do so now!  Miriam Deitcher's Flat Track Live on Facebook will keep you from jonesing away from the track and you'll know exactly what is happening at the track:

Thursday, April 21, 2011

IMS to Undergo Re-Paving In Time for 4th Annual Indianapolis RedBull MotoGP Round In Late August

Nicky Hayden on the #69 Repsol Honda leads Casey Stoner on the #27 Marlboro Ducati and one of the Rizla Suzuki riders during a practice session at the inaugaral Indianapolis RedBull MotoGP round in September of 2008.  The long awaited race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was fraught with the remnants of Hurricane Ike, and as a result the 250CC GP race was canceled, and the MotoGP race was shortened to 20 laps.  Attendance numbers have dropped for the last couple of years, mainly due to the slow-to-recover economy.  The 4th Annual Indianapolis RedBull MotoGP round will kick off on Friday, August 26, 2011. 

In what will surely be a good move to shore up inconsistencies in the track surface, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that turns 5-16 will be repaved starting in early June to repair sections of the track that came under fire from some riders during last year's 3rd Annual Indianapolis RedBull MotoGP round in August of '10.  The sections in question were originally paved back in early 2000 when Indy had signed their first agreement with the folks at Formula 1.  With this part of the Midwest suffering a severe winter in terms of snow and ice, the track suffered even more then it usually does during the winter months.

You can read the official press release here thanks to Dean Adams'

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gerit Callies Tops the AMA Pro Flat Track Motorcycle Pro Singles Final at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track

Gerit Callies took his #76L Full Throttle/Gillespie Small Honda CRF450R to his second win of the 2011 season in the AMA Pro Flat Track Motorcycle Pro Singles event inside the bullring at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, IL. last Saturday.  In winning his heat and the 20 lap final, Callies bested a 48 rider turn-out, of which 32 qualified for the Four Rivers H-D sponsored race. 
Callies added to his 2nd/1st place finishes from the season opener at Daytona to take a 14 point lead in the Pro Singles standings heading to rounds 4 and 5 at the Salinas Sports Complex this weekend in California.  The young man is off to a great start after placing 13th in the overall standings in the 2010 Pro Singles Championship.

Hayden Gillim, Gerit Callies and Jason Isennock gather up their hardware after the podium celebrations in the Pro Singles Series at DuQuoin after celebrating their 2/1/3 finishes after the 20 lap Pro Singles Main event.  After the DuQuoin round, Gillim sits 4th in the Pro Singles Championship with 39 points, Callies leads with 67 points, and Isennock is in 5th place with 33 points, with 18 more rounds scheduled for the 2011 season.

Heat race action inside the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL. shows William Cato leading on his #35C Shoe Racing/Sportland Motorsports-backed Honda CRF450R over #91Y Mikey Martin on his Weirbach Racing/General Engineering-sponsored Honda CRF450R.  Following are #69C Hayden Gillim on his Bell Helmets/34 Racing-backed Honda CRF450R and #55A Jake Shoemaker on his Scott Powersports/Penske Suspension-sponsored Suzuki RMZ450.  They would finish 1,2,3,4 in the second Pro Singles heat.  Cato led part of the final before sliding out and remounting to finish 14th, Martin would finish 4th in the final, Gillim 3rd and Shoemaker in 8th place.

After only qualifying for two events in the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Motorcycle Pro Singles Championship, Jason Isennock is starting off the 2011 season with a pretty big bang.  Riding what was reportedly a stock Suzuki RMZ450, the #30S Ellicottcity Motorsports/Foard Racing-sponsored rider is sitting in the 5th position in the 2011 Pro Singles Championship.  Jason kept eventual winner Callies honest in the final at DuQuoin, following him closely home but just coming up .404 seconds back after 20 hard fought laps.  He is supposedly been looking for a ride for the Salinas doubleheader this weekend, and with this young man's talent it would be a shame NOT to see him get one!

Here's the full list of results for round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Motorcycle Pro Singles event inside the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL.:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

AMA Road Racing: Could Mat Mladin Really Be Thinking of Returning in 2012?

Mat Mladin powers his #66 Yoshimura American Suzuki GSX-R750 through a turn at Mid Ohio during a qualifying session as part of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire round of the AMA Superbike Championship in July of '98.  The all-time winner in championships and wins in the series (7-Time AMA Superbike Champion & 82 series wins) retired after the '09 season after clinching his seventh and final championship, and literally walked away from the series after re-writing the record books for over a decade.  Reportedly he is thinking about returning to U.S. soil in 2012 to again compete in the AMA Superbike Championship.

With AMA Road Racing and the AMA Superbike Championship slowly but surely trying to rebuild credibility into the series as well as lure the crowds back to the track after the debacle that was in the 2009 season with Roger E behind the charge (or near demise as it were), the series HAS and is seeing a better version of ownership and leadership since the arrival of the DMG folks and the subsequent take over of the AMA Pro Racing rights to the series.  But with the failed economy hitting home about the same time the rug was pulled out from under everyone, it is taking much longer to rebuild the trust in the fans, and taking longer for the one's that are trusting to return due to economic hardships as a result of the fall-out.  But the series is progressing, albeit slowly, just like the economic turnaround, or recovery as it should be.

One thing that definitely couldn't hurt the credibility of the series, however, are reports that retired 7-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin is considering a return to the series in 2012, at the ripe young age of 40 years old.  Could this REALLY be a possibility, or is this just another pipe dream of hope? 

Here's the story by Henny Ray Abrams at the new digital edition on the possibility of 7-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin making a comeback in the AMA Superbike Championship in 2012:

Chaz Davies Breaks Through for 1st-Time World Supersport Win With ParkinGO Yamaha YZF-R6

Chaz Davies throws the #57 Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-6R into turn 11 at Road America during a wet practice session for the AMA Formula Xtreme Series as part of the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader round at the Elkhart Lake, WI. track in June of 2008.  Combined with his win at the Daytona 200 earlier in the year and another podium finish at Barber Motorsports Park, Davies ended the year ranked in the 5th position in the overall Formula Xtreme Series Championship for the 2008 season.
Davies had previously also ridden for Celtic Racing in Supersport and Superstock competition, and at the end of the '09 season and a year of competition in the AMA Daytona SportBike Class riding for the Aprilia factory, he took a couple of 'try-out' rides in World Supersport with the ParkinGO Racing team and agreed to ride the team's Triumph Daytona 675s during the 2010 campaign.  With four podiums to his credit, he finished fourth in the final year-end standings (and first non-Japanese manufacturer.)  The team, however, wasn't able to come to terms with Triumph for the 2011 season, and switched over to Yamaha YZF-R6s for the 2011 season.  Yamaha Motor Europe supplied the team with the '09-spec R6s that Cal Crutchlow used to take the '09 World Supersport Championship with, and is also lending the team some factory support along the way.
Chaz took his first win in the series (in 19 total events he has ridden in) last Sunday, and now sits third in the standings, five points behind team mate Luca Scassa and two points behind Kawasaki rider Broc Parkes.  With ten more rounds left in the 2011 season, look for Chaz to keep improving his learning and riding curve as he has done throughout his riding career.  It should be a fun season and he will surely add to his six total podiums and breakout win as the season progresses.

Chaz Davies finally broke through and broke his cherry in the FIM World Supersport Championship this last weekend and took the win at Assen aboard his Yamaha ParkinGO Racing Team R6, besting a full field, dodging two red flags and taking the win by just over seven seconds after an eventful round.  Davies has progressively been moving up the charts in the series even more so now that the team is equipped with the Yamaha YZF-R6s, and if not for a tire that let him down at the first round at Philip Island in February could very well have been leading the championship standings after three rounds instead of being five points in arrears to team mate Luca Scassa.

The popular Englishman, who raced for several years here in the States in the AMA Road Racing Series, was a four-time podium finisher last year in the series while riding the ParkinGO Triumph Daytona 675.  But with the team unable to come to terms with Triumph for the 2011 season, Davies has found himself improving even more on the team's Yamaha R6s.

You can read all about the exciting round in The Netherlands below and keep an eye out for Chaz for the rest of the year!

Thanks to Motorcycle News across the pond for this story on the World Supersport round in Assen:

Here's the press release from ParkinGO Racing about Chaz' breakthrough win at Assen on the Yamaha R6:

Complete results for the Assen World Supersport FIM World Championship round are here:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------'s Chris Martin talked to Chaz after his big win at Assen over the weekend:

Here's a short interview on from the folks at Superbike News in the UK that was filmed at the previous round with Chaz talking about the Yamaha R6 and the ParkinGO team:

This was the original press release when ParkinGO Racing made the announcement that they would be racing the Yamaha's in the 2011 World Supersport Series after having raced the Triumph Daytona 675 the previous year.  Thanks to Dean Adams' for this release:

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Kenny Coolbeth Cleans House at AMA Pro Flat Track DuQuoin Indoor Short Track & Leads The Veterans Home

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on his #2 Chaplin Kawasaki/Spectro Oils/ Wiseco-backed KX450F leads 7-Time AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Champion Chris Carr on his #4 AMA/Chris Carr Racing/DFW Honda-sponsored CRF450R late in the National main at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track presented by Four Rivers H-D, and held him off in the end of the 30 lap race by .606 seconds.  Coolbeth cleaned house at the Southern Illinois Center yesterday, setting fast time in practice and qualifying, winning the fastest heat of the evening as well as the Dash for Cash event, and then took home the victor's share of the winnings in the main event.  The former 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champ and '07 Singles Series Champ brought his 'A' game to the first indoor race on the series' schedule in over 6 years, and moved to 2nd in the championship standings heading to Salinas, CA. for next weekend's doubleheader TT and Short Track rounds.
The Prince of Peoria rode like an 18 year old racer all night long, winning his heat (the second fastest of the evening) and also following The King of Cool home in 2nd in the Dash for Cash.  For someone who is three events into his Farewell to Flat Track Tour, you'd have thought he was as spry as the youngsters as he shadowed the #2 for all 30 laps of the uninterupted main and got within less then half a wheel towards the closing stages of the race to threaten Coolbeth's lead.  Carr's is going all-out in his final full-time year in flat track racing and last night was a classic example of what this over 25 year veteran of the series is still capable of, even at the ripe young age of 44. 

Sammy Halbert took the long route into the main at DuQuoin last night by having to win the second semi on the evening to start the main from the third row.  Following him home in the semi were Rookie Expert Brad Baker on the #12 ENI-USA/Baker Boys Honda and J.D. Beach on his #95 USC Racing Honda.  The '09 AMA Grand National 'Mythical' Twins Champion rode like a true champion on his #7 Fredericktown Yamaha/Woody Kyle Racing/Kings Kustoms-backed YZ450F and worked his way home to a solid 5th place finish and retained a 16 point lead in the series standings. 
Slammin' Sammy's 'off-season' training regimen of running indoor races from coast-to-coast paid off in dividends on an evening that could have gone a whole lot worse on the slick, narrow and tight-cornered bull ring track.  After winning both rounds at Daytona to kick off the season, Sammy wound his way through the field in the main inside the Southern Illinois Center to finish 5.727 seconds behind winner Coolbeth. 

The men on the victory podium at the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series round at DuQuoin was a 'whose who' of AMA Pro Flat Track veteran racers and champions, and proved that age and experience pays off no matter what you do for a living.  (L-R) Chris Carr, the 7-Time AMA Grand National Champion, dogged winner Coolbeth for the entire 30 laps and at one point came within just short of a wheel of getting around the #2 winning Kawasaki of Coolbeth late in the race.  Coolbeth, the '06-'08 AMA Grand National Twins Champ and '07 Singles Series Champ, never turned a wheel wrong all day and night and made a serious case for being an early-season contender after 3 of 21 scheduled rounds.  Jersey Jake Johnson brought his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/MotionPro-sponsored Honda home in 3rd, 1.625 seconds behind Coolbeth and showed why he is the defending AMA Grand National Champion and 2-Time Single Series Champ ('06 & '08) by scoring solid points on the evening and going home 'without too much dirt' on him.  Johnson displayed his modest, yet confident smile at the end of the evening and shows that he is truly enjoying himself as the defending champion.  He has every reason to smile as he rode a mythodical race to round out the podium and add to his 3rd/4th place finishes in Daytona.  And he DIDN'T have any dirt anywhere on him or his Zanotti Racing mount.
Coolbeth's win left him 16 points behind point leader Halbert heading to Salinas (71-55.)  Johnson leaves DuQuoin with 55 points in 3rd (tie breaker to Coolbeth since he now has a win on the season), and Carr moves to 7th in the standings with 38 points.  With all of these long-time veterans running at the top of their game, next weekend at Salinas will be a major treat for the fans.  It doesn't get any better then this!

Brad Baker pushes his #12 ENI-USA REM/Arai/Baker Boys Honda CRF450R towards the track before the second semi inside the Southern Illinois Center at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds late yesterday.  The '09 AMA Pro Singles Champion and '10 runner-up is making a superior case this year for AMA Pro Flat Track Rookie of the Year.  In his first full year of Expert Class competition, Baker is riding like a long-time veteran instead of an 18 year old almost-high school graduate (Brad graduates high school in his home State of Washington in the next few weeks.) 
At Daytona he carded 4th/3rd place finishes (his first podium as an Expert in only his 5th race in 'the bigs'), at DuQuoin last night he showed levels of a true champion after having to come out of the second semi behind Slammin' Sammy to also have to start the main on the third row.  Working his way through the field with also-first full year Expert J.D. Beach, Baker brought it home in 7th place, 6.450 seconds behind winner Coolbeth.  Beach finished 6th just ahead.
With the series heading west for rounds 4 and 5 next weekend, keep an eye on this fine young man with the million dollar smile and steady throttle hand.  And once he gets on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati in May at Springfield we'll see more of this great racer's talent as one of the stars of tomorrow in AMA Pro Flat Track Series racing.

Row 3 and 4 of the main event at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track presented by Four Rivers H-D and promoted by Steve Nace Racing was loaded with flat track talent.  (L-R) Donald Mullen II starts on the outside pole on his #71 Shevendoah Honda/Zafian Family-sponsored Honda CRF450R, and finished the evening in the 15th spot of the 19 riders in the main.  J.D. Beach brought his #95 USC Motorsports/Top 1 Oil/Alpinestars-sponsored Honda CRF450R (leaving his Kawasaki parked for the evening) out of the second semi behind Halbert and Baker, and then sandwiched the pair in the 6th spot in the final for a solid evening.  After missing both Daytona rounds, the full-time road racer and part-time flat tracker leaves DuQuoin in the lucky 13th spot in the standings with 13 points, and is on the pre-entry lists for Salinas without any conflicting road races to keep him from playing in the dirt.
Brandon Robinson probably would have preferred a top ten finish to his eventual 11th on his #44 Action Motorsports/Arai/Derby Ridge-sponsored Honda CRF450R at DuQuoin, but after an evening that started with 48 riders making the final cut-off to qualify for the evening (out of 55 Experts timing in on the day less then .5 seconds apart), leaving with 8 points and 18th in the standings to start the year off has got to be of some to relief for this tough young man.  Baker on his #12 and Halbert on his #7 get ready to hook-up with Beach in their march to the front.  John Wood on his #88 Scott Powersports/Bear Racing Products-backed Honda CRF450R had a rough evening finishing 18th in the 19 man field, but leaves DuQuoin 10th in the standings with 21 points.
Henry Wiles on his #17 Monster Energy Kawasaki/Don's/Jones Bros.-backed KX450F had a rough day in making the main, especially considering the 2-Time and defending Singles Series Champ's record in the Illini State.  Suffering clutch-related issues on the evening and getting rammed from behind in the third heat to make things go from bad to worse, Hammerin Hank had to use a provisional to start dead last, where he ultimately finished, 11 laps off the pace, with a bum leg that reportedly kept him being able to pivot in the corners.  He heads west 12th in the standings with 17 points, going into a two-race weekend of Singles Series events, where he is still the most dominate rider in the series over the course of the last few years. 

Round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series inside the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL. is in the bags, and we've learned one thing at this early point of the season, and that is experience counts.  With three long-time series veterans making their mark at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track, the young guns in the series were taken to school by the multi-talented champions.
Special thanks must go out on this well-run event to the great folks at Steve Nace Racing, who promoted the the return to the Southern Illinois Center after an over six year hiatus.  A most gracious vote of thanks goes out to Kelly with the Steve Nace crew for her help with all of the media credentials and seamless running of this great run on the bull ring for the Rolling Thunder Show.  And hat's off to new for '11 AMA Flat Track Director Dan Johnsen, Steve Morehead and the AMA Pro Flat Track crew for also putting on a great show last night in Southern Illinois.
The greatest show on wheels heads west for next weekend's doubleheader round at the Salinas Sports Complex for some TT and Short Track action in rounds 4 and 5.  If you are anywhere near the area you owe it to yourself to take in the oldest form of motorcycle racing competition in the U.S. and see the stars of the AMA Pro Flat Track Series.  In what is promising to be another great year in competition in the series, the great turnaround we have been experiencing in AMA Flat Track is heading full steam ahead!

Stay tuned to Stu's Shots throughout the week as we bring you more from the weekend's events at DuQuoin and get you geared up for next weekend's series doubleheader.  We'll also have highlights of the Pro Single Series which saw now-2-time winner in the series Gerit Callies top the box on his #76L Full Throttle Honda, and glance at the stars of tomorrow's class of fine racers.  In a series that offers the best competition that money can buy, the men and women of AMA Flat Track always deliver when it counts.

Larry Lawrence has this story at of the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series round 3 event inside the Southern Illinois Center at DuQuoin, IL."

Dave Hoenig who doubles as the official AMA Pro Flat Track photographer and also runs his site, Flat Trak, penned this story of the race thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track:

Here is the link to the results for the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track at the Southern Illinois Center for the Expert Singles Class round 3:

AMA Pro Flat Track also has the complete results for both the Expert Grand National Singles Series, but the Pro Singles Series here:

Dave Hoenig has the overall results at his, and within a couple of days will also have links to photos at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track presented by Four Rivers H-D out of Paducah, KY.: