Saturday, June 11, 2011

AMA Flat Track: 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Season to Wrap-Up at Pomona With World Flat Track Finals

Some of the main protagonists in the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series are lined up and ready to go for the final qualifying session at the Springfield Mile on May 29. 

(L-R) Bryan Smith on his #42 H-D/ Racing-sponsored XR, Matt Weidman #20 White's H-D/SNIP/Shoei/Silkolene-backed XR (partially obscured by his wrench and Dad, Guy Weidman), Chris Carr on his #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/DFW Honda/Arai/Phoenix Racing-sponsored XR (with his long-time tuner, Kenny Tolbert seen just behind Carr), Jared Mees on his #9 Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-sponsored XR, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on his #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin Eagle/Spectro Oils/Fox-backed H-D Factory XR, and Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/MotionPro/Arai-sponsored XR-750. 

Also partially seen in this shot are Sammy Halbert #7 on his Kings Kustoms/LZ Racing/KK Supply/Nelson Racing-sponsored XR (seen just over Mees' right shoulder), and Brandon Robinson on his #44 Action Motorsports/Big Dawg Racing/Arai/Power Bar-sponsored XR (just behind Johnson.)

Going into round 8 today (the second Twins Series event on the 2011 calendar) at the Hartford Motor Speedway in Hartford, MI., currently 5 of these riders are sitting in the top 6 of the overall point standings of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series season. 

Jersey Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing machines has shown just about everyone that top 5's (and wins at the Salinas and Springfield TTs) are what he is capable of bringing to the table this year in defending his 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship.  He currently sits 2nd in the standings just 7 points in arrears behind current leader Sammy Halbert (145-138 points.)

7-Time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr and his Chris Carr Racing/2011 Farewell to Flat Track Tour are putting up numbers that some of the 'young' guys would be proud of, let alone an over-25 year veteran of the series, in what is being billed as his 'swan song' to his illustrious riding career.  The Prince of Peoria sits 6th in the current overall standings as a result of his never-say-die attitude and ability to still run with the best under all types of conditions and on all types of tracks.  With a 3rd place finish at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track to go along with three solid 6th place finishes (Salinas TT and Short Track, Springfield Mile I), Carr is putting in great results in his final year of competition.  He has 80 points in his current-6th place standing, 65 behind leader Slammin Sammy.

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. is in the midst of a career-year by anyone's standards, but the 3-Time AMA Twins Series Champ and '07 Singles Series Champ isn't just anyone.  After his off-season switch to the Chaplin Kawasaki (having been on Bettencourts's Hondas for several years), coupled with his off-season training regimen, The King of Cool is putting up numbers that include a win at the DuQuoin Indoor Short Track and a 4th place finish at the Springfield Mile I.  Currently 4th in the overall standings with 104 points, look for KC to battle all-year long in his quest to add the overall GN Championship to his racing resume.

Jared Mees, fresh off his first win in almost four years, as well as his initial win on the Springfield Mile, is right back where he left off at the end of the 2010 campaign.  Mr. Consistency should be his mantra, as Jammin Jared is showing that no matter whether he is running the Singles or the Twins Series bikes, he is going to be there when the final checkers waive.  Currently 3rd in the overall championship standings with 112 points, anyone that doubts that Mees will be there in the end could be disappointed when the series wraps up at Pomona in October.

Sammy Halbert currently leads the overall standings after seven rounds, and is also putting up numbers that should see him fighting to the end to garner his first Grand National Championship.  Since his opening salvo round wins at Daytona, Halbert has fought extremely hard under adverse conditions to string together several 5th place finishes (DuQuoin, Salinas & Springfield TTs) and a 2nd place finish at the Springfield Mile I.  Slammin Sammy also has a Dash win under his belt from Springfield on May 29 to help him keep his point lead in front of the crowd that is fighting to catch him.

With the Twins Series kicking into gear for the summer haul, expect to see Bryan Smith work his way into contention with his new team.  After two break-out wins on the Werner Springsteen Monster Energy Kawasaki in 2010, Smith decided to go his own way after the Daytona rounds in March.  He has struggled massively in the Singles Series, where every movement counts in terms of milli-seconds, but with his new XR at Springfield two weeks ago, the #42 rider was back at the front on the mile oval, winning his heat in a thrilling to-the-wire effort.  Unfortunately during the main, his mount expired and the end result was a 17th place finish.  Look for those results to improve now getting into the 'meat' of the Twins Series schedule.

Matt Weidman should also improve on his current 10th place/47 points in the standings.  The cushion track season is upon us and his ability to wrestle a twin on those tracks should help play into his hands.

The 5th place rider in the current standings (and not pictured in this shot) is Brad Baker on the #12 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ Ducati.  After his stellar run at Springfield I two weeks ago, fighting off a high-speed wobble on the straights that just as easily could have put him into the ground, the 18 year old rider out of Washington State has amassed 99 points in the standings.  His 5th place finish at Springfield I, and his almost-win at the Salinas TT in his rookie season of Expert competition were just two examples of what this fine young man and future of the sport is capable of.

Now let's go racing and see what happens as The Rolling Thunder Show hits it's stride for the 2011 season!

AMA Pro Flat Track World Finals Returning to SoCal Glory
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (June 10, 2011) - AMA Pro Racing and the Bellino-Morgan partnership are proud to announce that an agreement has been reached to bring professional flat track back to Los Angeles. On October 15, the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship will culminate in the AMA Pro Flat Track World Finals at the Fairplex in Pomona, where the best of the best in the flat track world will meet to decide which riders leave with crowns. 

Long the traditional setting of the year-end event, the challenging half-mile is a welcome addition to the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track calendar and the perfect place for AMA Pro Racing to crown its series champions.

"AMA Pro Racing couldn't ask for a more fitting finale to what's already been a fantastic Flat Track season," said AMA Pro Racing COO and Managing Member David Atlas. "We're proud to add another quality venue to our season calendar, and we're immensely enthusiastic about both the Bellino-Morgan partnership and a return to the glory of Southern Californian tradition."

Bob Bellino, of Circle Bell Motorsports, is well known as the promoter of both the returning Sacramento Mile and the second-annual Calistoga Half-Mile; Chris Morgan, of Motorsports Ventures, is the West Coast Director of DirtCar, the sanctioning body for the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.

"Chris has an extensive background in motorsport promotion," said Bellino. "We met when he came to Northern California to promote the series of World of Outlaw races held this spring, and we hit it off right away. Our ideas about promoting races and giving the race fan the best value for their dollar are very similar."

"We're excited about the creation of the world finals concept and the opportunity to play host to the final round of the AMA Pro Flat Track calendar," said Morgan. "We look forward to combining the history of Pomona, the excitement of AMA Pro Flat Track, and the star power and glamour of Los Angeles into a grand finale for the 2011 AMA Pro tour."

The 2011 season marks the first since 1999 that more than one National has been held in the Golden State, and the AMA Pro Flat Track World Finals will undoubtedly be a night to remember. The evening with crown not one but two AMA Pro Flat Track Champions, as both the Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship and the Pro Singles Championship will be decided at the Fairplex.

AMA Pro Flat Track action at the season-ender in Pomona in October 2009 shows (L-R) #1 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., #43 Sammy Halbert, #21 Jared Mees, #17 Henry Wiles, #3 Joe Kopp, #33 JR Schnabel, #42 Bryan Smith, #69 Jethro Halbert (partially obscured by Halbert), and Chris Carr #4.  Wiles went on to take the win.  AMA Pro Flat Track official photo by Dave Hoenig.

The event will also mark the end of Chris Carr's Farwell Tour, as the seven-time Grand National Champion will be stepping away from a full-time assault on the points race at the end of this year. If early season race results are any indication, however, Carr could very well be in the hunt for his stunning eighth title when the "Rolling Thunder Show" descends on the Fairplex in Pomona this fall.

The deep cushion of the Fairplex half-mile was a staple on the Grand National Series for years, running spring and fall races in 1992 through 1995 and returning briefly to the schedule in 2009. Among the current crop of riders, only Chris Carr (1993) and Henry Wiles (2009) have posted wins at Pomona. Historically, the track has favored the hard-charging "cushion masters," and AMA Hall of Fame inductee Scott Parker-who posted a legendary six wins at the circuit-is the only rider who's ever repeated there.

The addition of the AMA Pro Racing Flat Track World Finals expands the 2011 calendar to twenty-two races, culminating in a Western three-race swing that comprises the Calistoga Half-Mile National on October 1, the Yavapai Downs Mile II on October 9, and the AMA Pro Racing Flat Track World Finals at the Fairplex in Pomona, October 15.

For tickets to and information about the AMA Pro Racing Flat Track World Finals, visit or call (707) 703-3633.

To be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit us at

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,

Here's the link to AMA Pro Flat Track's schedule list (which also includes event info, results, etc.) for the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series events.  Note that as of this writing that the schedule has NOT been updated to indicate the addition of the Pomona round to wrap-up the season:

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