Friday, July 29, 2011

AMA Flat Track: What's 'Glowing On' in the 2011 AMA Grand National Championship Series, Heading to Sacramento Version

Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/Arai-sponsored H-D XR-750 supplied some of the main event fireworks at round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series, at the Lake Odessa/I-96 Half-Mile event with his glowing rear disc.  Jake told Cycle's Larry Lawrence after the main that the red-hot disc (which I commented you could have fried bacon on) didn't have any affect on his machine's handling ability, as he came home a solid 3rd place, just 1.826 seconds behing winner Jared Mees, and .165 seconds behind runner-up Bryan Smith. 

With less then six laps to go in the 25-lap National, Jake was right on Smith's heels when he hit a rut on the track coming out of turn 4, that all but sent him out of the saddle.  He collected magnificently, and settled into his solid 3rd place finish, and was all smiles on the podium after what had been a rough stretch of races outside of the top 3 since winning the Springfield TT and getting 3rd at the mile in Springfield. 

Even with the strong runs-of late from Mees and Smith, this man historically doesn't really get rolling in the series until the second half of the season.  Jake Johnson's time has come, so you don't want to miss what he can, and most probably will, bring to the track. 

Earlier in the evening the defending AMA Grand National Champion had scored maximum value bonus points by winning the four-lap Dash for Cash event over runner-up Mees, 3rd place Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (in what I believe was the 2010 AMA Pro Singles Champion's first Dash event on the #23 Eddie Adkins XR), 4th place Brad Baker and 5th place Bryan Smith.  Sammy Halbert rounded out the Dash event in 6th place, but with zero points.

Brad Baker on the #12 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ Insurance/ENI USA-sponsored Ducati, leads Sammy Halbert #7 on his Kings Kustoms/White's H-D/LZ Racing/KK Supply-sponsored XR-750, with returning-to-the-track Henry Wiles on his #17 Greg Crow Racing/Gardner Racing/Salina H-D/DPC Racing-sponsored XR-750 during heat one action at round 11 in Lake Odessa.  They finished as shown in their 8-lap heat, and along with 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champion, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., had punched their ticket for the main event.

No matter what he tried, Slammin' Sammy could not get around Rookie of the Year candidate Baker on the LBM Ducati.  Baker put on a great show at the I-96 half-mile, and helped to prove that you CAN get the Big Duc to hook-up on a track smaller then a mile oval.  The Bullet faced a barrage of XRs in the main that, after a great start, ended up relagating him to 9th in the final.  He's hanging tough and is showing that his 5th place in the overall championship standings (131 points) is definitely no fluke.  And this fine young man has the patience and ability to get it all figured out, and when he does, look out!

Sammy ran a great race in the main, bringing his #7 machine home in the 4th spot, 4.423 seconds behind winner Jared Mees.  He also held onto the overall point lead (for now) over Mees, 206-203 points, with Johnson now in 3rd with 197 markers.  The point battle has tightened up, and the fire is hot and burning!

And returning to the track after his late April surgery, 2-Time AMA Singles Champion Henry Wiles showed why he is a champion by qualifying 6th on the evening, and eventually riding home comfortably in the 12 spot.  Hammerin Hank didn't make the final decision to ride until less then 48 hours before the Lake Odessa event, and came in on 'tip toes' to test his surgically repaired leg/knee.  He did a heckuva job, and had a lot of people smiling and VERY glad to see him back.  He should get much stronger and more confident as the rest of the season rolls on in The Rolling Thunder Show.  Welcome back, Henry, and it's great to have you back out there getting it again!

Heat race 3 contestants Matt Weidman #20 on his White's Harley-Davidson/SNIP/Shoei/Silkolene-sponsored H-D XR-750 and Chris Carr on his #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/Classic H-D/DFW Honda/Arai-sponsored XR, battled close in their heat race, with Carr getting the advantage after the red flag restart to get 3rd behind winner Johnson and runner-up Mees.  7-Time AMA Grand National Champion Carr fought the good fight in the final, to come home 4.596 back of winner Mees in the 5th spot, and Matt came back from a bad start to garner his best finish of the year in the Twins Series with a very promising 6th place finish, 5.1 seconds behind Mees. 

Carr will be returning to one (of MANY) of his multi-winning tracks through out his 26+ year Expert career in AMA Flat Track, where he has stood on top of the box at Sacramento a total of nine times.  He is also one of only three riders in the top 20 (Coolbeth and JR Schnabel) in the series that raced Sacto back in '99 when the series last visited (and of course, he won.)  Just because he was gifted a rocking chair by the folks at I-96 Speedway last Saturday as part of his 2011 Farewell to Flat Track Tour, doesn't necessarily mean he is quite ready to use it, yet.  Look for a strong finish out of the second-winningest rider in AMA Grand National Championship Series racing, come tomorrow night!  Between Carr's ability to handle a GNC bike at close to 140 mph in the draft on the mile, and his tuner, Kenny Tolbert, able to extract the max out of a modern XR, the duo should have a hot set-up in round 12.  The Prince of Peoria currently sits in the 7th spot of the overall championship with 117 points.

I got a chance to talk with Matt for a few brief minutes at Lake Odessa between the action, and he was still pumped about his 2nd place finish at Lima at the end of June.  His year has gone much better in 2011, as his family-owned and run team has been fortunate to not suffer any major mechanical ills in their XR stable this year.  Last year was rough on Matt and Family, as they lost a motor at Lima and again at the Labor Day Weekend Springfield Mile, and also suffered a mechanical with one of Carl Patrick's XRs at Springfield.

Matt mentioned that he is scheduled to ride one of Patrick's XRs at Sacramento this weekend, and he was VERY excited to be able to do that on a fast mile.  Patrick is long-known for his great tuning and set-up abilities, and ranks towards the top in the series' history of pumping out fast and serious HP, that unlike what happened to them at Springfield last year, DOES have a reputation of holding together well in mile competition.  Watch out for the former AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year in the second half of the season, as he looks to improve on his 8th place spot in the overall championship standings (104 points.)

Jared Mees #9 on his Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-backed XR runs ahead of Bryan Smith on the #42 Moroney's H-D/ Racing-sponsored XR during one of the early practice sessions at Lake Odessa.  Mees went on to win his 3rd race of the season, with Flyin Bryan running ALMOST this close to The Jammer all night in the 25-lap main, and eventually finishing 1.661 seconds back. 

Both are on hot streaks in the series, and should be watched VERY closely come tomorrow afternoon when practice rolls off in Sacramento.  Mees, for his great run in the last six Twins Series events (and overall this year!) and Smith for his series of great finishes in the Twins Series since kicking off his new team at Springfield just over a month ago.

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. waits on his #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin' Eagle/Spectro Oils/Fox-sponsored H-D Factory XR-750 for the AMA officials to waive him out for the start of heat race one at Lake Odessa on July 23.  The King of Cool fought all night to get to the front, coming in 4th in his heat race to Baker, Sammy and Henry Wiles, and then scored valuable points in the main event with a solid 8th-place finish.  Heading to the Sacto Mile tomorrow, this is one of the guys to keep a VERY close eye on at the return of the series to the Cal Expo Fairgrounds.  You NEVER count out either H-D Factory power OR Kenny Coolbeth on a mile race track. 

Coolbeth currently sits 4th in the overall championship standings with 176 points, 21 behind Johnson, and in all likelihood, the last remaining threat at the championship other then the top 3 of Sammy, Mees and Johnson, and with the bulk of the remaining schedule being in the Twins Series, the Factory H-D of #2 will be right in the thick of it!

Mikey Martin beams on the podium after taking his #91Y Weirbach Racing/General Engineering-sponsored Honda CRF450R to the win in round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Singles Championship at Lake Odessa on July 23.  AMA announcer Barry Boone almost looks as happy as the rest of the folks on the box, which also includes runner-up Conner Anderson (in his first AMA Pro Single podium, white leathers), who rode his #11L Diesel Minnesota/Larsons Cycle-sponsored Honda to a great finish, 4.322 seconds behind winner Martin.  Jake Shoemaker took his #55A Scott Powersports/REV-IT-backed Suzuki RMZ450 to close 3rd place finish, just .348 seconds back of Anderson.

Martin has now won two Pro Singles events after 11 of now-scheduled 21 rounds this year, and holds a 10 point lead in the championship standings over Gerit Callies #76L (184-174 points), who missed the main at the I-96 Speedway, and 3rd placed man Mikey Avila, on the #33E (171 points), who finished 15th on the night in Michigan.  Jason Isennock on the #30S sits fourth in the hunt (83 points), with Shoemaker in the 5th spot (82 points.)  With the close racing being seen in the Pro Singles Series, this championship is sure to go down to the last event of the year!

You can read Larry Lawrence's story on the 'glowing ons' at round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series from Lake Odessa, MI., here at Cycle's Digital Edition (thanks LL and CN!):

And thanks go out, as always, to Tyler Porter from Fight For Dirt for his 'Inslide Line' column this week that talks about last weekend's racing at I-96 Speedway:

And you can read a preview of tomorrow's round 12 event on the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Series schedule, the return of the Sacramento Mile, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds, penned by Dan Jacobson, Sr., and posted at Today's Cycle (thanks guys for a great write-up on the return of this great event to the series calendar!):

Thursday, July 28, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Jared Mees Checks In After Winning His 3rd Race of the Year at Lake Odessa

Jared Mees' #9 Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-sponsored mounts sit underneath the team's pop-up awning during round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the Lake Odessa, MI. half-mile event.  Team crew chief Brent Armbruster (background, right) and another member of the team work on getting The Jammer's machines ready during the break in the on-track action.  Mees' can be seen walking between the team's pit area towards the transporter in the background.

Mees and the Rogers Lake Racing team showed up ready for whatever may come their way for the I-96 Speedway half-mile event, with three immaculately prepared Harley-Davidson XR-750s.  Mees opted to ride two of those machines during the day's events, and went on to win the main and take second place to Jake Johnson in the Dash for Cash event.  The team loaded up after the Lake Odessa round to head for round 12 on Saturday, July 30, at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds, for the return of the Sacramento Mile.

Jared Mees #9 & Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs H-D Press Release: Lake Odessa Half-Mile, Win # 3 on the Season for The Jammer and Team!

This is a race I have been itching to win for years now. I have come close several times, finishing 2nd to Kenny Coolbeth one year, and at another time I had a good shot at it but three laps from the finish I had a flat tire. Like Hagerstown, it is just one of those races I have really wanted to win. It’s my adopted hometown crowd and a lot of friends come out to watch this race which gets pretty hyped up around the area.

The first time out on the track for practice I felt awesome but was slow. I tried a different bike for the next round, the first qualifying, and was 5th fastest, and then in the last round, the final qualifying, I was 1st, giving me a combined 3rd fastest. I was on the pole in the 3rd Heat with Jake Johnson who was very close to my time in the final qualifying. So I knew he was going to be THE guy. Sure enough, he grabbed the hole shot and set a very fast pace. I had nothing for him, and then we had a red flag when Steve Murray went down. ON the re-start I got a decent jump. Jake missed a shift going down the back stretch allowing me to get by. A few laps later Jake went sailing by again. I ended up 2nd in the Heat, good enough to get into the Dash for Cash.

For the Dash I changed bikes again to see if this one was better. I got the hole shot and felt good but slipped in one of the corners and Jake got by me again. I got a 2nd, which I was pretty happy with—especially the 4 points that went with it.

For the Main Event I was not ready to give up on it but again figured that Jake was the guy to beat. I thought that if I could just stick right behind him and get a 2nd it would be a pretty good night. He waxed me in the Heat and the Dash, so I knew his speed was better than mine. I got a decent, not great, start and was riding my same line I had been all day, which earlier had not helped. I went into turn 1 down low and passed two riders, and off turn 2 passed Bryan Smith and took off. I just kept hitting my marks and when the 5-to-go flag came out I peeked over my shoulder and saw my gap. I was able to maintain the lead until the finish to make one of my dreams come true by winning the I-96.

This was my 3rd win of the year. I had a lot of making up to do as I had not won a race in ’08, ’09 or ’10—in spite of winning the 2009 GNC Twins Championship, (one of the years in which the AMA chose to not have a Combined Championship) and instead split it into the Twins and Singles Championship , which Henry Wiles was the Singles Champion.

It was very exciting to have two of my good buddies, Bryan Smith and Jake Johnson, sharing the podium at I-96, having finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

We are on our way to Sacramento right now, driving the rig out with Jake, Nichole Cheza and Jimmy Wood. No time to relax and enjoy the win.

Until next time, thank you to my team, sponsors and all the flat track fans out there.

Jammin’ Jared Mees # 9

Rogers Lake Racing, Blue Springs H-D, Screamin’ Eagle, Lucas Oil, National Cycle, Twisted Beverage CompanyTM, Saddlemen, Digger Helm 57, M.E.H. Corp, Rod Lake, GoodwinRacing, Rockysonline .com, Arai Helmets, Speed Strength Leathers, KK Motorcycle Supply, A&A Racing, Steve & Cindy Vizzo, Battley Cycles,MRT Racing, Kelly’s, MTA, JE Pistons, Cometic Gaskets, VP Racing Fuels,Tsubaki, Motion Pro, TCX Boots, Troy Lee Designs, K&N Filters, Millennium Technologies, Vortex, Craig Pickett, Goodridge, Works Connection, Rekluse Clutches, Gene & Gail Cummings, Eddie Mulder, NGK, Z Gallerie, Dick Winters, Oakley, WestCoast Hot Shoes, Jupiter Wheels, EBC, Mikuni, Web Cam, Ancra, J&M Racing Frames, Pro Plates, Kold Kutter, Turn 1 Distributing, Crank Works Crank Shafts, EZ-up, Suburban H-D, Twenty Six Suspension, Flash, G2, Penske Racing, Chicken Hawk, Ferrea Valves, J2 Motorsports, Royal Publishing Co., Applied Diamond Coatings, M&Z Anodizing, Brent Armbruster, CV4, Bristol Core, Universal Coatings, Hammer Head , Hot Rods, TSS Graphics, Dyno Jet, DVS Shoes, Xtremely Fit, Aerodyne, Boyesen, Wrex .ca, Fluidyne, Helix, Gunk, Kicker.


You can check out some of Jared Mees and Blue Springs H-D's videos below via their You links.  They don't have a new vid posted yet from Lake Odessa, but should soon.  All of the team's videos are put together by the great team of Will Fulford and Yve Assad from The Fast and, so you won't be dissapointed!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AMA Flat Track Stars Head West for Sacramento Mile on July 30

Jake Johnson on the #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/MotionPro-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR-750 and Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-backed XR get ready to roll out for heat 3 action during round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at Lake Odessa, MI. on June 23.  Mees, who would go on to win his 3rd race of the season at I-96 Speedway, and Johnson, who has two wins in 2011, are doing there best impression of keeping current overall points leader Sammy Halbert on the #7 Kings Kustoms XR within striking distance just past the half-way mark of the series' schedule.

Jammin' Jared won the main after coming home 2nd in the night's Dash event earlier in the evening, and Jersey Jake came home 3rd in the main behind winner Mees and runner-up Bryan Smith, after winning the Dash and his heat race earlier in the evening, over Mees.  Both have been running extremely consistent (as usual for the pair!) and sit within nine points total of Halbert with 11 of 21-now scheduled events in the can for the year.  Slammin' Sammy leads with 206 points, Mees follows with 203, and Johnson, the defending AMA Grand National Champion sits a solid 3rd just six points behind Mees.  Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 H-D Motor Co. Factory XR-750 sits close behind in the overall title hunt with 176 points.

Going into the 'revived' Sacramento Mile on Saturday, July 30 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds, odds are that these four men will be at the front come Saturday evening in the main event, and very possibly the Dash event, too.  All have some of the best equipment in the business, especially when it comes to the big tracks, and all four are gunning for that top spot on the box, now and at the end of the year!

AMA Pro Flat Track Makes High-Speed Return to the Sacramento Mile

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (July 27, 2011) - After a decade away, the roars of AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track racing will again be heard at the prestigious Sacramento Mile, when the championship returns to the Cal Expo Fair July 30. The infamous Mile track will give California fans the chance to witness one of the most thrilling sights in all motorcycle racing: multi-rider hordes engaged in furious, high-speed drafting battles, the kind of heart-stopping action that typifies competition on the country's best Mile circuits.

Strategy and drafting abilities are key to netting good results in mile racing, as are the patience and endurance required to test your rivals for the twenty laps before making your move through the last five. Mile racing tends to favor the series' best, most race-savvy riders - those who've had enough experience with late-race maneuvering to know exactly when to spring their traps.

Seven-time Grand National Champion Chris Carr is a prime example of the kind of wily, veteran rider the rest of the field will be on-guard against, and it was Carr - currently in the middle of his "Farewell Tour" - who won the 1999 edition of the Sacramento Mile, his ninth victory overall on the ultra-fast circuit. The AMA Pro Flat Track field is deep, however, with more than enough top challengers to ensure that Carr, and the rest of the pack, have their hands more than full.

Sammy Halbert (King's Kustoms/Larry Zumbrun Racing) has held the Combined Grand National Champions points lead since the series' opening round in Daytona, but he's come under increasing pressure from Jared Mees (Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson) in recent rounds. At last week's I-96 Michigan round, Mees earned his third win of the season, tying Halbert for race victories and narrowing Halbert's combined lead to very dangerous three points. 

2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series actions sees Sammy Halbert #7 leading Kenny Coolbeth #2, Brad Baker #12 and the rest of the pack in a thrilling mile oval shoot-out, a regular scene on The Rolling Thunder Show.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

Defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing) - who, like Mees, is backed by a California business - lurks just six points behind in third overall, and is intent on adding another win to the two race victories he's managed thus far. Other riders to keep an eye on are the American Motorcyclist Association's Chris Carr, Harley-Davidson's Bryan Smith, and White's Harley-Davidson's Matt Weidman.

At the opposite end of the strategic and calculating Expert class is the Pro Singles event -- a flat out, wide-open race that sees a deep field of up-and-coming riders push their 450cc single mounts to the limits. Comprised of the series' youngest professional racers, the Pro Singles class is famously unpredictable, and you never know when a local rider may step forward to make a name for themselves on the national AMA Pro Racing stage.

California riders Mikey Avila (SDI Insulation/M.E.H. Corp) and Mikey Martin (Weirbach Racing) quickly filtered to the top of the 2011 class point standings, but Gerit Callies (Full Throttle) has thus far split the two. Martin leads the Pro Singles Championship by ten points over Callies, who's currently holding off Avila to the tune of three very fragile points.

With such slim margins in play and home-town crowds bearing witness, the Sacramento Mile - which represents only the second opportunity the young Pro Singles riders have had to test themselves on a Mile track this year - is sure to present some of the most intense motorsports action fans have seen. Huge losses and huge gains are up for grabs on the mile dirt, with contests rarely decided until the finish.

For Sacramento Mile tickets and information, visit or call 916-263-3049. To learn more and be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit and join us on and

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,

Monday, July 25, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Johnny Lewis Rocks Sideburn Magazine on His Scott Powersports Kawasaki

Johnny Lewis on his #10 Scott Powersports/Dubach Racing Developments-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based machine heads out for his heat race during round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, MI. on Saturday, July 23.  JL10, who currently sits 6th in the overall point standings for the season, has been the dominating Kawasaki-mounted rider and team in the 2011 season, with the Scott Powersports team providing a great mount for him to campaign. 

After finishing 2nd at the Hagerstown Half-Mile on July 9, Lewis' night at Lake Odessa was a little more of a work-out for him in his second full year of Twins Series competition.  Failing to qualify for the National out of his heat, he made a great show of it in the semi, coming from the back and working his way to the front.  After a red flag delay, Lewis wasted little time in getting to the front, and winning his semi race to qualify for the 18 rider main event.  He eventually finished 13th on the night, and put in a great ride in doing so.  Look for more out of this great team at round 12 at the Sacramento Mile on Saturday, July 30.

Johnny Lewis has been improving dramatically this year in the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series.  As the lone member of the Scott Powersports/Dubach Racing Development team, he has been putting in ride after inspiring ride in taking the Kawasaki 650R-based machine to some solid rides and results in the series, and in the process has been the highest qualifying AND finishing Kawasaki in the field. 

After their first season together in 2010, this season has proved that the team is getting much better at cranking out solid, top-10 results (barring his 13th from last Saturday at Lake Odessa) in order to stay in the top 10 of the 2011 overall point standings.

While at Lake Odessa on Saturday and enjoying the action, I shot a boatload of pics over the course of the day (I know, nothing new here!), and after returning home and reviewing them, I noticed in the shots I took of JL10 and his team that they are running a 'Sideburn' sticker on the right side panel of one their machines.  Sideburn, for those of you unfamiliar with their great work, is a British-based group of journalists that cover flat track racing in the UK and abroad.  And these guys do a great job of throwing out info on our great U.S. series, the AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series, as well.

So, when I found that Johnny and the Scott team were running one of their stickers, I had to throw them a bone to show that Sideburn gets rocked on here in the U.S. as well!  Check out what they had to say below (and a big thanks to Gary and Company at Sideburn for being so kind as to run one of my shots and talk about Stu's Shots on this side of the pond.  You guys rock, on AND off the track!


AMA Road Racing: Tommy Hayden & Danny Eslick Take Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Wins

Aggressive Tommy Hayden Takes Third 2011 SuperBike Victory on Red Bull USGP Stage

MONTEREY, CA (July 24, 2011) - The final race of the Red Bull USGP weekend was arguably the best of the event, as AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike rider Tommy Hayden (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) spun out 23 laps that were a perfect mix of patience and aggression. Taking the win over Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes, Hayden lofted his third first-place trophy of the season in front of his well-known father, Earl Hayden, even more famous brothers, Nicky and Roger, and thousands of cheering Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca fans.

"We were going pretty fast," said Tommy; "it definitely wasn't an easy pace. Once he took his rhythm, I just settled in and followed him around for a while. The last lap was obviously pretty intense -- I couldn't have crossed over by more than an inch or something [on the last pass], then I got it picked up and just tried to hold him off. I think I'm maybe fighting a little harder at the end [in recent races]; being a little more aggressive. I feel like I had the speed all year -- like I could have easily won five or six races this year -- so I'm just going to go to New Jersey and try to keep it going."

Off the start, the race quickly split into a pair of battles, Hayes and Tommy Hayden fighting over first while Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Blake Young and National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden tore through a contest for third. M4 Suzuki's Martin Cardenas was bringing up the chase pack in fifth when he flew off into the gravel after just a handful of laps, reentering the race in tenth. Up front, Hayes continued to lead lap after lap while stalked by Tommy Hayden, while Roger tried desperately to find a way past Young for third.

Tommy Hayden on the #22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki leads Josh Hayes on the #1 Monster Energy Grave Yamaha during AMA Pro American Superbike Championship Series action at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on July 24, 2011.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

As Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom moved up to assume the fifth-place spot, the riders behind him began to spread out, with the exception of ERB's Geoff May, who refused to let go of Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha Chris Clark. With eight laps to go there came a change toward the front, as Roger Hayden slid up the inside to take third from Young.

With five laps to go -- as Cardenas sailed past May and began gunning for Clark -- Tommy capitalized on a mistake from Hayes in the Corkscrew and regained the lead as the duo exited the world-famous track feature. Holding the Yamaha rider off through the next three laps, Tommy took the white flag while threading through traffic. Hayes wasn't ready to concede defeat, however, taking the lead back oh-so-briefly and then trying again in the race's final turn. Slicing across Hayes' front wheel, Tommy slammed the door on the defending champ and tore across the finish line, taking the win by .233 seconds.
"I really thought that if I could get up to top of Turn 5 ahead of him, I had a pretty good shot," said Hayes. "But out of the Corkscrew he got a little gap on me, and I tried to get the best drive I could, but at that point it was pretty much his race once we got in the last turn. I tried really hard, but I came out second today."

Josh Hayes, Tommy Hayden and Blake Young celebrate on the podium after the AMA Pro American Superbike Championship Series event at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on July 24, 2011.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

The margin that would decide Tommy's brother's race fate was even narrower: Roger Hayden and Young charged the finish side-by-side, Young suddenly diving a wheel forward to claim third by .045. "Roger rode a very good race," said Young; "he definitely didn't give it to me at all. On the last lap I thought he might be a little defensive and ride the inside line of the last turn, like is pretty typical here, and that's what he did. So I just really buried it into the turn pretty deep, got it squared up, and I think he got a little bit of a wheelie that slowed his drive. And with that, I ended up bringing home the third."

Behind Roger Hayden, Bostrom, Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing), Steve Rapp (San Diego BMW), Cardenas, Clark, and May rounded out the top ten.

Today's race results have narrowed the points margin between championship leader Young and runner-up Hayes to five, 311 to 306. Tommy Hayden's win boosts his points tally to 263. Hayden's expressed determination to keep collecting wins promoted a smiling Young to quip, "I'm glad I have a teammate and [Hayes] doesn't."

The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship next travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Red Bull Indy GP August 27-28, where the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 class will represent the series. For AMA Pro's remaining classes, the season will culminate at New Jersey Motorsports Park September 2-4, where the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, Daytona SportBike, and SuperSport East Coast Division Championships will be decided.

For Red Bull Indy GP tickets and information, visit or call (800) 822-INDY. For New Jersey Motorsports Park tickets and information, visit or call (856) 327-8000. To be a part of the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship, visit and join us on and

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,

Victory for Eslick, Heartbreak for Herrin in Daytona SportBike Red Bull USGP Contest

MONTEREY, CA (July 24, 2011) - When the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike light went green at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Team Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo seemed on a mission to obliterate all memory of recent lackluster results. But while the Ducati rider held the front-runner position through the majority of the Sunday race, it was GEICO Powersports RMR Suzuki's Danny Eslick who blazed through a red-flag-strewn event to take ultimate victory.

"I got off to a little bit of a rough start," said Eslick. "For some reason it took me a few laps to get in a good rhythm and start hitting my marks. But being basically a fifteen-lap sprint race [after the restart], we didn't have much time to mess around -- I had to get up there and get up to speed. Race wins definitely help the championship ... and this place has a special spot in the motorcycle world, so it's pretty neat."

Eslick's fortunes proved vastly different from Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot Josh Herrin's, who was running a very aggressive chase from second before being forced to retire mid-race with a smoking bike. The resulting loss of points will be enough to crush the Yamaha rider's championship hopes, as there remains but one double-header round at which to strike back.

DiSalvo, having earned the pole position in Saturday qualifying, sliced past Herrin off the line for the first start to claim the lead heading into Turn 1. With a red flag throw moments later, as Jake Holden (JHR/ and Paul Allison (Triple Crown Industries) went down in Turn 2, the twenty-rider field again prepared to launch from the three-rider-wide, MotoGP-style grid. Dominating the restart, DiSalvo headed the field for the majority of the race, with Herrin, Eslick, and an increasingly aggressive Cameron Beaubier (JHR/ giving chase from behind, until Herrin's mechanical misfortune signaled a shake-up in running order.

Cameron Beaubier, Danny Eslick and Jason DiSalvo celebrate on the podium after the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Series race at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on July 24, 2011.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

With clear track ahead, Beaubier suddenly dove into the lead, leaving DiSalvo and Eslick to wage side-by-side pursuit just behind. Eslick wasn't content to let the 18-year-old hold the prestigious spot for long, though, and took over the front position with just a handful of laps remaining. While Herrin was consoled by Yamaha team members on the sidelines, Eslick rode the wheels off his Suzuki to stay out of the grasp of Beaubier, while DiSalvo lost several bike-lengths to the front-runners.

Suddenly, a second red flag emerged, as Raul Alzate (LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha) crashed out at the top of the Corkscrew, his bike sliding down the steep feature and coming to rest in the impact zone of a lower turn. With only five laps remaining, the red flag deemed the race complete and the checkers were taken up by Eslick, who rode his victory lap primarily on one wheel and was careful to give props to young Beaubier following the race. "Hopefully he moves on pretty quick," said Eslick, laughing, "so I don't have to keep racing him too long,"

"At the beginning of the season, I didn't know what I was doing with myself because the level was so much higher," said Beaubier, who stepped up to Daytona SportBike from the SuperSport class for 2011. "But I kept progressing through the season, learning a little more each race from the top guys, and now I'm running with them, so it's a really good feeling. It was a really good race -- Danny made some awesome passes on me and Jason, and I made some passes earlier in the race that felt pretty good. It was great, and I'd just like to thank my whole team."

Danny Eslick #69 on his Richie Morris Racing Suzuki leads Cameron Beaubier on the #116 Jake Holden Racing Yamaha and Jason DiSalvo on the #40 Latus Motors Ducati during AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Series action at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca on July 24, 2011.  AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.

"It's been a while since we were on the box," said DiSalvo, who added that had the race gone the distance, he felt he would have been able to reconcile himself with some of the places in which he struggled. "We had a rough run in the middle of the season, but we're finally starting to come back, and I feel like I'm getting full-strength again. I'm excited about going to the next round; I want to give the guys on the Latus crew another victory to pay them back for all the hard work they've given me."

Beaubier and DiSalvo, who finished second and third, respectively, were followed across the line by Tommy Aquino (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha), Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki), Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki), Kev Coghland (ADR Team 2), Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki), Fernando Amantini (Team Amantini), and Tyler Odom (Don Odom Racing). Celtic Racing's PJ Jacobsen crashed out mid-race, but rose as high as fifth before doing so.

With Eslick's victory and Herrin's DNF, the former has extended his championship lead to 244 over 199. DiSalvo sits third with 196. 

The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship next travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Red Bull Indy GP August 27-28, where the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 class will represent the series. For AMA Pro's remaining classes, the season will culminate at New Jersey Motorsports Park September 2-4, where the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, Daytona SportBike, and SuperSport East Coast Division Championships will be decided.

For Red Bull Indy GP tickets and information, visit or call (800) 822-INDY. For New Jersey Motorsports Park tickets and information, visit or call (856) 327-8000. To be a part of the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship, visit and join us on and

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,

You can find the complete event results from the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix round of the AMA Pro Road Racing Championship Series here, thanks to AMA Pro Road Racing (PDF versions):

Sunday, July 24, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Mees Masters Field at Lake Odessa Half-Mile for Win #3 in 2011

Riders get ready to roll out for the first practice session of the day at round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series at the I-96 Speedway in Lake Odessa, MI., yesterday afternoon.  The fifth Twins Series event of the season was full of great racing that at the end of the evening left an even tighter overall points championship in what was the first event of the second half of the season.

Jared Mees #9 on his Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D/Lucas Oil/Saddlemen-sponsored XR-750 showed up ready for bear to Lake O's half-mile track, and he went after it all evening.  Qualifying 3rd overall, Mees finished second to Jake Johnson #1 in both their heat race and the Dash.  But come main event time, it was pretty much all Mees, as he took over the lead after five laps of the 25-lap National, and cruised home by 1.661 over runner-up Bryan Smith, who battled with Johnson throughout the night.  Mr. Consistency is making his charge for the 2011 AMA Grand National Championship, and it's time for everyone else to step up, as Mees and the Rogers Lake team have their game plan in place, and it sure looks solid!

Brad Baker (over Mees' shoulder) #12 on the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ Insurance/ENI USA-backed Ducati came out of the box with a bang yesterday after his and his team's dissapointing mechanical at Hagerstown two weeks ago.  Team owner Dave Lloyd confirmed it was a throttle position sensor failure that caused Brad to miss the main out east, and that he or the team had never come acrossed that problem with this machine before.  Before the heat races the team was busy huddled in their pit area checking out all of the data on their laptop to make sure everything was good.

After qualifying fastest of the 51 riders that timed in yesterday (by .042 seconds over second fast man Smith), The Bullet took the big Italian v-twin to his heat race win over current point leader Sammy Halbert on the #7 Kings Kustoms/White's H-D/LZ Racing/KK Supply-sponsored XR in one of best races on the evening.  Come main time, he wasn't able to hold off the advances of the XR-packed house, and after taking the lead early slipped to 9th overall on the night.  All in all, Brad and the Duc had a good, solid night and with the Sacramento Mile coming up next weekend, look for him to improve on his 5th place finish at the Springfield Mile. 

Chris Carr on the #4 American Motorcyclist Assoc/Classic H-D/DFW Honda/Phoenix Racing-sponsored XR qualified 9th on the day, came home 3rd in his heat behind Johnson and Mees, and rode a very strong race in the National to finish 5th.  The Prince of Peoria was awarded a 'retirement special' wooden rocking chair from the folks at I-96 in opening ceremonies as part of his 2011 Farewell to Flat Track Tour.  He may be hanging up his steel shoe after this year, but he can still show the young guns the fast way around a race track, something that over 26 years of Expert Class riding and seven Grand National Championships will help to trump the young 'uns in terms of competitive experience.

Previous event winner Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. on the #2 Harley-Davidson Motor Co/Screamin Eagle/Spectro Oils/Fox-backed XR-750 finished 4th in his heat behind Baker, Sammy and returning to action Henry Wiles.  After qualifying 13th on the day, he came home in the 8th spot in the National to keep him a solid 4th in the overall standings with 176 points, behind Halbert (206), Mees (203), and Johnson (197.)  The King of Cool again was one of two bikes (the other being Johnson, again) who ran the main event with brake discs glowing bright enough you probably could have fried bacon on them.  That didn't seem to effect either machine in terms of performance, and was a mere prelude to the fireworks that the track put on after the main event was over.

After qualifying 7th, Slammin' Sammy Halbert fought tooth-and-nail on his #7 machine with heat-winner Baker, but when the main event rolled off the XR-mounted overall points leader all season brought it home in a strong 4th place finish.  That was enough to hang onto the lead in the championship hunt, by three points over Mees and another six points over Johnson. 

Barry Smith (Bryan's Dad) rolls the #42 Moroney's H-D/ Racing-sponsored XR-750 into place in the line-up box.  Flyin Bryan put in another stellar performance all evening, but even more impressive then his 2nd place finish in the main was his run from the back in his heat race to take the win.  Smith picked off at least 10 or 11 riders using the outside line to take the fastest heat race win of the night.  After qualifying 2nd fastest, Smith came out of the event with another great run in what has been a highlight film of great finishes.  It's just a matter of time before this man is back on top of the box, and he moved up to 9th in the overall point standings (95 points) as a result of his charging rides last night.

Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D/Boughner Racing/MotionPro-backed XR had another champion-type night at I-96.  Qualifying 4th overall, Jake started the evening winning his heat-twice.  Leading at the half-way point over Mees, the 8-lap race was red-flagged for two riders that went down in between turns 3-4.  No one was hurt, and the race was re-started quickly, with Mees getting the jump on the field.  Jersey Jake didn't take long to get around and say 'see ya' to Mees, Carr and Matt Weidman to take the win, and also cement his spot in the Dash event.  Come main time, the defending 2010 AMA Grand National Champion rode like a Champ, getting to within striking distance of runner-up Smith with just a handful of laps to go.  Johnson then hit a spot in the track that bucked him out of the seat like a bronco rider, and from there he stayed firm to come home in a solid 3rd place finish, 1.826 seconds back of winner Mees, and almost 2.6 seconds ahead of 4th place finisher Halbert.  It was great to see The Champ back on the box after his run of off-finishes for this popular rider.  He was smiling big again on the podium, and it was good to see!

Johnny Lewis on the #10 Scott Powersports/Dubach Racing Developments/Saddlemen/Triple J Racing-sponsored Kawasaki 650R-based twin had a rough night as well, but made the best of the worst of situations at the Lake Odessa round.  Qualifying 32nd, Johnny started his heat in the back and was working his way to the front, when he pulled off with an expected mechanical.  In his semi, starting at the back, again, he had worked his way up to one spot out of a qualifying position, only to see another red flag.  Johnny was able to capitalize on the re-start, though, and went on to win his semi #2.  In the main, he fought with a group of riders that included Jimmy Wood #37 (on the only other Kawasaki in the field),  returning Henry Wiles on the #17 Greg Crow Racing XR, and Doug Lawrence on the #73 R&J Racing XR.  Lewis finished the night in 13th, to keep his 6th spot in the overall point standings (122 points) by 5 points over 7th place in the points, Chris Carr.

Matt Weidman on his family run and tuned #20 White's H-D/SNIP/Shoei/Silkolene-sponsored XR-750 had another good night at I-96, although the '08 Rookie of the Year may not agree on that fact.  After qualifying 10th, he nearly came home 3rd in his heat behind Johnson and Mees, but due to the red flag re-start, Chris Carr got the jump on him and the New York State resident had to settle for fourth.  A little frustrated after what was a good performance in that heat, Matt went out in the National and came home 6th on the evening, 5.1 seconds behind winner Mees, in what was in my eyes another solid run on the year.  Talking with Matt, he mentioned he will be riding one of Carl Patrick's H-D XR-750s next weekend in Sacramento, and was looking forward to riding one of the tuning legend's machines again.  After a rough 2010 season that seemed to decimate the Weidman team with mechanical failures, this year has been good in terms of no major equipment failures/breakages.  Here's hoping Stu's Shots doesn't jinx that for him as he still holds onto the 8th spot in the overall point standings with 104 points heading to round 12 at the Cal-Expo event on Saturday, June 30.

Hat's off to the AMA Pro Flat Track team for working diligently with the track prep crew at I-96 yesterday.  Working with cones to help move the line further out from the bottom, Steve Morehead and company made it work and it helped make for multi-line racing all evening.  The good crowd on-hand witnessed some great racing all night that showcased The Rolling Thunder Show, and if anyone left not thinking so, they couldn't have had a pulse when they came in the gates yesterday to begin with.  Another great event in the greatest show on wheels in the world!

Stay tuned this week for a pictorial rundown on more happenings at the Lake Odessa event, as we gear up for the return of the Sacramento Mile next weekend in California.  Thanks for coming by!

Mees Takes Victory at I-96, Championship Battle
Narrows to Three Points

LAKE ODESSA, MI (July 24, 2011) - Despite fierce competition at Michigan's I-96 Speedway, the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track field could not stop an assault by Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson's Jared Mees. Though Mees' race start left something to be desired, the home-state hero almost immediately began picking off riders, working his way up from fifth to take a big win in Lake Odessa that narrowed championship-leader Sammy Halbert's lead to a fragile three points.

Round 11 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship rolled out under cloudy, overcast conditions, but by race time the skies had cleared and temperatures soared at the half-mile venue. Rookie sensation Brad Baker (Lloyd Brothers Motorsports/ -- who'd earned fast qualifier honors and won the first heat -- nailed the start of the main, only to see Bryan Smith ( Harley-Davidson) muscle his way into the lead.

Mees, meanwhile, had suffered a poor start that relegated him to fifth at the end of the first lap, but he soon began methodically working his way to the front and was challenging Smith by lap three. "Bryan slipped a little high," said Mees after podium ceremonies, "and I was able to get inside. As soon as I got to the front, I knew I could win this."

Jared Mees' #9 Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D sits in the cradle in front of the Lake Odessa round winner after The Jammer took his 3rd win of the season at the I-96 Speedway.  Mees celebrates while AMA Pro Flat Track announcer Barry Boone waits to get his reaction during the podium celebrations.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

As Mees proceeded to dominate the rest of the race, opening his lead to more than a second and a half over Smith, defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing) worked to keep his Harley right on Smith's rear tire. Johnson was unable to make any inroads on Smith's second position, however, while Halbert (King's Kustoms/White's Harley-Davidson) was stymied even farther back, forced to be satisfied with the fourth-place spot he took over on lap six.

Chris Carr (American Motorcyclist Association/Classic Harley-Davidson), Matt Weidman (White's Harley-Davidson/Snip), and Jeff Carver (Eddie Adkins Racing) did everything they could to make life difficult for Halbert, while three-time Lake Odessa winner Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson Motor Company) finished a lonely eighth. Baker and Action Motorsports' Brandon Robinson filled out the top ten.

Mees' significant victory has jumbled and tightened the points race. Halbert's fourth-place finish gives him only three points'-worth of breathing room over Mees, who's leapfrogged over Johnson into second. Johnson, however, lurks a mere six points behind.

Mikey Martin on the #91Y Weirbach Racing Honda CRF450R took a runaway win in the AMA Pro Singles main event at the Lake Odessa Half-Mile, and now has a ten-point lead over Gerit Callies (184-174) in the battle for the 2011 Pro Singles Championship.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

It was another no-holds-barred performance by the Pro Singles field in the class' main event, for which Michigan's Stephen Vanderkuur (Mack Daddy Racing Honda) took the early lead. He almost immediately ran into trouble, however, and was forced to pull out after only four laps - an occurrence Weirbach Racing's Mikey Martin took full advantage of.

Another Michigan native, Chaz Springsteen, was soon in hot pursuit, but like Vanderkuur, Springsteen's night was over all too soon, as his Arai Helmets/K&K Supply/Jay Springsteen-backed Honda coasted to a stop after ten laps. Martin stretched his lead to more than four seconds over Diesel Minnesota's Conner Anderson and Scott Powersports' Jake Shoemaker, while Mike LaBelle (LaBelle Racing/Heads Up Racing) held off John Long (Powered by Clark/SICKBOY Racing) and Jason Isennock (Foard Racing) for fourth.

Martin's back-to-back wins have earned the young Californian to a ten-point lead in the Pro Singles point standings. In the first part of the season, it appeared the title would be decided between Mikey Avila and Gerit Callies, but Martin's strong showings in the last handful of races have significantly changed the championship picture as the series moves into its second half.

The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship will next be in action at Sacramento, California's legendary Sacramento Mile, July 30 at the Cal Expo Fair. For tickets and information, visit or call 916-263-3049. To be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit and join us on and

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,

Race Stories, results and photos from round 11 at the Lake Odessa Half-Mile

Larry Lawrence (my worthy traveling companion for the trip to Lake Odessa yesterday) has a great starting shot from the Lake Odessa Half-Mile over at his The Rider, which in turn has the link to his coverage of round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series season at the I-96 Speedway, over at Cycle  You can read see and read that here:

Here is the link to LL's qualifying coverage from the Lake Odessa event, also over at Cycle

Thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track for the results from Lake Odessa (standard version):

.....and for the complete event results/info from Lake O's I-96 Speedway (PDF version):

Also, a big thanks to Dave Hoenig, the official AMA Pro Flat Track photographer, for his pics from yesterday's event at Lake Odessa:

Dave's pics from his super, Flat Trak, will be found here (usually posted within a few days of each event) as well as his version of the event results from round 11:

And a big thanks to Kevin 'Chew' Larcom and Mia Moore from for this round of great shots at Lake Odessa.  I had a blast hanging with these great folks yesterday, and we were able to meet and greet some new friends on the day, including member, Dave Leonard and his better half, Kathy.  It was a great time had by all!

The Dash for Cash event at the Lake Odessa Half-Mile shows Jared Mees #9 on his Rogers Lake Racing mount holding his own against eventual Dash winner Jake Johnson on his #1 Zanotti Racing XR.  Johnson took control in the money and extra points Dash race to edge out runner-up Mees after four fast and furious laps of great racing.  Brad Baker on the #12 Lloyd Brothers Ducati follows Jake on the high line, and went on to finish 4th, and show that the Ducati is working pretty well on the half-mile tracks, in his quest to win the Rookie of the Year Award for the 2011 season.

Sammy Halbert #7 finished in the 6th and final spot in the Dash, never seeming to come together with what he needed in the short, four lap event, but by the time the main had rolled around, Sammy had it together to finish in 4th for another great top-5 run.  Bryan Smith #42 continued his great series of runs to bring it home 5th in the Dash and grabbed himself another point to move into the 9th overall spot in the championship hunt.  Stu's Shots' 'pick' to win the event overall, came up one spot short, but all the more showcases the very strong runs that Flyin' Bryan has been putting in this season in the Twins Series. 

Jeffrey Carver, Jr. on the #23 Eddie Adkins XR (that Henry Wiles won Lima with in 2010) continues his solid runs of late and starting to come together with the big Twins Series machines.  The 2010 AMA Pro Singles Champion finished 3rd in the Dash, after taking 2nd place in his heat race to Smith, to earn his ticket to the Dash event.  Carver also qualified 5th on the evening out of 51 riders that timed in for the event in a program that saw the top 28 qualify within exactly .5 seconds of one another.