Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AMA Flat Track: Slammin' Sammy Halbert Talks About His 2011 Grand National Championship Series Season

Sammy Halbert is shown changing into his riding gear just before going out for the final qualifying session during the day's activities at round 6 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series, at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile oval in May.  Sammy took his #7 Kings Kustoms/LZ Racing/KK Supply/Nelson Racing-sponsored XR-750 to the 2nd spot in the main event behind winner Jared Mees on the #9 Rogers Lake Racing XR, and followed it up several minutes later with a win in the Dash for Cash event over Bryan Smith on the #42 Moroney's Fasthog.com XR and Rookie of the Year candidate Brad Baker on his #12 Lloyd Brothers/ENI USA Ducati.  (Note--'09 AMA Grand National Twins Champ Mees can be seen in the background of this shot while his Rogers Lake/Blue Springs H-D crew get the work at hand, handled.)

Halbert, who came out of the opening season rounds at Daytona with a double-slam back in March, winning both main events and both Dash events to come out of Florida with the overall 2011 point standings.  Since then, he has taken good, solid results throughout the season to stay ahead of his main and closest competition, in the form of Mees, defending '10 AMA Grand National Champion Jake Johnson, and 3-Time AMA Grand National Twins Champion, Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.  And he bagged his 3rd win of the year with his first win on the pea gravel/limestone Lima Half-Mile at the end of June to add that extra show of 'I'm here and I'm not going away' to his competition.  Take that!

Through 10 of the season's originally scheduled 22 events (Minnesota has canceled their mile due to the State's shutdown, and Yvapai Downs in Arizona has gone belly-up, financially speaking), Halbert has recorded seven other top 5 finishes on the year to keep himself some cushion with his points lead.  His two non-top 5s included a 6th place at Hartford, and a lowly-by-anyone's standards (let alone Sammy's), 14th place at Hagerstown on July 9.  He still leads current runner-up Johnson by 15 points, 191-176, Mees sits another point back with 175 markers in 3rd, and Coolbeth is working his way to the front sitting in the 4th spot with 165 points.

Sammy and the rest of the stars of The Rolling Thunder Show, the greatest racing series on wheels in the world, heads to the I-96 Speedway, in Lake Odessa, MI. for this weekend's round 11 of the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series. 

During the off-week in between Hagerstown and this weekend's Lake Odessa event, Sammy sat down with pen in hand (okay, he banged it out on his laptop--so sue me!) to get us caught up on his season and his outlook for the rest of the 2011 schedule. 

Check it out below, and good luck to Sammy for the rest of the year, it's going to be another great one!

Sammy Halbert's column in the new Cycle News Digital edition can be found here, where Slammin' Sammy gets us caught up on his season at the mid-point in the 2011 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship Series:


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