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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 20, 2012) - Still smarting from a pair of successive last-lap defeats at the hands of rival Kyle Wyman (KLR Group/Vesrah Racing), Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara got his revenge on Sunday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course by claiming his third AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series victory of the season in similarly clutch fashion.
Prior to the race, however, neither O'Hara nor Wyman appeared to be the man to beat. Rather it was veteran roadracer Michael Barnes on the MOB Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200. After struggling to find the lead pace in his first outing with his new team at Barber Motorsports Park, Barnes came out swinging at Mid-Ohio.
The field gets the green flag for round 7 of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series at Mid-Ohio on Sunday July 15. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
His suspension woes sorted, Barnes topped the opening free practice and stormed to pole. However, as typically happens in Vance & Hines XR1200 Series racing, qualifying goes out the window at the green light and Barnes found himself caught up in the mix with O'Hara and Wyman as they've done so many times already this season.
Barnes sat behind O'Hara for the majority of the contest and appeared to be biding his time, but his plans were upset when Wyman came by on the final lap. The youngster then set out after O'Hara but the Californian once again proved too strong on the brakes and eventually nipped him at the flag by a narrow 0.135 second margin, with Barnes just 0.352 seconds off the victory in third.
"These last couple weekends, I've kind of had to play it perfect but I haven't got the result," O'Hara said. "This weekend we came out and we were a little off at the beginning but made a huge turnaround with the bike set-up and made a bunch of changes. We just made it to where I could feel comfortable and run with these boys. They had a blistering pace yesterday and the main goal was to get a front row start and be there at the end of the race.
"Kyle was out front and got a great start and I kind of reeled him in and got by him. Barney was all over me the whole race. Both of these guys were riding awesome. Hats off to them. I definitely had to earn it today." Wyman explained, "I was having some problems in some parts of the track and had to spend a lot of time catching up in other sections and that took a lot of brain-space away from me, preventing me from planning my moves and planning my attack toward the end. I had a cool-down lap of regrets, I can say that. I wish I had made some moves a bit earlier. I feel like I had a bike that could win today. I'm just disappointed because after being quickest in the first practice and qualifying and getting pole, I felt like I was on a roll," third-place finisher Barnes said. "But Tyler really did his homework overnight and got his bike working and got up to speed. I never doubted it and I knew he was going to be real tough in the race. Hats off to him. And Kyle just had a terrifically timed pass on me at the end and I couldn't make a break back on him. We're just going to have to work hard and get ready for Indy."
Travis Wyman, Kyle's brother, took the Harv's Harley-Davidson to fourth while XP Motorsports' Michael Corbino completed the top five.
The top ten in the points race will now essentially start over as they all reset to 1000 points to kick off the XR Showdown starting at their next race, which will take place at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on August 19th.
The winner of the XR Showdown will collect $25,000 of the $60,000 year-end points fund.
Year-end Award Update:
David Estok leads the Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award chase, having completing 312 laps and logged 864.99 miles over second place Nicolas Hanset with 295 laps and 821.27 miles.
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