Sunday, August 19, 2012

AMA Flat Track: Sammy Halbert Wins 1st Mile Event at Lucas Oil Indy Mile

Sammy Halbert's #7 South East H-D/The South Ass/Mo Vaughn Transport/LZ Racing-sponsored XR750s get some attention in the pits by his crew before first round practice at round 10 of the 2012 AMA Pro Flat Track Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by season at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile on Saturday, August 18.  Sammy joined an elite group of racers who have contested the AMA Grand National Championship by winning his first-ever mile event at Indy to win the 'grand slam' of flat track.  Halbert has now won in all disciplines of flat track having previously won numerous events in short track, TT and half-mile competition.

Halbert practiced one of the Werner-Springsteen Kawasakis during the first practice session of the day at Indy, but then reverted to his tried and true XR750 to qualify in the 5th-place spot just .418 seconds behind fast qualifier Bryan Smith on the Crosley/Howerton/Eaken Kawasaki.  He then went on to finish second in his heat race behind winner Jake Johnson to gain his ticket to the Dash for Cash (5th-place finish) and the National main.

Hanging in the top-5 throughout the first part of the main, Sammy was able to take advantage of the red-flag delay that involved Johnson when he lost his brakes on lap 11.  Johnson was okay after the slide-out (thanks to the air fence!) but his #1 Zanotti Racing XR suffered some serious damage when it tumbled end over end.  Halbert got a monster restart to run in the top-3 for the 15 remaining laps in the race (positions reverted back one lap after the delay) and fought like the tough racer he is and battled with Werner-Springsteen's Brandon Robinson #44 and Rogers Racing's Jared Mees #9 for the better part of the rest of the event to lead them home to his first mile event win of his career.

Johnson lost a few points due to his crash and dropped to 3rd-place in the standings behind 3rd-place finisher Mees (201 points), 28 points in arrears heading to the Labor Day Weekend running of the Springfield Short Track on September 1 and the Springfield Mile II on September 2.  Sammy now sits in 2nd-place in the overall standings with 180 points after his super night. 

Congrats to Sammy Halbert and his team for his big win last night, and you can check out the full press release below thanks to AMA Pro Flat Track.

We'll have more on the exciting evening of racing in Indy as the week goes on, but after three solid days of racing and late night's we've gotta put it to bed for the week ahead.

Halbert Goes the Distance at Indy

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 18, 2012) - Saturday's AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by and Lucas Oil gave the packed house a sensational race as Sammy Halbert (South East Harley/Harley-Davidson) captured the checkered flag for the third time this year. Though Halbert looked sharp under the lights at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds, it was no easy task as he was forced to fend off fierce competitors in Brandon Robinson (Werner/Kawasaki) and Jared Mees (Rogers Racing/Harley-Davidson) on the last lap for the win.

"I didn't see that one coming, luckily for me, the win fell in to my hands. The whole time I was just trying to figure out how to pass those fast Kawasakis," Halbert said. "In the end I just pulled up behind Brandon (Robinson) trying to get a good draft and when I did I just hammered down and went with it. I was just hoping and praying on that last straight away that I could get through it and I did. It feels amazing; don't count me out, ever."

Sammy Halbert #7 on his South East H-D XR750 won his first-ever mile event at the Lucas Oil Indy Mile last night at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  AMA Pro Flat Track photo by Dave Hoenig.

Bryan Smith (Howerton Motorsports/Kawasaki) looked to be on his way to another dominating victory but a rare wreck by Jake Johnson forced a restart. Though Smith retained the lead shortly after the restart, his bike came up lame on the 12th lap and ended his night.

Smith's mishap was like blood in the water for sharks as it changed the complexity of the race tremendously. Brandon Robinson had the lead going in to the final three laps and looked like he was going to pull it off. Sammy Halbert, however, had other plans, as he stole the lead on lap 23 and fought off Brandon Robinson on the final straight away for the victory.

It became evident right from the get-go that Indianapolis is the racing capital of the world as the crowd's roar was almost as loud as the engines. Sammy Halbert fended off Brandon Robinson by a mere .26 seconds; that's quicker than you can snap your fingers.

AMA Pro Pro Singles

Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda CRF450R) slammed the throttle just a little bit harder than his opponents Saturday night as he came away with his first win of the season. The race was a 12 lap roller coaster as there was an immense number of lead changes that came down to the final stretch. The win bumps Vanderkuur to first in the standings with a slim two point lead over Ryan Wells (5 Star Steel & Fabrication) and looks to be one of the favorites to win the title going in to the final four races of the season.

"It was an awesome race, I knew I had to get a good restart and I did," Vanderkuur said. "I knew there would be a bunch of passing and that I was going to have my work cut out. It was a toss-up and I just went for it. I gave it my all and I'm just so excited."

Dominic Collindres (Weirbach Racing) took an early lead coming off a restart but maintained it only for a lap as no lead was ever safe in the race. Going in to lap 5, Collindres, Vanderkuur, Zakk Palmer (Double Dick Bandits), and Jake Shoemaker (Montgomeryville Cycle Center) were four wide as they flew down the back stretch. Going in to the last lap it was literally neck and neck, with the winner being a presumed toss-up between the four. It wasn't until the last stretch that Vanderkuur crossed the finish line with a photo finish victory.

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,

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