BRAINERD, MN (September 26, 2011) -
Harley-Davidson® Screamin' Eagle® Factory rider Kenny Coolbeth finished second in the Grand National Twins main of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship event at North Central Speedway. Rogers Lake/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees won the race, and Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson rider Jake Johnson was third, as Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle riders filled the podium.
Coolbeth qualified for the main with a second-place finish in the first heat race, and then won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus sprint for top qualifiers.
“This was the first time any of us had raced at Brainerd,” said Coolbeth. “It was slick during qualifying, but in the evening more moisture came up through the track surface and during the race there were several good lines to use. The track is small but it was good racing.”
Mees took the lead at the start of the 25-lap main on the Brainerd half-mile, with Johnson, White’s Harley-Davidson rider Matt Weidman, Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith and Coolbeth taking chase. Mees and Johnson opened a half-second gap on the pack by lap five, and Coolbeth recovered from seventh place and was working to find a way past Weidman to catch the leaders. Coolbeth moved up to third on lap seven, and then got past Johnson and into second place on lap 14. Coolbeth stayed within a half-second of Mees for the rest of the race, but was not able to make a pass for the lead. Mees won for the fifth time this season. Johnson finished 1.289 seconds behind Mees. American Motorcyclist Association/Classic Harley-Davidson rider Chris Carr was fourth, followed by Smith.
“I did not get a good start, and then just had to pick riders off and work my up through the field,” said Coolbeth. “We had a good set-up on the factory Harley tonight, and I got by everyone until I had to pass Johnson, and that was harder. Towards the end I changed my line to try and get past Mees, and would gain on him in the corner but he had better drive out of the turn and I could not quite match his momentum.”
With the win in Brainerd, Mees extended his lead in AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship series points to 18 with two races left on the schedule. After 18 of 20 rounds, Mees has 348 points. Johnson moves from third to second place with 330 points. Kings Kustom/White’s Harley-Davidson Sammy Halbert drops to third place with 328 points. Coolbeth is fourth with 280 points.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins schedule is October 1 at the Calistoga Speedway Half-Mile, in Calistoga, CA.
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces heavyweight custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit harley-davidson.com.
The Screamin' Eagle Flat Track team is sponsored by Matco Tools.