HARTFORD, MI (June 13, 2011) -
Successfully navigating a single-groove race track, Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Factory rider Kenny Coolbeth finished second in the Grand National Twins main on the Hartford Motor Speedway half-mile, an AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship event. Rogers Lake/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees won the race. Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith was third, as Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle riders filled the podium.
This was the first AMA Grand National race to be held at Hartford Motor Speedway. Scott Powersports/Dubach Racing Kawasaki rider Johnny Lewis took the lead at the start of the 25-lap Twins main, with Mees and Coolbeth in close pursuit. American Motorcyclist Association rider Chris Carr and Smith ran fourth and fifth about a second behind the leaders. Mees got past Lewis on lap eight and began pulling away. Coolbeth passed Lewis for second place on lap 11, but by then Mees had opened a 2.2-second gap. Lewis continued to fade, and Smith moved up to third place on lap 12. Coolbeth ran a steady pace, lapping the half-mile track at just over 24 seconds, with a best lap of 24.162 on lap 23, but Mees kept building his lead with laps in the 24.05 range and had a 4.7-second gap on Coolbeth on lap 23. Mees backed off on the last lap and led by 3.046 seconds at the finish. Smith was 4.92 seconds back, and 1.87 seconds behind Coolbeth. Carr was fourth, followed by Lewis.
"This is a great track, but it turned into a single racing groove," said Coolbeth. "There was really just one line, so the only way to pass was to wait for the rider in front of you to make a little mistake. When Mees got by Lewis, I had to wait a few laps to make a pass and by then Jared was gone. We got on the podium and the points will tighten up, so except for missing the Dash it was a good night for the Harley team."
Coolbeth placed third in his heat race and did not qualify for the Dash for Cash bonus sprint, which was won by Mees.
After eight of 22 rounds in the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Kings Kustoms rider Sammy Halbert, who placed sixth at Hartford, leads the series with 158 points, followed by Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's H-D rider Jake Johnson, who was eighth at Hartford, with 149. Mees moves up to third place with 141 points, and Coolbeth is fourth with 123.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins schedule is June 25 on the half-mile at the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio.
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 Harley-Davidson Screamin' Eagle Flat Track team is sponsored by Matco Tools.