KNOXVILLE, IA (September 10, 2011) -
Harley-Davidson® Screamin' Eagle® Factory rider Kenny Coolbeth won the third qualifying heat and raced to a ninth-place finish in AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship Grand National Twins main at the half-mile Knoxville Raceway. The race was won by Rogers Lake/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees in one of the closest photo-finishes in AMA Pro history over Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer`s Harley-Davidson rider Jake Johnson. Mees now leads the series with three races left in the season.
Johnson and Mees led the pack away at the start of the 25-lap main, with Kings Kustom/White's Harley-Davidson Sammy Halbert in third place. Coolbeth dropped to 10th place on the opening lap. For lap after lap, fractions of a second separated Mees and Johnson, with Halbert gradually dropping back to a second behind. Johnson officially led the first four laps, then Mees led until Johnson regained the point on lap 13. The race was stopped on lap 18 after a crash by Jeffery Carver, giving Halbert and the rest of the field a second chance on the restart. Johnson and Mees were back in front when racing resumed, with Halbert close but not able to match the pace of the leaders. Johnson led Mees into the last turn but spun his rear tire slightly on the exit, giving Mees an opportunity to attempt a pass on the outside. The front wheels of their Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycles crossed the finish line almost simultaneously, so close that the electronic scoring system initially declared the finish a dead heat. Further computer analysis revealed that Mees was the winner by 0.0004 second, or about a half-inch. Halbert was third, 1.040 seconds back, followed by Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith. Coolbeth ran as high as sixth place on lap 19.
With the race win and also a win in the Dash for Cash bonus event, Mees took the points lead away from Halbert, who has led the series since the start of the season. Johnson is lurking just nine points back. After 17 of 20 rounds in the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Mees has 321 points, Halbert has 317 points, and Johnson has 312 points. Coolbeth is fourth with 256 points.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins schedule is Sept. 24 on the North Central Speedway half-mile in Brainerd, Minn.
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.