SPRINGFIELD (September 1, 2013) -
Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Kenny Coolbeth finished fourth in the second race of the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles Grand National Twins double-header at the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds over Labor Day weekend. Coolbeth was part of a six-rider pack that engaged in a furious 25-lap battle for the lead and finished within less than a half-second margin. The race was won by TJ Burnett Farms/Kawasaki rider Brandon Robinson.
Coolbeth rode a Harley-Davidson® XR750 motorcycle to win his heat race, and finished second in the Dash for Cash bonus sprint race, which was also won by Robinson.
At the start of the 25-lap main, a five-rider pack that included Rodgers Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, Brad Baker on the Dodge Brothers Racing Harley-Davidson, Crosley Radio Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith, Coolbeth and Robinson pulled away from the field with Smith at the point. The running order within the group changed with each lap, with Coolbeth leading the field on lap 10 and Smith or Robinson leading every other lap but unable to pull away, as a gap of as little as 0.280 seconds covered the lead group. Burnett Farms Kawasaki rider JD Beach joined the lead group on lap 17. On the last lap Coolbeth used a diving move in turn two to move up to second place but was shuffled back on the run to the finish line. Robinson finished 0.202 second ahead of Smith, with Beach 0.272 second back and Coolbeth just 0.096 second behind Beach. Baker was fifth and Mees sixth, 0.419 second behind the leader.
“Pack racing on a mile can really be a chess match,” said Coolbeth. “On the last lap I came out of turn two right behind Robinson, but he got just a little better drive and I slightly lost his draft, and then everyone behind used my draft to get past me. It was great racing with all the leaders working together today to keep Robinson from getting away, but at the end sometimes a little luck helps, too.”
On Saturday, Coolbeth finished sixth in the Grand National Twins main race that was won by Robinson by 5.299 seconds over Smith, who led a pack that included Beach in third place, followed by Harley-Davidson of Wausau rider Willie McCoy, Baker, Coolbeth and Mees.
“I think the track worked a little better for us Sunday,” said Coolbeth, “and unlike Saturday, when we were all racing for second, holding each other up and letting Robinson get away, we worked together and stayed in line so we all had a chance to race for the win at the end.”
After 11 of 13 races on the AMA Grand National Championship schedule, Baker has 184 points and a 10-point lead over Smith with 174 points. With his Springfield results, Robinson jumps from fifth to third place in the standings with 171 points. Lloyd Brothers Motorsports rider Henry Wiles is fourth with 159 points, followed by Mees with 158 points and Coolbeth in sixth place with 131 points.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins series is September 29 on the Santa Rosa Mile at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California.
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 Factory Flat Track team is sponsored by Dunlop and Traxxas.