Coolbeth Fourth in Close Race on the Springfield MileSPRINGFIELD, IL (September 5, 2011) - Harley-Davidson® Screamin' Eagle® Factory rider Kenny Coolbeth placed fourth as the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship Grand National Twins race on the Springfield Mile came to a dramatic finish. After a re-start for a red flag, the race came down to a five-lap sprint to the checkered flag with six riders racing elbow-to-elbow in the lead pack. Coolbeth ran as high as second place, but Harley-Davidson of Wausau rider Willie McCoy would win the race, scoring his first AMA Grand National victory in 23 years of racing as a pro. McCoy crossed the finish line just 0.011 seconds ahead of American Motorcyclist Association/Classic Harley-Davidson rider Chris Carr. Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer's Harley-Davidson rider Jake Johnson was third, 0.064 seconds behind McCoy, with Coolbeth just 0.111 seconds back.
Coolbeth was fast all night on his Factory Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle, winning his heat race and claiming the pole with fast lap in the heats. At the start of the 25-lap main, a pack of six to seven riders took the point, including Coolbeth, Johnson, Carr, Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson rider Bryan Smith, Rogers Lake/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, Kings Kustom/White’s Harley-Davidson Sammy Halbert and Johnny Lewis on the Scott Powersports Kawasaki. Lewis, Coolbeth, and Smith each led at least one lap, while Carr led a total of 13 laps as non-stop passing and drafting action was taking place behind the leader. The race came to a stop when Smith and Rob Pearson crashed in separate incidents on lap 21. Smith was not able to continue.
McCoy, who was not among the early race leaders, had worked through the pack and just taken the lead before the crash on lap 21. McCoy got off first on the re-start, and the 41-year-old veteran held off Coolbeth, Mees and Carr in the closing laps. Carr pulled out to attempt a drafting pass on the front straight but could not get past McCoy before the finish line. The top-ten riders in the race finished within one second of the winner.
"The Factory Harley crew gave me a great bike today and we were able to run up front, and it was typical Springfield with lots of drafting and back and forth," said Coolbeth, who never ran lower than sixth place. "The restart kind of messed us up, because by then I had visualized the closing laps and how I wanted to get in position to win. That all went out the window. McCoy showed up late in the race and we all had a shot at him, so give him credit. It was a great race."
Mees won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus sprint.
Halbert finished seventh at Springfield and now leads the series by just five points. After 16 of 20 rounds in the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, Halbert has 298 points. Mees is second with 293 points, followed by Johnson with 288 and Coolbeth with 244 points.
The next race on the AMA Grand National Twins schedule is September 10 on the Knoxville Raceway half-mile in Knoxville, Iowa.
The Screamin' Eagle Flat Track team is sponsored by Matco Tools.
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