AMA Pro Flat Track
An estimated 9,000 people cheered on a star-studded AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track field when the championship returned to the Cal-Expo Fairground’s Sacramento Mile, and the sold-out, standing-room-only crowd was treated to one of the most dramatic wins in recent history.
After 25 furious laps, Fasthog.com/American Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Smith claimed victory over local hero Chris Carr (American Motorcyclist Association/Classic Harley-Davidson) by a margin of just .042 seconds.
“Nobody is more surprised than me,” said a joyful Smith after running down early leaders Carr and Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing). “I thought Chris was just playing with me – it seemed like he could pass me any time he wanted to. He has that ‘Tolbert Horsepower,’ you know.”
Carr led the 18-rider field into Turn 1, but had fallen back to third by the end of the lap, trailing defending Grand National Champion Johnson and reigning points leader Sammy Halbert (Kings Kustoms/Larry Zumbrun Racing).
By Lap 2, Carr was back at the front – looking to repeat the ’99 Sacramento victory he’d earned when the series last visited the venue — and had Johnson in his hip pocket. Harley-Davidson Motor Company’s Kenny Coolbeth slipped into a short-lived third place, but with the two leaders pulling away, Smith took over third and set out after them.
Carr and Johnson continued to swap the lead all around the track, but by Lap 16, Smith had caught the leaders and split them. From there it was a battle to the finish, all while Carr craftily managed to rack up laps-led honors by frequently leading the trio across the line. It didn’t look like Carr would be satisfied with the point for most laps led, however — it looked like he had a plan.
Chris Carr (AMA Classic Harley-Davidson) says: “I thought I could draft him at the line, but I spun up off [Turn] 4 and that was the end. Throughout my career. I’ve said second sucks – and I haven’t changed my mind.”
Johnson filled out the podium, just .139 of a second behind runner-up Carr, while last round’s winner, Roger Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees, recovered from a second-row start to finish fourth over Halbert.
Lloyd Brothers Motorsports’ Brad Baker came out on top of a very tight race for sixth, bringing his Ducati in ahead of Coolbeth and Jeff Carver (Eddie Adkins Racing/Van’s Yamaha), while Luke Gough (Digger 57/Dick Ford) and Willie McCoy (Harley-Davidson of Wausau) rounded out the top ten.
The results added a single point to Halbert’s overall lead, but both Mees and Johnson now trail by only four points as the series looks toward Halbert’s “hometown” track in Castle Rock, Washington.
In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles contest that preceded the Expert main, California’s Mikey Avila (SDI Insulation/M.E.H. Corp) and Mike Martin (Weirbach Racing/General Engineering) waged war over the Pro Singles spoils, taking turns at the front. While the two leaders were fighting it out, RLT Racing/Lancaster Harley-Davidson’s Shayna Texter stalked them from third.
By the halfway point, Briar Bauman (Rod Lake Racing/Brown’s Cycle) had put himself in the middle of the action, the former AMA Horizon Award winner making the most of his first Pro race-start to rise as high as second on the white-flag lap, but was shuffled back by Texter and Martin, the latter drafting from fourth to first on the last lap to secure his third consecutive Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles main even win.
For Texter, who routinely got huge cheers from the crowd, it marked her first podium finish of 2011. Martin’s win boosted his points lead over Avila to 16 with Weirbach Racing’s Gerit Callies just another four back.
The series next heads to Washington’s Castle Rock Race Park August 6 for the Castle Rock TT. For tickets and information, visit mshmc.org or call 1-888-71-TICKETS.
To learn more and be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit amaproracing.com and join us on facebook.com/AMAProFlatTrackSeries and twitter.com/AMAProFlatTrack.