Flat Track Report
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory rider Kenny Coolbeth finished third after a furious finish at the AMA Pro K&N Grand National Twins series race on the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.
The race was won by Zanotti Racing rider Jake Johnson on a Harley-Davidson XR-750 motorcycle.
Johnson, who was also fastest qualifier for the event and won the five-lap Dash for Cash bonus race, led the 25-lap main from the start. His only challenge came from Monster Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith, who raced with Johnson early but then faded as the dirt-track surface dried.
A pack of riders that included Coolbeth, Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, American Agip/Lloyd Brothers Ducati Joe Kopp, and Moroney’s Harley-Davidson rider Patrick "PJ" Jacobsen, reeled in Smith by the closing laps of the main.
On the final lap, Coolbeth had shuffled back to sixth place as the pack of drafting riders jockeyed for position heading to the finish. Coolbeth used the draft on the back straight to get back to third and was bearing down on Smith but could not make the pass for second place.
Smith finished just 0.052 seconds ahead of Coolbeth, who in turn beat Mees to the line by just 0.009 seconds to claim the final spot on the podium. Kopp was fourth, followed by Jacobson.
Kenny Coolbeth says: "For a long time I was by myself in third place," said Coolbeth. "So I was thinking I’d set Smith up for a pass on the last lap, but then I found myself surrounded when the pack caught me with about five laps to go and I had to change my strategy at the end. I got a great run on the last lap but just didn’t have enough to catch Bryan. It was a good night for the Harley team, and we are good in points. Now we need a win or two to get a little cushion."
With the win, Johnson moves into a tie with Kopp for the season points lead in the 2010 Grand National Championship. Each rider has 98 points. Coolbeth is third with 82 points.
The AMA Grand National Twins will next race on June 26 at the Allen County Fairgrounds half-mile in Lima, Ohio.
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The Screamin’ Eagle Flat Track team is sponsored by Matco Tools.