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Coolbeth to Third on Factory Harley at I-96

Flat Track Racing News

Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle factory rider Kenny Coolbeth paced qualifying at I-96 Speedway, won the Dash for Cash bonus race and finished third in the main event at the eighth round of the AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com. The race was won by Latus Harley-Davidson rider Joe Kopp on a Harley-Davidson XR-750.

Zanotti Racing rider Jake Johnson led the field on his Harley-Davidson at the start of the 25-lap main on the I-96 Speedway half-mile, but the race was halted after two laps for oil on the track. Kopp grabbed the lead on the re-start and was on the point until the race was stopped again on lap 11 when Kawasaki Monster Energy Drink rider Bryan Smith crashed. With the track worn to a single fast racing groove, Kopp had the advantage when he grabbed the lead on the final re-start.

Johnson and Coolbeth ran second and third just behind Kopp, left waiting for the leader to make a mistake. That didn’t happen, and Kopp took the win by just 0.215 seconds over Johnson and 0.281 seconds over Coolbeth. King Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply rider Sammy Halbert was fourth, followed by Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees in fifth. Each of the top-five riders rode a Harley-Davidson and finished less than a second behind Kopp.

Craig Lager (crew chief for the Harley-Davidson factory team) says: “The track was good for us and the factory Harley-Davidson was fast right off the truck tonight.”

Kenny Coolbeth says: “There was just one fast racing groove, so it was all about the start,” said Coolbeth. “I made a mistake in choosing to start from the inside for the main. They had watered the track for all of my heats and it was nice and sticky, but they didn’t water for the main and the track got dry and slick.”

“Kopp and Johnson started up the track and had better traction. Jake and I were faster than Kopp all night, but he got the good start and stayed in defensive mode, which is what he had to do. We are down in points but I’m not giving up. This was a good night for the Harley-Davidson team, and gives us some fresh momentum.”

With the win, Kopp moved into first place in the combined AMA Grand National season standings. Kopp now has 154 points. Johnson moves into second place with 141 points. KK Motorcycle Supply/Mike & Eddie Adkins rider Henry Wiles, who finished ninth at I-96 Speedway, falls from first to third place with 139 points. Halbert is fourth with 135 points, followed by Mees with 129 and Coolbeth in sixth with 119.

The AMA Grand National Twins will next race July 31 on the Calistoga County Fairgrounds half-mile in Calistoga, Calif.

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