There was little mystery to the 2013 edition of the Indy Mile, round eight of the 13-race AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles series, because it belonged to Bryan Smith from start to finish.
In fact, Harley-Davidson riders were making plans before the race on how to team up in the draft in hopes of keeping Smith and his speedy Crosley Radio/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki EX650 in sight, but they were not successful.
Where the Harley XR750s seem to have a distinct advantage on Half-Miles and Miles that have loose dirt, Smith's Kawasaki worked perfectly on the Indy Mile's almost-pavement-like groove.
Smith took the lead from Henry Wiles down the backstretch on the first lap and simply motored away to a 5.1-second lead at the checkered flag. It was Smith's second Indy Mile victory; he won it for the first time in 2010.
Brandon Robinson made a sneak attack on Jared Mees and Brad Baker on the final lap to take second on his TJ Burnett/USC Kawasaki, making it a Kawasaki one-two finish. Baker upheld Harley-Davidson's honor by nailing down the final podium spot aboard his Dodge Bros. Racing Harley.
For Smith, winning the race was almost a relief.
Bryan Smith says: "It was mine to mess up or give away," Smith said. "I've done that before. It's stressful. Even when you get halfway and you've got a lead, you look back and wonder, 'Can I keep it? Am I on the right line? Should I try something different?' Luckily I checked the gap a few times and I was pulling away, so I just kept doing what I was doing, but it's stressful."
The race was Smith's early. He passed holeshot winner and Harley-Davidson rider Wiles and used the tremendous straightaway speed of his Kawasaki to build a half-second lead by the third lap. From there Smith put it on cruise control to the flag.
Even though Smith took any guesswork out of who would win, the battle for second was intense all race and came down to a big pack that included Robinson, Mees, Baker, and JD Beach.
The victory was good news for Smith's championship hopes because he put himself back into second place; he had lost the position to Wiles last week at the Peoria TT. Smith now stands 33 points behind series leader Baker with five events remaining.
Shayna Texter took a popular win in the J&P Cycles Pro Singles final. She chased down early leader Stephen Vanderkuur to take the victory, making it a perfect night for the Crosley Radio team. Texter made up a pretty big deficit to eventually take the lead with three laps to go.
Stephen Vanderkuur says: "I expected him to keep going. When the two lap flags came up I'm like, 'I'm there, but am I really there?' because he had a strong motorcycle at the end of the straightaways. For sure he could draft right by me. I thought he was going to do a last-lap draft on me across the line, but I guess he spun a little bit and I carried it on to the win."
The victory was the second of the season for Texter, following her win at the Sacramento Mile.
Wyatt Maguire finished 14th but continues to lead the Pro Singles standings by only four points over Ryan Wells.
The J&P Cycles Grand National Championship series moves to the Colonial Downs Mile on Aug. 24 in New Kent, Va. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 12:30 p.m.
To keep up with the latest series news, visit amaproracing.com/ft/. Ticket information for Springfield can be found at illinoismda.com or by calling 217-753-8866.
Indy Mile AMA Grand National Results – Aug. 17, 2013
1. 42 Bryan Smith, Flint, Mich., Kawasaki EX650 25 Laps 37.815
2. 44 Brandon Robinson, Oxford, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +05.120
3. 12 Brad Baker, Eatonville, Wash., Harley-Davidson +05.161
4. 1 Jared Mees, Clio, Mich., Harley-Davidson +05.341
5. 95 JD Beach, Philpot, Ky., Kawasaki EX650 +05.391
6. 2 Kenny Coolbeth Jr., Morris, Conn., Harley-Davidson +06.235
7. 17 Henry Wiles, Winn, Mich., Ducati 749 +10.646
8. 80 Stevie Bonsey, Salina, Calif., Harley-Davidson +16.479
9. 55A Jake Shoemaker, Glenmoore, Pa., Kawasaki EX650 +16.653
10. 27 Robert Pearson, Morton, Ill., Harley-Davidson +16.890
Indy Mile AMA Pro Singles Final – Aug. 17, 2013
1. 25A Shayna Texter, Willow Street, Pa., Honda CRF450R 12 Laps
2. 1 Stephen Vanderkuur, Davison, Mich., Honda CRF450R +00.343
3. 96B Cody Johncox, Attica, N.Y., Yamaha YZ 450F +00.926
4. 66Y Dominic Colindres, Brisbane, Calif., Honda CRF450R +02.901
5. 18M Wyatt Maguire, Mead, Wash., Yamaha YZ 450F +02.915
6. 81C Zakk Palmer, Bromley, K.Y., Honda CRF450R +03.018
7. 30Z Bronson Bauman, Salinas, Calif., Honda CRF450R +03.051
8. 99Y Ryan Kearns, Stockton, Calif., Kawasaki KX450F +03.186
9. 94B Ryan Wells, Albion, N.Y., Honda CRF450R +05.654
10. 74Z Rodney Spencer Jr., San Martin, Calif., Honda CRF450R +06.493