The AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship battle is heating up as it nears the end, and it’ll roll back to Springfield Illinois, for the second running in 2014 of the Springfield Mile on Sunday.
On-track action begins at 10:15 a.m. CT (11:15 a.m. ET, 8:15 a.m. PT) with the Pro Twins main scheduled for 3:40 p.m. CT (4:40 p.m. ET, 1:40 p.m. PT) and the Expert main is set for 4:10 p.m. CT (5:10 p.m. ET, 2:10 p.m. PT). Fans can catch all the action, live in high definition at FansChoice.tv.
Bryan Smith was the victor on the hallowed grounds back in May, and the Michigan native and pilot of the No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki enters the event with a six-point lead over Rodgers Racing’s Jared Mees in the title hunt.
Smith, who is famously comfortable on longer tracks, is coming off a win at the circuit’s longest stretch, the 1.25-mile Virginia Mega Mile. But in May, he needed every ounce of speed out of his Kawasaki, as he won by just .041 seconds over Kenny Coolbeth. Mees was third, just .153 seconds behind Smith.
Coolbeth, who is fourth in points with 171, has shown speed all season, and would be firmly entrenched in the title hunt if not for a little bad luck and lackluster showings in the season’s two TT events. The pilot of the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson even has a win on a mile track, taking the checkered flag at the Indy Mile. Coolbeth also owns three Springfield victories.
Jake Johnson has been the model of consistency this year, standing on the podium six times to keep the title within grasp. The Ramspur Winery rider has also found speed on four different bikes this year, including the Kawasaki he rode to third in Virginia. Johnson is third in points, 18 behind Smith and 12 back of Mees.
Henry Wiles shot up the points standings with wins in both TT events. The fifth place Don’s Kawasaki rider took his No. 17 machine to sixth in the last Springfield Mile and has now been in the top 10 in the last four events.
Wiles is five points ahead of defending GNC champion Brad Baker (154-149). Baker has been solid during the latter part of the season, finishing no worse than sixth in each of the last six races. He was fifth in Springfield in May, and was riding in third until a last-lap mechanical in Virginia.
Sammy Halbert will look to rebound from a string of bad luck. The South East Harley-Davidson pilot missed the main in Virginia following a crash in his heat race and was 15th and 19th the two races prior. But the rider of the No. 7 machine has five top fives this year, including the Sacramento Mile, where he was the fast qualifier. Halbert is still seventh in points with 139.
Brandon Robinson (USC Kawasaki), Stevie Bonsey (Zanotti Racing) and Briar Bauman (Monster Energy Kawasaki) round out the top 10 in points heading into Springfield.
At Springfield, the Pro class will run the twins for just the second time this year. When the up-and-comers visiting the track in May, Jarod Vanderkooi had his coming out party.
The Ohio Johnny’s Vintage Motorcycles rider dominated every time he was on-track even though it was the 16-year-old’s first ever AMA Pro Flat Track race. Vanderkooi, who turned 16 after the season-opener in Daytona, cruised to a 6.656-second victory over T. J. Burnett Farms’ Davis Fisher.
Vanderkooi and Sylvester Farms’ Brandon Wilhelm were the only two Pro Twins riders to clock a lap in the 35-second range in the main event. Wilhelm was fourth while Jamison Minor (Roy Miller Racing) was third.
J.R. Addison will also be a rider to watch in the Pro Twins. The Parkinson Brothers Racing pilot was injured in a crash at Springfield in May, but returned this past weekend at Virginia and took the checkered flag, showing he’s already back up to speed and knows how to get around a bigger circuit fast.
How to Watch:
FansChoice.tv will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Flat Track and AMA Pro Road Racing events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series.
About AMA Pro Flat Track:
AMA Pro Flat Track is a national motorcycle racing series in North America and is considered one of the oldest forms of motorcycle racing. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the Series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track racing in the world. The 2014 schedule consists of 16 rounds on the country’s finest flat track courses. For more information on AMA Pro Flat Track, please visit www.amaproracing.com/ft.