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Mikey Rush (54) edged Brad Baker (12) for the win Thursday night. Mikey Rush (54) edged Brad Baker (12) for the win Thursday night. Photo courtesy AMA Pro Racing/Dave Hoenig

Rush snags Flat Track opener

Written by  on Friday, 15 March 2013 10:45

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was an uncharacteristically cold night under the lights at DAYTONA Flat Track for the AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles season opener on Thursday. Fans witnessed Mikey Rush (Machete Energy/Honda CRF450R) capture the Grand National checkered flag in what proved to be an impressive showdown between several prominent riders.

Lap 18 is what told the story in Thursday night's 25-lap shootout. Brad Baker (Specialty Fabrication Incorporation/Honda CRF450R) seemed to have everything under control until that particular lap when Rush edged him out on turn four to steal the lead and surrender nothing for the final seven laps.

"First of all, I just want to say that I love Daytona, this place is extremely special to me," said Rush. "Brad made it extremely difficult for me tonight but I was lucky to make that pass late in the race and eventually stick it for the win. The feeling I have right now is incredible and I love competing against these guys."

Rush's surgical pass of Baker on lap 18 was a game-changer and it's safe to say that the Californian was telling the truth when he stated that Daytona is a special place to him, as his only two professional wins have come at this venue. Rush won at the Municipal Stadium circuit in Daytona back in 2007 and again here on Thursday night.

"So close but so far away," said a discouraged Baker. "I felt him breathing down my neck and unfortunately I let him slip by. I have to give Mikey credit for running an excellent race though, he deserves it. I look forward to giving it another shot tomorrow night."

Defending AMA Pro Grand National Champion and Thursday night's Dash for Cash winner Jared Mees (Montgomeryville Cycle/Honda CRF450R) got the holeshot in the main event but surrendered it immediately to Baker. However, Mees battled it out until the very end and came away with an impressive third place finish.

In his first career race as a professional, Kyle Johnson (Boughner Racing/Kawasaki KX450F) took no prisoners as he cruised to a dominating Pro Singles victory. Johnson was the only rider in the field mounted on a Kawasaki and he took full advantage of the power it produced.

Johnson, who started on the pole, got the holeshot to begin the race, only to see defending 2012 AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles Champion Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda CRF450R) crash and force a complete restart. Johnson, however, didn't lose focus as he repeated with yet another holeshot on the second go-around. On lap three, Mike Poe (CCBC/Honda CRF450R) robbed Johnson of the lead only to forfeit it back to Johnson on lap 11. The rest of the race was seemingly uncontested for Johnson, as he won by over a full second.

Vanderkuur had high hopes going in to the season opener after coming off of the best year of his burgeoning career in 2012. However, the Missouri product had two on-track mishaps that knocked him out of the main event. Look for Vanderkuur to bounce back Friday night in round two.

 GNC Race Results

1

54

Mikey Rush

Machete Energy,Coscio/Rush Racing,SOuthland Pro...

Honda CRF450R

25 Laps

WINNER

0:18.351

0

2

12

Brad Baker

Specialty Fabrication Incorpation,Schenk Racing...

Honda CRF450R

0.945

0.945

0:18.437

2

3

1

Jared Mees

Montgomeryville Cycle,National Cycle,Rogers...

Honda CRF450R

2.802

1.857

0:18.616

5

4

17

Henry Wiles

-- none listed --

Honda CRF450R

3.071

0.268

0:18.561

4

5

44

Brandon Robinson

TJ Burnett Farms,USC Racing,James Hart...

Kawasaki KX450F

4.647

1.576

0:18.517

0

6

20

Matt Weidman

Scott Powersports,Shoei,Silkolene,SNIP,R&D...

Honda CRF450R

6.550

1.902

0:18.519

0

7

5

Jake Johnson

-- none listed --

Honda CRF450R

7.785

1.235

0:18.721

3

8

10

Johnny Lewis

Triple J Racing,Wallace Trucking,Saddlemen,Ride...

Honda CRF450R

8.163

0.378

0:18.728

0

9

80

Stevie Bonsey

RGR,Alpinestars,Arai,Confused MX,Motion Pro,ABA...

Honda CRF450R

8.793

0.630

0:18.737

0

10

69

Jethro Halbert

Southland Racing Suspension,Knucklehead...

Suzuki RMZ 450

9.370

0.576

0:18.700

2

11

27

Robert Pearson

Weirbach Racing,KDM Forrest Products,Michael...

Honda CRF450R

10.190

0.819

0:18.609

0

12

2

Kenny Coolbeth, Jr.

Chaplin Kawasaki,Cometic...

Kawasaki KX450F

12.665

2.474

0:18.865

0

13

98

Kayl Kolkman

Simi Valley Kawasaki,Wieblers...

Kawasaki KX450F

12.718

0.053

0:18.865

0

14

71

Donald Mullen II

Triple J Racing,Shenandoah Honda,Lonas Racing,Jim...

Honda CRF450R

13.155

0.437

0:18.887

0

15

23

Jeffrey Carver Jr.

Mack Daddy Racing,Kiesow Racing,Eddie...

Honda CRF450R

16.782

3.626

0:18.768

0

16

11

Scott Baker

The Brothers Powersports,Silkolene,EBC,Motion...

Honda CRF450R

17.147

0.364

0:19.077

0

17

42

Bryan Smith

Crosley Radios,Howerton Motorsports,Oasis...

Honda CRF450R

16 Laps

9 Laps

0:18.820

0

18

14

Briar Bauman

Yamaha,Memphis Shades,Babe DeMay Racing,Rod Lake...

Yamaha YZ 450F

7 Laps

9 Laps

0:18.956

0

--From AMA Pro Racing

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John Hopkins

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