Kenny Coolbeth, on his No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson, beat the winner of the May edition of the Springfield Mile, Bryan Smith, by just .010 seconds to win Round 14 of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship season. It was the fourth Springfield victory for Coolbeth and his second on a mile-long track this season.
Smith, on his No. 42 Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki, retained the overall points lead over Jared Mees, who finished third on the No. 9 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson.
In typical Springfield fashion, the top six finishers were separated by less than one second.
"Springfield is tough," Coolbeth said. "Everybody goes fast here, to get a win is huge. We had an up-and-down year, but when we're good, we're good. So I'll take it."
Smith led the most laps in the Expert main, but Coolbeth was the fast qualifier. The Dash for Cash went to Jake Johnson on his No. 5 Rampsur Winery Kawasaki. Johnson finished sixth in the main to stay third in points with just two events remaining on the schedule.
"These guys built me a horse today," Coolbeth said. "And we had an up-and-down day. In the Dash, we had a little mishap, but we turned it around, and this feels good." Smith, who is famously dominant on mile-long courses and was the man to beat, on paper, coming into Sunday's race, knew nothing can be taken for granted at Springfield.
The photo-finish was evidence of that.
"That's typical Springfield right there," Smith said. "I thought I could get by Kenny coming up to the line, but I ended up about a wheel short."
Jake Shoemaker followed up his podium finish at the Virginia Mega Mile last weekend with a fourth place showing in Springfield on his No. 55 Hot Shot Motors Kawasaki. Don's Kawasaki's Henry Wiles rode his No. 17 machine to fifth.
The GNC title chase heads to California's Wine Country next. The series will run the Calistoga Half-Mile at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif. on Sept. 27.
In Pro Singles action, Jarod Vanderkooi completed the season sweep of the Springfield Mile, piloting his No. 17F Johnny's Vintage Motorcycle Kawasaki to a 2.257-second victory over Illinois' own Molly Terry on her No. 11P B&B Racing Harley-Davidson. Dalton Winkler rounded out the podium on the No. 35S Van Leeuwen Distributing Kawasaki.
In the May running of the Springfield Mile, Vanderkooi was dominant, winning by more than seven seconds. This time around he faced stiffer competition and still proved up the challenge.
"It's just awesome to be able to come out here and perform like I did the last two times," Vanderkooi said. "I have a great bike behind me. I got a good start and pulled it off."
AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Springfield Mile Top 10
- Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
2. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
3. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
4. Jake Shoemaker (Kawasaki)
5. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
6. Jake Johnson (Kawasaki)
7. Willie McCoy (Harley-Davidson)
8. Stevie Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
9. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
10. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Top 10 in Points
1. Bryan Smith 267
2. Jared Mees 254
3. Jake Johnson 237
4. Kenny Coolbeth 217
5. Henry Wiles 184
6. Brad Baker 169
7. Sammy Habert 151
8. Brandon Robinson 149
9. Stevie Bonsey 146
10. Jake Shoemaker 114
--From AMA Pro Racing