Jul 12, 2001
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Monitored AMA Pro Racing radio traffic at Laguna Seca showed that Merrill Vanderslice is still firmly in control and continues to make operational decisions.<BR><BR>During the 750cc Supersport race at Laguna Seca last Sunday, starter Bobby Lemming was heard reporting that Rich Alexander's Attack Suzuki was smoking.<BR><BR>Ron Barrick reported that he could not see any smoke from Alexander's bike on the bank of race control TV monitors. Lemming continued to complain about the smoke and at one point told Barrick to come down to the start/finish line and see it for himself.<BR><BR>Vanderslice then came on the radio, and, ignoring Barrick's input, had Lemming black-flag Alexander. When Alexander pitted, nothing was found wrong with his bike, and he rejoined the race.<BR><BR>It was later found that the rear tire on Alexander's bike was expanding and slightly rubbing on the swingarm on the straightaway. Lemming apparently could not tell the difference between tire smoke and oil smoke.<BR><BR>Later in the race, Jimmy Moore re-entered the track after crashing, and oiled the racing surface, and several riders crashed on Moore's oil in turn 11, the final turn, including then-race-leader Ben Spies, two laps from the finish. After the finish, Spies followed Moore around on the cool-off lap, and the front of Spies' bike and the windscreen were coated in oil from Moore's bike.<BR><BR>According to AMA officials, the checkered flag was scheduled to come out on the same lap that they would have thrown the black flag for Moore, which is why Moore got the checkered flag and not a black flag.