Johnson Claims AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship Number One Plate with Victory at Yavapai Downs
PRESCOTT, AZ - The 2010 AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com came to an action packed conclusion in front of a packed house at the Yavapai Downs, Arizona Mile in Prescott Valley, AZ.
AMA Pro Racing crowned the first "Official" Grand National Champion in three when Zanotti Racing's Jake Johnson topped a hard fought twenty five lap main event. Coming into the last round Johnson held a tenuous ten point lead over Latus Harley-Davidson / ENI R&D / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports' Joe Kopp. The series was returning to the site of Kopp's and his potent Ducati's historic first Grand National win, but Kopp was unable to repeat the magic and was just off the pace all day.
Defending Grand National Twins Champion Jared Mees was also still in the hunt for the Grand National Title, but the Rogers Lake racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson backed rider would need some help. Johnson wasn't content to leave his fate in the hands of others and when the green light flashed starting the eighteen rider, twenty five lap National away he went right to the front.
"After the Dash didn't go so well, I wasn't too sure about the main and I was just hopping for the best," said Johnson. "Then when the race started and I was up front I decided to go for it. It's safer with everyone behind you."
Johnson may have been in front, but he was not alone. Dash winner, Kings Kustoms / KK Motorcycle Supply's Sammy Halbert had opted to start on the second row behind pole sitter Mees. And it worked very well for Halbert as he finished the first lap in second. Mees, Stevie Bonsey (Dodge Brothers / Johnny Goad) and Harley-Davidson Motor Company's Kenny Coolbeth were all bunched behind the points leader.
After getting bottled up on the start Kopp was faced with the insurmountable task of running down the leaders from mid-pack. The top five started pulling away with Kawasaki / Monster Energy / Werner-Springsteen Racing's Bryan Smith and Kopp giving chase. A couple of slips off the groove dropped Bonsey from the lead pack and it would be a four rider battle to the end.
"We were rubbing and bumping and I thought about dropping back to around fifth and then try to work my way back at the end, but in the past I've never been able to make that work," said Johnson. "I knew I could double draft them, but nobody seemed able to do that to me. I wasn't sure where Joe was, so I just decided to go for it. I thought I might as well lead if off turn four and see what they could do. Jared just came up inches short.
Halbert collected the last podium spot as Coolbeth could never get the needed momentum to move up from fourth. Kopp was able to slice his way up to fifth, but that would leave him twenty points out of the lead and tied with Mees for second.
Smith brought his Kawasaki home sixth over the fading Bonsey and Lancaster Harley-Davidson's Chris Carr. Fast qualifier Moroney's Harley-Davidson's PJ Jacobsen recovered from a first lap get off to finish ninth over fellow Rookie Waters Auto Body's Jeremy Higgins.
The Motorcycle-Superstore.com Series was already locked up by Van's Yamaha / Woody Kyle Racing's Jeffery Carver,, but that didn't stop the season long battle between him and Defending Series Champion Rod Lake / Mike Velasco' Brad Baker.
The fast duo broke on top, but this time they were joined by Weirbach Racing / General Engineering teammates Mikey Martin and Mike LaBelle. Martin charged into the lead on lap eight of the twelve lap race. Then Baker slipped off the groove and fell all the way back to sixth.
Carver was back in front a lap later and it appeared he would record his sixth victory of the year, but young Canadian LaBelle was on a mission and he was able to clip off the last two laps for his first win.
LaBelle the dedicated the win to his fallen countryman, Jesse Phibbs. "I wanted this so bad. It's all for Jesse after we lost him earlier this week," said LaBelle from the podium.
Martin squeezed out second over Baker and Carver. Kawasaki / Monster Energy / Werner-Springsteen Racing's Chaz Springsteen rounded out the top five.
PRESCOTT VALLEY, AZ
RESULTS: October 9, 2010
AMA PRO MOTORCYCLE-SUPERSTORE.COM PRO SINGLES MAIN (12 laps; 18 riders): 1. Mike LaBelle (Hon); 2. Mikey Martin (Hon); 3. Brad Baker (Hon); 4. Jeffery Carver (Yam); 5. Chaz Springsteen (Kaw); 6. Michael Toon (Hon); 7. Mikey Avila (Hon); 8. Wyatt Maguire (Yam); 9. Corey Crawford (Hon); 10. William Cato (Hon); 11. Kenny Lamberti (Hon); 12. Life Kelley (Hon); 13. Mark Cernicky (Hon); 14. Tyler Odom (Hon); 15. Jeremy Hamilton (Hon); 16. Shayna Texter (Hon); 17. Brian Tapp (Hon); 18. Jake Latimer (Yam); 19. Austin Helwig (Hon).
AMA PRO MOTORCYCLE-SUPERSTORE.COM PRO SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS (After 16 of 16 rounds): 1. Jeffery Carver (293 pts / 5 wins) 2. Brad Baker (267 / 4 wins); 3. Mikey Avila (194); 4. James Rispoli (160); 5. Mike LaBelle (139 / 1 win); 6. Mikey Martin (137); 7. Chaz Springsteen (130); 8. JD Beach (118 / 4 wins); 9. Michael Toon (104 / 2 wins); 10. Jake Shoemaker (90); 11. William Cato (88); 12. (TIE) Corey Crawford / Gerit Callies (67); 14. (TIE) Zakk Palmer / Wyatt Maguire (66); 16. Jeremy Hamilton (63); 17. Shayna Texter (60); 18. Tyler O'Hara (47); 19. Kurtis Lee (38); 20. Brandon Laursen (35).
GNT DASH FOR CASH (4 laps; 6 riders): 1. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 2. Jared Mees (H-D); 3. PJ Jacobsen (H-D); 4. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 5. Jake Johnson (H-D); 6. Stevie Bonsey (H-D);.
AMA PRO K&N GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED by MOTORCYCLE-SUPERSTORE.COM MAIN (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Jake Johnson (H-D); 2. Jared Mees (H-D); 3. Sammy Halbert (H-D); 4. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 5. Joe Kopp (Duc); 6. Bryan Smith (Kaw); 7. Stevie Bonsey (H-D); 8. Chris Carr (H-D); 9. PJ Jacobsen (H-D); 10. Jeremy Higgins (KTM); 11. JR Schnabel (Suz); 12. Henry Wiles (H-D); 13. Chad Cose (KTM); 14. Shawn Baer (Tri); 15. Brad Baker (H-D); 16. Brandon Robinson (H-D); 17. Justin Hittle (H-D); 18. Johnny Lewis (Kaw).
AMA PRO K&N GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED by MOTORCYCLE-SUPERSTORE.COM POINT STANDINGS (After 16 of 16 rounds): 1. Jake Johnson (289 pts / 3 wins); 2. (TIE) Joe Kopp (3 wins) / Jared Mees (269); 4. Sammy Halbert (249 / 1 win); 5. Kenny Coolbeth (248 / 1 win); 6. Henry Wiles (246 / 5 wins); 7. Chris Carr (201); 8. Bryan Smith (190 / 2 wins); 9. Matt Weidman (108); 10. Johnny Lewis (104); 11. Rob Pearson (90); 12. Stevie Bonsey (81 / 1 win); 13. Mick Kirkness (79); 14. Jethro Halbert (77); 15. JR Schnabel (49); 16. Luke Gough (46); 17. Brandon Robinson (45); 18. PJ Jacobsen (44); 19. Shaun Russell (39); 20. Chad Cose (36).
AMA PRO K&N GRAND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED by MOTORCYCLE-SUPERSTORE.COM TWINS POINT STANDINGS (After 10 of 10 rounds): 1. Jake Johnson (191 pts / 2 wins); 2. Kenny Coolbeth (170 / 1 win); 3. Jared Mees (169); 4. Sammy Halbert (168); 5. Joe Kopp (158 / 3 wins); 6. Chris Carr (151); 7. Bryan Smith (138 / 2 wins); 8. Henry Wiles (105 / 1 win); 9. Matt Weidman (73); 10. Stevie Bonsey (67 / 1 win); 11. Rob Pearson (57); 12. PJ Jacobsen (44); 13. (TIE) Luke Gough / Mick Kirkness (39); 15. Johnny Lewis (36); 16. Willie McCoy (33); 17. JR Schnabel (30); 18. Jethro Halbert (29); 19. Brandon Robinson (27); 20. Chad Cose (22).
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
More, from a press release issued by Harley-Davidson:
COOLBETH FOURTH IN FLATTRACK FINALE AT YAVAPAI DOWNS
Jake Johnson Wins Race and Grand National Championship on a Harley-Davidson
PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. (October 9, 2010) Harley-DavidsonÂ® Screamin' EagleÂ® factory rider Kenny Coolbeth finished fourth in the Grand National Twins main on the Yavapai Downs Mile, the final race in the 2010 AMA Pro K&N Filters Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com. The race was won by Zanotti Racing rider Jake Johnson on a Harley-Davidson. Johnson also won the 2010 AMA Grand National Championship with this race.
A red flag for crashed rider P.J. Jacobson stopped action on the first lap of the 25-lap Grand National main. Jacobson was able to continue. On the subsequent re-start, Johnson led a five-rider pack that also included Coolbeth, Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, King Kustoms/KK Motorcycle Supply rider Sammy Halbert, and Dodge Brothers / Johnny Goadrider Steve Bonsey immediately pulled away from the pack. Bonsey dropped off the pace on lap six, leaving four riders battling for the lead. Johnson, Mees and Halbert each held the official lead at some point in the race, with Coolbeth hanging back in fourth but never more than a half-second behind the leader. In the closing laps the race came down to Mees and Johnson, with Mees leading lap 23 before giving way to Johnson. Mees made a last-turn run on the leader, but came up just 0.004 seconds short of victory. Halbert was third, 0.160 second behind the winner. Coolbeth finished 0.496 seconds behind Johnson. Agip/Lloyd Brothers Ducati rider Joe Kopp was fifth, 2.6 seconds off the pace.
The victory was Johnson's third of the season.
"We got a good start and I was kind of hanging back in the beginning to save my rear tire," said Coolbeth. "I could not seem to get a good draft off of anybody, and there was no passing in the turns here. We were just a freight train on the straights, and when I picked up the pace so did everyone else. It was so close at the end I didn't know who won. Jake raced hard and really won his championship in style."
Coolbeth, a three-time Grand National Champion (2006-2008) finished the 2010 season with a win on the Canterbury Mile on Sept. 11, and six other podium appearances in 16 races.
"We would have liked to get more wins, but as you can see from the final points, this was a very competitive season," said Coolbeth. "Everyone was fast. My mechanic, Craig Lager, always put me on a great Harley-Davidson for the Twins races, and he's been a good friend and supporter. I'm looking forward to next year."
In the final standings, Johnson had 289 points. Kopp and Mees tied for second place with 269 points. Halbert was fourth with 249 points, followed by Coolbeth with 248 points and KK Motorcycle Supply/Mike & Eddie Adkins rider Henry Wiles with 246 points.
Screamin' Eagle Performance Parts are inspired by and built in the spirit of the raw adrenaline and power of motorcycle racing. Screamin' Eagle Pro parts are specifically designed for race-use applications, while Screamin' Eagle parts offer street-use performance options for the Harley-Davidson motorcycle owner. Visit www.harley-davidson.com for more information.
The Screamin' Eagle Flat Track team is sponsored by Matco Tools.