Titles On the Line as Progressive AFT Arrives at Legendary Sacramento Mile
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (September 8, 2021) – The Progressive American Flat Track championship battles have kicked into high gear as the series powers into the Law Tigers Sacramento Mile I & II presented by Knauf Insulation at Cal Expo in Sacramento, California, this Saturday, September 11, and Sunday, September 12.
That’s certainly the case in the Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle category where reigning Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) leads rival Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) by just 12 points in his quest to claim a third-consecutive crown.
Mees comes in hot following his double victory at the Springfield Mile. Even with Bauman twice finishing on the box, a repeat of those results this weekend would mean Mees would head into next month’s series finale with a one-point advantage.
The “Legendary Sacramento Mile” has historically favored the most experienced and accomplished pilots — riders with the tactical acumen to perfectly execute race-long and last-lap strategies. Mees fits that bill as evidenced by his triumphant outings in the most recent two Sacramento Miles. Another who does is “Mile Master” Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Indian FTR750), the winner of seven straight Sacramento Miles from 2011-2017. And this year’s edition has additional significance for Smith (and the sport at large), as he will ride off into the sunset following this weekend’s doubleheader.
In fact, just four riders — Mees, Smith, Scott Parker, and Chris Carr — have stood atop the premier-class podium in the last 27 Sacramento Miles. And you have to go back 37 Sacramento Mile before you come across a winner with less than 20 career Mile victories to his name — and even then it’s the legendary Jay Springsteen, who ranks seventh all-time with 14 Miles wins.
While Bauman has just two Miles wins to date, he’s quickly establishing himself as an all-time great, and he has demonstrated the potential to eventually join the ranks of Mile maestros. This would be an ideal weekend for him to start adding to that résumé with so much on the line.
The loaded field has plenty of prospective spoilers, most notably the on-form Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750) as well as the potent Mission Roof Systems trio of Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750).
Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) rebounded from his most trying race weekend as a professional with his most successful weekend as a professional. The opening half of last weekend’s Springfield double-double saw him take a slim seven-point AFT Singles championship advantage over Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) heading into this weekend’s pivotal doubleheader.
Daniels and Whale figure to factor at the front yet again this weekend, as does third-ranked podium constant Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F).
But this could be a prime weekend for Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) to remind the world why she’s the winningest rider in AFT Singles history. Texter boasts an astonishing five career wins at the Sacramento Mile — more victories than any other AFT Singles rider has tallied at all Miles combined.
Texter-Bauman also happens to be the defending race winner thanks to a trademark ride in 2019 in which she edged Mikey Rush (No. 15 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) to the flag to conclude a race-long pack war that saw seven riders take the checkered flag within 0.884 seconds of victory.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
While unpredictable title fights define the other classes, the Sacramento Mile will likely serve as a coronation for 2019 AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07).
With 67 points in hand and just three races remaining, Texter only needs to finish 11th or better on Saturday to lock up the 2021 title regardless of what second-ranked Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) does from here on out.
Considering that Texter has won five times, been on the podium nine times, and finished no lower than seventh all season long, that seems quite doable. With plenty of margin for error, he’s unlikely to simply cruise to the crown, however, especially coming off a three consecutive non-podium finishes.
The usual suspects of Bromley, Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/Rausch Fuel Kawasaki Ninja 650), Ben Lowe (No. 25 Mission Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), and Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) are among the riders most likely to prevent Texter from brandishing a shiny new #1 plate atop the podium.
Another rider to keep an eye on is super-sub Jesse Janisch (No. 96 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), who has proven to be a revelation in AFT Production Twins action after previously making a name for himself primarily as a 450cc TT ace.
This weekend’s Legendary Sacramento Mile will live up to its billing on a number of fronts, including via a Legends Autograph Session including more than twenty of the sport’s greatest figures, including the likes of Scott Parker, Mert Lawwill, Jim Rice, David Aldana, and Jim Odom. Nichole Mees — racer, wife of Jared, co-promoter of the Lima Half-Mile, and future co-promoter of the Springfield Mile — will serve as the weekend’s Grand Marshal, while Tony Lindsay of Santana fame will sing the National Anthem on 9/11.
A range of ticket options for the weekend are available at https://www.etix.com/ticket/v/15860/sacramento-mile including a Discount Weekend Doubleheader Package that starts at just $40. Also available are VIP/Turf Club seating that includes food and prizes in a private area.
The gates will open for fans on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. PT, with Opening Ceremonies scheduled for 7:45 p.m. ET/4:45 p.m. PT ahead of the Main Event programs. On Sunday, the gates will open at 10:00 a.m. PT with Opening Ceremonies set for 5:20 p.m. ET/2:20 p.m. PT. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
The Law Tigers Sacramento Mile I & II presented by Knauf Insulation will premiere back-to-back on NBCSN on Sunday, September 26, starting at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT, including exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
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