INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Kenny Coolbeth ripped the lead from Jake Johnson on lap four of Friday night’s Indy Mile at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and went on to win his 32nd AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship main event aboard his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson.
Coolbeth’s 2.470-second win margin turned heads, to say the least, as he was able to outgun the usual Kawasaki frontrunners, specifically Bryan Smith, to earn his third win of the season.
“This is great for us,” said Coolbeth. “I feel so comfortable with my bike and my team right now. They are putting so much effort into my program every single day and it feels so good for it to pay off here tonight. Smith has the whole package, there is no denying that, but tonight we had it.”
Coolbeth started on the pole but got off to a mediocre start, falling all the way back to fourth after the completion of lap one. On the second lap, however, Coolbeth found his groove and the No. 2 slot. On lap four, Coolbeth was able to get an angle on his rival, Johnson, and gain the lead for his first and final time of the night. Once in front, Coolbeth was able to check out and create enough space to ride smoothly to victory.
As easy as Coolbeth’s victory looked, the battle for the next four slots was a tight one. In the end, it was Smith, aboard his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki who earned second place. To everyone’s surprise, Smith was riding as far back as sixth at one point. It wasn’t until lap 16 when he appeared to turn on the jets, as he passed Jared Mees to take over the second spot. Smith would go on to forfeit his position to Mees on the last lap only to retake it from him down the final frontstretch.
Mees’ third place finish aboard his Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson was his ninth top five finish out of the 10 AMA Pro Flat Track rounds, and his consistency has him atop the overall point standings heading in to the latter half of 2014.
Jake Johnson, aboard his Ramspur Winery Ducati, and Brad Baker, aboard his Factory Harley-Davidson, rounded out the top five, respectively.
Jarod Vanderkooi ended a demanding span of three race dates in seven days in the best way possible. The pilot of the 17F Johnny’s Vintage Motorcycle Honda won the famed Indy Mile, using a last-lap draft pass to get by runner-up Kyle Johnson in a finish that was so close, the timing screens showed it as a dead heat.
It’s the third win of the season for Vanderkooi, and his second in Pro Singles competition – his other was on a twin at the Springfield Mile.
Johnson, on his 77J Parkinson Brothers Honda, led coming off the final corner, but that’s just how Vanderkooi wanted it.
“I wanted to go into Turn 3 in second place and hopefully draft by him on the way,” Vanderkooi said. “I went on the low side of him, got the draft, and he kind of cut down to try to break the draft.”
Johnson retook the points lead (146-142) over Davis Fisher, who went down on the final lap on his 67M T.J. Burnett Farms Honda.
Nick Armstrong rounded out the podium on his No. 44E Southland Racing Honda. It’s his second top three finish in the last three events, and it was special because of the lure of the race.
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Twins Top 10 finishers
1. Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson)
2. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
3. Jared Meed (Harley-Davidson)
4. Jake Johnson (Ducati)
5. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
6. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
7. Stevie Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
8. Briar Bauman (Kawasaki)
9. Jake Shoemaker (Kawasaki)
10. Robert Pearson (Kawasaki)
Expert Twins top 10 in points
1. Jared Mees 182
2. Bryan Smith 181
3. Jake Johnson 174
4. Kenny Coolbeth 157
5. Sammy Halbert 138
6. Brad Baker 118
7. Brandon Robinson 117
8. Henry Wiles 115
9. Stevie Bonsey 105
10. Briar Bauman 82
–From AMA Pro Racing