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FT: Kenny Coolbeth Springfield race notes

COOLBETH STARTS CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENSE WITH SEASON OPENING VICTORY AT SPRINGFIELD MILE SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 29, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth picked up right where he left off last season. The Warren, Conn., native started defending his 2006 AMA Ford...

COOLBETH STARTS CHAMPIONSHIP DEFENSE WITH SEASON OPENING VICTORY AT SPRINGFIELD MILE

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (May 29, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth picked up right where he left off last season. The Warren, Conn., native started defending his 2006 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track championship the best way possible -- with a win.

Coolbeth took the checkered flag Sunday at the AMA GNC Twins season opener at the Springfield Mile. He didn't win by a small margin, either. He had nearly an entire straightaway to himself.

The results, however, were not made official until Tuesday afternoon because of a discrepancy in the bike's weight. Coolbeth's Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson entry did not pass the weigh-in on site and another weigh-in took place at AMA headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. A separate measurement was also done by Holtgreven Scale and Electronics Corporation of Findlay, Ohio, an accredited lab.

AMA officials declared the bike legal Tuesday following the additional weigh-ins.

"Kenny ran an incredible race and won by a large margin," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "We were surprised the bike didn't pass inspection on site. The bike was within the rules when we weighed it in Milwaukee prior to the race. We just had to be patient and wait for the official word from AMA and we're pleased Kenny gets to keep the victory. He ran a great race and deserved the win."

Coolbeth, the Screamin' Eagle factory rider, also finished first in his heat before taking the checkered flag for his 10th career AMA victory.

"By the fifth lap I felt real comfortable and was running my own race," Coolbeth said. "I never even looked back. I was wide open on the gas and thought it was the smoothest run around the Springfield Mile I've ever had."

Coolbeth said he was not worried about the final results that came from AMA officials.

"I knew the bike was legal and I wasn't concerned," Coolbeth said. "My Screamin' Eagle team is great and the mechanic who worries about that aspect does a great job and pays attention to every detail when building a machine for me to ride. We adhere to all the specs."

Wrecking Crew riders Jared Mees, Bryan Smith and Joe Kopp joined Coolbeth in the top five at the first of 13 scheduled events for the GNC Twins this season.

Mees rode his Blue Springs Harley-Davidson into third place, his fifth career podium finish. Smith took fourth place on his Moroney's Harley-Davidson and the newest member of the team, Kopp, took fifth place on his Team Latus Harley-Davidson.

The 25-lap main event was delayed because of rain for several hours -- adding to the anxiety of the season opening race.

"The start of the race was delayed and then we had to wait two days to get the final results," Paluso said. "It was quite an experience for the entire Screamin' Eagle team. We're pleased with the way the team performed throughout the entire weekend but I am sure they are all anxious to get to the next race."

-credit: screamin' eagles

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