COOLBETH WINS FOURTH RACE OF THE AMA FLAT TRACK SEASON; FIRST CAREER WIN AT HAGERSTOWN Screamin' Eagle Rider Takes Back Points Lead HAGERSTOWN, Md. (July 30, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth realized on Sunday that he had taken over the points lead with...
COOLBETH WINS FOURTH RACE OF THE AMA FLAT TRACK SEASON; FIRST CAREER WIN AT HAGERSTOWN
Screamin' Eagle Rider Takes Back Points Lead
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (July 30, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth realized on Sunday that he had taken over the points lead with his victory on Saturday night. The race was held later than usual because of a rain delay, but the timing of it all didn't have anything to do with his lack of knowledge on his new points position.
Coolbeth just doesn't pay attention.
The 2006 AMA Flat Track Twins champion and rider of the Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson learned a valuable lesson last season when he took over as the points leader just once -- following the season finale. He never paid attention to the point standings before this season, so why start now?
"I'm really happy about the win because it feels good knowing my team did such a great job and it paid off with another victory," Coolbeth said. "It's nice hearing that we took over the points lead again, but really, it doesn't matter at this point of the season. It only matters one time of year, and that's at the end. I'll look at them then."
Coolbeth earned the win at Hagerstown Speedway Saturday, earning his fourth victory of the season and his 13th overall. It was his first win at Hagerstown and it was a complete team effort, Coolbeth said.
"We didn't do that well at first and we had to do our homework before the main event," Coolbeth said. "I started in the second row but got a good start and just worked my way up from there. Bryan (Smith, Wrecking Crew teammate) was really out in front so I just kept my head down and focused on getting caught up with him. I just kept thinking that I didn't want to settle for second place."
While Coolbeth took the top position on the podium, he had his Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew teammates right behind him. Smith finished in second place on his Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson for the second time this season and Jared Mees -- winner of three events this year -- finished in third place on his Blue Springs Harley-Davidson.
The fourth member of the Wrecking Crew, Joe Kopp, finished in sixth place on his Team Latus Harley-Davidson and moved from eighth to fifth in the Twins point standings.
It's the sixth time the Wrecking Crew has swept the podium since Harley-Davidson brought the team concept back to Flat Track racing prior to the 2006 season.
"The original Wrecking Crew was a group of phenomenal riders starting in the 1920s that were trailblazers in setting performance records and high standards of competition for Harley-Davidson," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "We wanted to pay tribute to those early teams by bringing back the Wrecking Crew concept last year. We never expected the teams to come together so quickly and become such a competitive force.
"They have done amazing things over the course of the last two seasons and they have brought a lot of excitement back to Flat Track racing."
When Coolbeth took over the top spot in the point standings, he bumped Mees down into second place. Mees held the points lead following five races so far this season.
"I thought the rain delay worked to our advantage because it made the track even better," Mees said. "But I didn't get off to a great start and Coolbeth got by me. Kenny and Bryan were just faster than me all day.
"I'm a little disappointed in the race, but I have not finished off the podium all season so I can't complain about anything. My team continues to give me an ultra competitive motorcycle and we're in the championship chase because of it. We can let Kenny have the points lead for a little bit."
Smith said the second place finish was a welcome change from last year's seventh place especially since he's in fourth place of the point standings and looking to move up.
"I've always struggled in Hagerstown and it was great to jump out into the lead this time," Smith said. "We don't know what happened but the bike just started to slow down. I saw Kenny coming and he just kept getting closer and I was staying the same. We needed that podium finish but we're looking for a win.
"Our team has had a few obstacles to overcome this season but we're hanging in there and we're getting better every week."
Kopp said he was pleased with the finish considering it helped him move up the point standings.
"It was a tough event on a few racers and I tried to work my way up to the front but just ran out of laps," Kopp said. "The good news is that I moved up the standings and now I have my eyes set on getting in the middle of the Jake Johnson (third place) and Bryan Smith (fourth place) points battle."