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FT: Screamin' Eagle Lima preview

SCREAMIN' EAGLE WRECKING CREW RIDERS HAVE COMPLETELY OPPOSITE EXPERIENCE BUT SAME GOAL FOR LIMA AMA Twins Riders Take on Lima MILWAUKEE (June 27, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth and Joe Kopp couldn't have more different views about this weekend's AMA ...

SCREAMIN' EAGLE WRECKING CREW RIDERS HAVE COMPLETELY OPPOSITE EXPERIENCE BUT SAME GOAL FOR LIMA
AMA Twins Riders Take on Lima

MILWAUKEE (June 27, 2007) -- Kenny Coolbeth and Joe Kopp couldn't have more different views about this weekend's AMA Twins event at Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio.

Kopp -- the 2000 AMA Grand National champion -- has finished in second place in the last two years (2005-'06) and he won the two years before that (2003-'04). He loves the cushion, pea gravel venue.

Coolbeth -- the defending AMA Twins champion -- has never been fond of the cushion tracks. In fact, he didn't even qualify for last season's event. That likely explains why the Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson factory rider has spent so much time preparing for this event.

Both Coolbeth and Kopp do share one goal: winning the race on Saturday.

"I'm actually looking forward to all of the cushion tracks this year," Coolbeth said. "I've been focusing on them quite a bit because I think they were my downfall last year. So I'm preparing for them and am excited about them this year."

Kopp has always liked the cushion tracks and is hoping to like them a lot more after Saturday when he brings his Team Latus Harley-Davidson to the starting line.

"I've adapted well to the cushion tracks over the years and I really like racing on the pea gravel half-mile tracks," Kopp said. "I'm hoping my start will be the extra ticket to get me out in front first. The last two times I've won there I've had a great start and that made all the difference."

Last year Kopp might have made it three wins in four years if it hadn't been for a slight mechanical problem that affected the rider more than anything else. Kopp's seat fell off on the first lap and he didn't have it for more than 12 laps.

"I had the holeshot going into turn one and I felt the seat wiggle," Kopp said. "So I sat up to see what it would do and it fell off. It didn't hit anyone else, which surprised me more than anything else. But everything came off, the seat, the pad, everything. I was just riding on rails, which was interesting. Luckily we had a single-file restart and by the time I came in, my guys had found the seat. We duct-taped that thing back on in a matter of seconds and I went out to finish the race. We've double-bolted the seat ever since."

Lima is the site of the third round of the 2007 AMA Flat Track season and the Screamin' Eagle team is aiming for more podium finishes. Coolbeth won the season opener in Springfield, Ill., while Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew teammate and current points leader Jared Mees and the Blue Springs Harley-Davidson team won the Bulls Gap, Ten., event on June 2.

Last weekend's race in Joliet, Ill., has been rescheduled for July 7 due to persistent rain showers. Now the entire team is more anxious than ever to get back out to the track.

"I just want to race," Coolbeth said. "It seems like we have not been to the track in a while and I can't wait to get back out there, especially to Lima.

"We tested at Lima and I think that was a huge benefit to the team. We're still not perfect, but we're better and it has given us more confidence going into the race."

Kopp and Wrecking Crew rider Bryan Smith (Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson) would like nothing more than to join Coolbeth and Mees as race winners this season -- something Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said is possible because of how well each Wrecking Crew member is riding.

"We have such a strong Wrecking Crew this season and it's made for very competitive racing," Paluso said. "We have four solid riders who can compete for any win and the rest of the field is capable of winning too. I think the championship is going to come down to the wire again like last year and we still have a lot of races remaining before the season finale in Las Vegas (Oct. 6)."

-credit: Screamin' Eagle

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Series AMA
Drivers Pat Moro