Four Feathers Yamaha and Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki Score in New Jersey AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT Crozier Motorsports Takes GT1 Title; P.J. Jacobsen Wins SuperSport Pole in Debut MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 5, 2009) - Josh Day and Scott...
Four Feathers Yamaha and Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki Score in New Jersey AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT
Crozier Motorsports Takes GT1 Title; P.J. Jacobsen Wins SuperSport Pole in Debut
MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 5, 2009) - Josh Day and Scott Charleton rode the No. 27 Four Feathers Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 to the overall and GT1 class win as Hall of Famer Jay Springsteen and Scott Ryan scored a must-win GT2 victory in Saturday's AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT race at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP). The two-hour team race was the first of six events at the Labor Day Weekend's AMA Pro Superbike Championships that are being run on the 2.20-mile Thunderbolt Raceway course at NJMP.
Day rode the winning No. 27 Yamaha across the finish line nearly 25 seconds ahead of the No. 13 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 of Dustin Meador and Dane Westby while Mark Crozier and Scott Jensen clinched the GT1 title for the No. 14 Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675 team after taking the checkered flag in third place.
"This was a good win, and I want to thank the Four Feathers team for the opportunity," said Day, who also clinched the AMA Pro SuperSport East Championship one race ago at VIR. "I have been on this bike since Mid-Ohio and we have come close in a few races, so it is good to finally get one. Now I just have to win in SuperSport tomorrow."
A series newcomer from Australia, Charleton scored his first AMA Pro Road Racing win.
"It all ran pretty good for me," Charleton said. "I had a few near misses yesterday, almost threw it away twice. The race went good, Josh did well. I came over here to ride Aussie Dave's Superbike, and talked to Scotty from Four Feathers and he gave me the ride in Moto-GT and it worked out well for us."
The Westby team came up short in a head-to-head battle for the first time since entering SunTrust Moto-GT just four races ago. They won in their first two starts at Mid-Ohio and Topeka and then shook off a mechanical failure while leading at VIR to lead again today at New Jersey. Meador led the race's first 45 minutes before the No. 27 took over during pit stops.
"Basically we just got beat on pit strategy today," Meador said. "We've been going out and changing the rear tire on every stop. That's what we've been doing in the last few races and it's been working out fine. This race, the guys decided to go with one rear tire the whole race and those tires can do that, no problem, but we didn't plan for that. Obviously it worked out to their advantage. Everything else went smooth, the bike was good and the pit stops were smooth, and we both rode good, so it was basically a matter of a pit war."
In post-race technical inspection, the No. 13 Westby Racing bike was found to exceed the class horsepower limit. The entry was penalized five finishing positions, which moved the No. 14 to second both in GT1 and overall and the No. 70 James Gang/Hoban Bros. Racing Buell 1125R of Paul James and Shawn Higbee up to third in GT1.
Jensen joined team owner and lead rider Crozier for the second time this season and the duo had a steady ride to third to clinch the GT1 crown. Several of the Crozier team's season-long championship competitors encountered problems early in the New Jersey race that gave the No. 14 squad the opportunity to wrap up the title with one race remaining on the 2009 schedule.
"The championship is almost unbelievable at this point," Crozier said. "At the beginning of the year, after a couple of rounds, we looked at it and decided we had to win every race to even have a shot at it. Then Barber came, we won, and a bunch of people had some bad luck so it kind of put us in the ball park. It comes down to consistency. Yeah, we won a couple of races, but we were on the box the last half of the season at just about every race."
Jensen first joined Crozier at Mid-Ohio where they finished second to kick off a run of four straight podium finishes in as many races. The streak included a victory one race ago at Virginia International Raceway. Crozier also won for the first time this season at Barber Motorsports Park in May with then co-rider Phil Caudill.
"The team has been busting their butts all year," Jensen said. "We went into today looking at the championship and just wanting to ride real consistent and make sure we brought the bike home. Unfortunately, the Liberty Waves guys had a little bit of bad luck but it worked in our favor. Luckily they were all okay, they just didn't get any points today so once that happened we basically put the thing on cruise control, brought it home and clinched the title a race early."
The No. 14 team sealed the championship with 165 points and edged out the No. 37 Old Pros Racing Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R of Paul Schwemmer and Dave Aldana, which is second in points with 130. The No. 41 Liberty Waves Racing Buell 1125R team of Eric Pinson and Eric Haugo, that crashed out early in the New Jersey race, is third in the championship with 129 points after failing to score at New Jersey.
The season-ending SunTrust Moto-GT 8 Hours At Daytona will close the season at Daytona International Speedway, October 16 - 18.
Staying Alive In GT2
Springsteen and Ryan remain alive in the GT2 championship heading to next month's season-ending 8 Hours At Daytona after the No. 9 team scored its second win of the season at New Jersey. Springsteen and Ryan took advantage of the first retirement of the season by the class-leading No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE of Frank Shockley and Huntley Nash that was in a position to clinch the GT2 championship on Saturday.
Nash was leading on the No. 77 when he crashed out in Turn 4 just 30 minutes into the race. Nash was uninjured in the lowside incident but the No. 77 was done for the day after finishing no lower than second all season.
"That's just one of those things when you lose the front end," Springsteen said. "The race is never over until that checkered flag drops. You have to just be patient and can't celebrate until the race is over. The bike ran great, and we're looking forward to going to Daytona."
Ryan will be back with the team along with a third rider for the Daytona race where they will likely need to win outright again to have any chance at catching the No. 77 for the crown.
"The race went as good as it could," Ryan said. "Unfortunately the Ducati fell off and we're back in the hunt for the championship. I know Jay and I go good at Daytona, the 8 Hours is a long race but we've got a good ringer in the mix so we'll have to see what happens."
No. 64 TeamHurtByAccident.com Ducati PS1000LE of John Linder and Robert Fisher finished second for the team's first podium since winning at Barber. The No. 10 East Coast Powersports Suzuki SV650 of Kenny Rodriguez and Trey Yonce finished third for the team's fourth consecutive top-three finish.
The No. 77 team still has 203 points to lead the GT2 standings but the No. 9 squad has moved to within 14 points with 189 markers. A maximum 32 points are available to a team at the Daytona finale. The No. 64 team is third in the standings with 140 points but has been mathematically eliminated from the championship.
Debuting 16-year-old rider P.J. Jacobsen (No. 54 Celtic Racing/Orient Express Honda CBR600RR) won the pole in qualifying Saturday morning for Sunday's AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei final. Jacobsen turned a top lap of 1:24.391 (93.849 mph). The New York native, who is now eligible for AMA Pro competition after turning 16 last month, is currently competing in the CEV/Spanish 125cc championship but added the New Jersey round to his schedule while the Spanish series is on a two-month break.
"Celtic Racing and Orient Express brought me here," said Jacobsen, who became the youngest American to compete in a World Championship event last year at Indianapolis in 125cc GP. "I look forward to this weekend, it's going pretty good. I was here on a track day before but that's it. It's really good; I like it because it's like the GP tracks over in Europe. Josh and Mercado are going pretty fast, we're just trying to get some setup right and try to put the Celtic Racing/Orient Express Honda on the podium there tomorrow."
Jacobsen will share the front row with recently crowned SuperSport East Champion Josh Day (No. 4 Team E.S.P. Yamaha YZF-R6), two-time 2009 race winner Leandro Mercado (No. 92 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) and J.D. Beach (No. 73 Rockwall Performance/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6).
"It's been a tough year, but we ended the season good," said Day, who was second fastest at 1:24.533 (93.691 mph). "Mercado is right there, and I know Ricky Parker will be up there come race time. I was looking at the track map before I got here and I knew P.J. was going to be fast here because it looked fast and flowing like the European tracks. I knew he'd pick it up good. It should be a good weekend for all of us; it's going to be a tough race tomorrow."
Mercado could match Day's SuperSport leading total of three 2009 victories with a win in tomorrow's race. He was third fastest in qualifying at 1:24.964 (93.216 mph).
"I didn't do the test, so this is my first time here," Mercado said. "I qualified good, we tried a different setup from yesterday, but we went a little slower. So we've got to work a little bit on the bike, to get the bike faster or better than these settings. So, tomorrow's going to be a really good race. Jacobsen, and Josh Day and Parker are here so it's going to be a fun race."
Beach is back to road racing this weekend after a busy AMA Pro Flat Track schedule since finishing a SuperSport season-best second at VIR three weeks ago. Getting back to road racing after a run of oval dirt tracks has been a slight challenge.
"The bike was pretty good," Beach said. "We've been struggling a little bit all weekend with bike setup because I've been riding a little bit of dirt track, so I didn't really feel too good on the bike. I just have to keep riding and then after awhile I just get mad and then I finally get it back. This track is pretty fun, it's a lot different than the tracks that we've been riding but it should be some fun tomorrow."
Ricky Parker (No. 96 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6), the 2009 SuperSport West Champion, rounded out the top five in qualifying. A win in tomorrow's race would also be a third 2009 victory for Parker.
Sunday's SuperSport race will start at 3:10 p.m. for 19 laps/40 miles. Highlights can be seen in same-day coverage on SPEED as part of a two-hour show that airs Sunday evening at 12:30 a.m. ET (9:30 p.m. PT).