SCREAMIN' EAGLE AMA FLAT TRACK RIDER KENNY COOLBETH AIMS FOR BIG FINISH AT SEASON FINALE IN COLUMBUS Race Will Air Free on Live I Sports Website MILWAUKEE (Oct. 11, 2006) -- During the nearly six weeks off that Kenny Coolbeth has had off...
SCREAMIN' EAGLE AMA FLAT TRACK RIDER KENNY COOLBETH AIMS FOR BIG FINISH AT SEASON FINALE IN COLUMBUS
Race Will Air Free on Live I Sports Website
MILWAUKEE (Oct. 11, 2006) -- During the nearly six weeks off that Kenny Coolbeth has had off between AMA Flat Track events, he did what any other points leader would do. Coolbeth built a track in his backyard.
The Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson factory rider didn't have a choice. He had the time, he had the space and he wanted to practice. So the Connecticut resident built a track.
The last AMA event was in Springfield, Ill., on Sept. 3. The season finale at Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio was scheduled for Sept. 23 but was postponed due to persistent rain showers. The rescheduled event is set to take place on Saturday and it couldn't come soon enough for Coolbeth.
"I've been having a lot of fun between races," Coolbeth said. "I thought it would be neat to have a track at home, so I worked an entire weekend to build it. I used up all of my land, but that's all right. I've been working on the house, painting and fixing things up, so I've stayed busy lately but I'm still pretty anxious about racing this weekend."
After nine events so far this season, Coolbeth leads the standings. Fellow Harley-Davidson Wrecking Crew rider Jared Mees and the Texter Harley-Davidson team is in second place, just nine points away from Coolbeth. Chris Carr and the Quality Pre-Owned Ford Harley-Davidson team is third, 10 points away from Coolbeth while Wrecking Crew rider Bryan Smith and the Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson team is fourth, 16 points out of first. Screamin' Eagle factory veteran and Coolbeth's teammate, Rich King, rounds out the top five, 25 points out of first place.
This is the first time that Coolbeth is riding into the season finale with the points lead. He finished third in the final standings in 2004 and second in 2005. He's looking to make that final leap to champion this weekend. It would be Coolbeth's first championship and the first AMA Flat Track championship for Harley-Davidson in nine years.
"I'm not at all nervous going into this race," Coolbeth said. "I'm just looking at it like I would any other event. I'm going there with a goal of doing the best I can and I'm aiming to win the race. That's all I am focused on right now, riding my best race.
"As much as this race means in the points chase, I don't need to put any added pressure on myself. I'm going to train the same and approach the race with one goal in mind and that's to win it. If I look at it any other way, I won't be keeping my normal routine and that's what has helped me get into this situation. My team has done everything they can to constantly improve the bike and that's helped me be a more consistent rider. I'm surrounded by a great crew."
Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said the entire Screamin' Eagle racing program is eagerly anticipating the finale.
"We're all on pins and needles waiting for this race to start," Paluso said. "This is a great example of why Harley-Davidson takes such a big interest in racing. We have great riders and crew members that have battled all season long to put themselves in a position to run for the championship at the final event of the season.
"Every one of our riders can win this race and the rest of the competition is going to do everything they can to make sure they don't. The Harley-Davidson dealer-supported teams have been outstanding all season and it's going to come down to the final lap at the final race to see who gets the big trophy."
Fans will be able to check out the race -- regardless of where they are -- live. Harley-Davidson and Live I Sports have teamed up for a free weekend of racing for all website fans. Fans can go to www.liveisports.com, click on the "schedule" bar and click on the Scioto Downs event. Once a fan has logged in, a $0 charge reminder will pop up and fans will be directed to the event.
"This is such a great site for racing fans," Paluso said. "Not everyone can make it to Columbus this weekend so this is a great way to catch every lap as it happens. We love racing and race fans and we wanted to figure out a way to give everyone a front row seat to the exciting season finale of the flat track series. This was a great weekend to do it."
When the postponement was first announced, Coolbeth wasn't sure if he would ever be able to wait that long. Now that the race is quickly approaching again, he said the time off was easy.
"I've been riding quite a bit, so it's helped the time pass," Coolbeth said. "There is a bigger gap between races in the offseason, and I'm used to that, so this wasn't bad at all. I can't wait to get to the race but only because I think it's going to be a lot of fun."
Coolbeth has already tasted victory at Scioto Downs. He earned his first national event victory at Scioto Downs in 2002.
"Winning my first national there was amazing," Coolbeth said. "It's a pretty fast track and it's going to be a great race because everyone will be thinking the same thing. You have just one race left to put it all out there."
All the action takes place Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. at Scioto Downs.