MEES MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW; WINS ANOTHER AMA FLAT TRACK RACE EVENT Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew Riders Mees and Smith Earn Podium Finishes JOLIET, Ill. (July 8, 2007) -- It wasn't until after Jared Mees had earned his third consecutive AMA...
MEES MAKES IT THREE IN A ROW; WINS ANOTHER
AMA FLAT TRACK RACE EVENT
Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew Riders Mees and Smith Earn Podium Finishes
JOLIET, Ill. (July 8, 2007) -- It wasn't until after Jared Mees had earned his third consecutive AMA Flat Track Twins event Saturday night that someone pointed out the date. July 7, 2007 just might have been the lucky combo for the 21-year-old rider of the Blue Springs/Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson.
His third consecutive win came on a day that showed all lucky 7's? Perfect. Because Mees is looking for anything that could help explain the recent winning streak.
"I can't believe it," Mees said. "I feel like I've bumped my head or something because never in a million years would I have thought it would be possible for anyone to win three consecutive races. The competition is so fierce between guys like Kenny (Coolbeth, defending AMA champion), Chris Carr (multi-AMA champion) and Bryan (Smith, Wrecking Crew teammate) that I would never have imagined this happening."
Mees took the victory Saturday night at Route 66 Raceway -- his sixth career victory and first in Joliet. Mees finished a career-best second in the final AMA Twins point standings last season after posting one win.
"Jared is riding so well and it's incredible the streak he's put together," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "Considering the caliber of riders out on that track every weekend, it says a lot about Jared and his Blue Springs team and what they have been able to accomplish lately."
Wrecking Crew rider Bryan Smith finished in second place on his Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson for his second consecutive podium finish, moving him from fourth to third in the standings. Screamin' Eagle factory rider Coolbeth earned fourth place while Wrecking Crew rider Joe Kopp did not qualify on his Team Latus Harley-Davidson -- his first miss of the season.
"Things went well overall, I just didn't get off the line very quickly and that cost me a lot of time," Coolbeth said. "I started way too late for me. By the time I started putting in good laps, everyone else was pretty much gone. If I had been on top of the start, I would have finished on the box for sure.
"The track was great and they did such a good job giving us such a racy surface. I hope it stays on the schedule because the facility is great and they kept the track in perfect condition."
Now Coolbeth has to battle his Wrecking Crew teammate for valuable points before Mees widens the gap even more.
"Jared is pulling away in the points and that's a concern to our team," Coolbeth said. "We just have to focus on the race ahead of us and race our best event possible and not even think about points. That can be difficult to do when you're trying to defend a championship."
While Mees won his heat, he qualified third for the event. Smith qualified in the No. 1 position while Coolbeth was fourth. Mees admits his start in the main event didn't make his attempt at victory easy.
"Qualifying went very well for us because the track was awesome," the Clio, Mich., resident said. "The track just got faster throughout the night and by the time the main event came up, it was perfect.
"I still got a horrible start and I slammed the bike through the bottom of turn two and did whatever I could to get around to the lead. I rode the hardest laps of my career after that. I just went for it and hit all my points and did everything possible to stay in front."
Mees finished more than two seconds ahead of Smith. And he can still hardly believe that he's not only the winner of three straight, but also continues to lead the AMA Twins point standings. Mees took over the points lead for the first time in his career on June 7 following his first win of the season (Bulls Gap, Tenn.) and has just padded the lead ever since.
"If someone would have said I would earn three straight podiums, fine. I would have agreed with them that that was possible," Mees said. "But not three wins. Not in this group of riders. I can't even take half of the credit for the wins. I have the best support group possible and it's the entire package that is making the victories possible.
"(Mechanic) Johnny Goad is going through the bike with a fine-toothed comb and he has given me a great bike to ride. Blue Springs Harley-Davidson is giving us fresh parts and making sure we're ready for every race. Craig Pickett is in his 50s and he is in better shape than most people half his age and he's been helping me train. We ride bicycles, go motocrossing and I can hang with him, but he pushes me real hard. I have a trainer at the gym and all of that together is creating this amazing team that's capable of winning."
Mees now leads Coolbeth by 13 points, with Smith 27 points behind in third place. While Mees admits there is too many races left (nine) on the schedule, he's going to enjoy the Route 66 Raceway win as long as possible. At least until next weekend's race starts anyway.
"What made the Joliet win even better was the people in the stands supporting us," Mees said. "We had some very special people with us this weekend and while they can read about how we've been doing, it's much better to see it in person. David Worth and Tim Martin from Blue Springs came to the race and David was able to do the victory lap with me and I think he was smiling more than I was. It was a great event."
The next AMA Twins event is July 14 at Virginia Motor Speedway in Saluda, Va.