WRECKING CREW RIDERS TAKE TWO SPOTS ON COVETED SPRINGFIELD MILE PODIUM Screamin' Eagle Factory Rider Coolbeth Leads Pack with Second Place Finish SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Sept. 3, 2007) --Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson factory rider Kenny Coolbeth ...
WRECKING CREW RIDERS TAKE TWO SPOTS ON COVETED SPRINGFIELD MILE PODIUM
Screamin' Eagle Factory Rider Coolbeth Leads Pack with Second Place Finish
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Sept. 3, 2007) --Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson factory rider Kenny Coolbeth didn't win the AMA Flat Track race this weekend. But the defending AMA champion did the next best thing.
Not only did Coolbeth finish in second place at the historic Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds but he increased his points lead too.
Going into the event Coolbeth had a six-point lead over his Harley-Davidson Wrecking Crew teammate Jared Mees. Coolbeth's second place finish combined with Mees' ninth place finish on his Blue Springs Harley-Davidson have given Coolbeth a 15-point lead going into the final three events of the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship season.
"It was such a good race. It was a fun, clean and safe race," Coolbeth said. "When you trust the people around you it's easy to race fast and good. That's what made it extra fun. I wanted to win so badly but Chris (Carr, race winner) has hundreds of more laps at Springfield than Bryan (Smith) or I have and he is always tough there. I drafted past Chris on turn three and was in the lead off the fourth corner. The checkered flag came out and I just came up short. I went low on the corner and I should have gone high and I lost my momentum.
"The good thing is that Chris is a ways back in the points and Jared finished in ninth place and that helps us in the points chase. We just have to keep being consistent in the last few races."
Either Coolbeth or Mees had won the first eight races of the season. Coolbeth has five wins in seven podium appearances so far this year while Mees has three victories. Chris Carr and the Quality Pre-Owned Ford Harley-Davidson team broke that streak Sunday by winning the second of two annual Springfield events.
Wrecking Crew riders Smith (Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson) and Joe Kopp (Team Latus Harley-Davidson) finished third and fifth, respectively.
The second place finish for Smith was his second of the season and fourth podium finish of the year for the 2006 fall Springfield winner. Smith is in third place of the standings.
"Kenny, Chris and I were going for it the entire race," Smith said. "We led every lap and I knew they would be the two guys that I would have to battle all race. On the last lap Kenny went down low and I tried going around on the outside before hitting the straightaway so I could go for it. I was trying to go around on turn three and four and I lost the run and my momentum and all I could do was follow them to the start/finish line."
Kopp is in sixth place with one podium finish this season. He said he was especially pleased with the finish considering where he was just one lap before the checkered flag was waved.
"It was a good race for me overall," Kopp said. "I was back in eighth place early in the race and I started to work my way back up to the front. Carr, Coolbeth and Smith were in the lead pack and they were about one or two bike lengths from the pack I was riding with. For some reason, we just couldn't seem to close the gap and draft off that lead pack.
"When I saw the white flag wave, it caught me off guard. I thought we had more laps left and I passed two guys in Turn One just to get into fifth place. It was a great race though. I thought everyone was riding smart and it was just a clean, fast race."
The next AMA Flat Track race is Sept. 15 at Monticello Raceway in Monticello, N.Y.