FT: Screamin' Eagles Volunteer race summary

MEES DOESN'T WASTE TIME MATCHING WIN TOTAL FROM 2006; EARNS VICTORY AT VOLUNTEER SPEEDWAY Mees Takes Over No. 1 Position in GNC Twins Point Standings BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 3, 2007) -- Jared Mees wasn't kidding when he said he thought his ...

Mees Takes Over No. 1 Position in GNC Twins Point Standings

BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 3, 2007) -- Jared Mees wasn't kidding when he said he thought his childhood would give him an advantage when the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track GNC Twins series rolled into town.

After all, Saturday was the first time the AMA Twins racers had ever been on the ultra-banked, half-mile Volunteer Speedway. Mees grew up on banked tracks in his home state of Michigan and he put those memories to good use in Tennessee over the weekend.

The 21-year-old earned the race win, his first of the season and fourth of his career. Mees and his Screamin' Eagle/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson team have finished in the top three at both GNC Twins races this season.

Mees said his mechanic, Johnny Goad, gave him another big advantage before the race even started.

"Johnny had this Blue Springs Harley ready to go, right out of the box," Mees said. "He had a great setup for a banked track on the bike before the first practice. We pulled the bike out and we didn't have to change anything except for a few adjustments in the gearing. From the very first practice lap, the bike was fast and I felt really comfortable.

"When you come out strong from the very beginning and don't have to worry about making a ton of changes, you're able to relax a little and focus on riding more than anything else. Everything just came together for us. It was as close to a perfect night as you could ask for."

Screamin' Eagle factory rider Kenny Coolbeth wasn't able to follow up last week's Springfield (Ill.) Mile win with another trophy and finished in fourth place. The rest of the Screamin' Eagle Wrecking Crew -- Bryan Smith (Pat Moroney's Harley-Davidson) and Joe Kopp (Team Latus Harley-Davidson) -- finished in 11th and 14th place, respectively.

"We're proud that all four Wrecking Crew riders qualified for the show," Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Anne Paluso said. "It's always tough going to a track that we haven't raced on before and we're happy that Jared and his Blue Springs group took the win. I think the entire Wrecking Crew is doing a great job being prepared and competitive every weekend."

Mees, 21, qualified in the No. 1 position and said the 32 degree banked track made the race -- sponsored by the East Tennessee Harley-Davidson dealers -- even more fun.

"I had a lot of fun at this track," Mees said. "The track is banked so much that you could fly into the corners and the banking kept you from just sailing off the surface. The crowd was great, the race was quick and the bottom line is that it was a lot of fun.

"The speedway was small, even for a half-mile. It even made me a little dizzy on that first practice lap. I had to get used to going around so fast. We had 15-second lap times and our main event was so fast you could have held your breath for the entire thing. It was a great race."

Mees opened the 2006 AMA season with an eighth and 12th place finish at the first two events of the season. Mees went on to earn second place in the final standings with one win (Saluda, Va.), but he likes the third place at Springfield and first place at Bulls Gap much better.

"In years past I've struggled with the beginning of the season because of bad luck or just being off my game," Mees said. "This year is completely different. We have our guns loaded and we're ready to battle.

"It feels great to already have a win. Every time you win an AMA Grand National event it feels like it's your first win. There isn't anything better than winning."

That includes being the points leader, too. Mees took over the lead in the AMA GNC Twins point standings for the first time in his career, but isn't putting too much energy into the two-week old list. There are, after all, 11 races left on the schedule.

"There is a long road ahead of us before the point standings really matter," Mees said. "When you're racing against guys like Coolbeth and Chris Carr, you have to take it one race at a time. We have to do our best every week and hope we're near the top of the standings when it matters most.

"Coolbeth and Carr each finished outside the top three this weekend, but that's rare. It's nice we took advantage of it this time, but those guys are always right there, so we just have to keep doing our job and preparing for each race the best way possible."

-credit: se

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Series AMA
Drivers Pat Moro , Chris Carr