Zemke becomes all-time FX wins king Erion Honda's Jake Zemke became the all-time wins leader in the Formula Xtreme class on Friday at Miller Motorsports Park, racking up his 16th career class win by storming to a fourth straight FX ...
Zemke becomes all-time FX wins king
Erion Honda's Jake Zemke became the all-time wins leader in the Formula Xtreme class on Friday at Miller Motorsports Park, racking up his 16th career class win by storming to a fourth straight FX victory.
Zemke entered the weekend tied for the lead with Eric Bostrom, but stepped up all alone in first in somewhat atypical fashion; He pulled free early and held a clear lead throughout the contest, while so many of his earlier wins were dogfights right to the checkered flag, whether it was matched up against Miguel DuHamel or his current teammate, Josh Hayes.
Hayes made it a bit easier on Zemke today, falling back to around tenth from pole at the green light, before charging into sixth in the opening corner and pushing up to second at the end of the first lap.
Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp also suffered from a poor start and followed Hayes up through the hectic opening lap that saw Rapp's teammate, Chaz Davies, highside out of contention, and Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Michael Barnes fall as well before re-entering the fray.
After finally breaking free of Rapp's challenge, Hayes kept Zemke honest by pushing hard from second but he could never fully make up the early gap he surrendered.
Afterwards, Zemke said, "I got a good start and saw that Josh came off the line good but it looked like he might have bogged it a little bit. Larry (Pegram) raced me pretty good down into Turn 1 and I had to go around the outside of him there. From there it was pretty much clear sailing. I was setting a decent pace there at the beginning and I opened up a second and it just kind of stayed there at a second. I kept going quicker and it kept staying at a second. I could see Josh's pitboard too and I saw when he got up into second. I saw when he made a little push there and got it down to about eight tenths so I put my head down the last couple laps and ran my fastest laps of the race there I think on the last two laps.
"Once again, I said it up on the podium, but hats off to my crew. I wasn't real happy with the bike this weekend until this morning's warm-up. They definitely found some stuff to help me get through the corners a little bit better. I wasn't happy with the way the bike was turning. So hats off to my crew. They're the ones that won the race for me today for sure."
Defending class champion Hayes explained, " My race wasn't too bad... My start was pretty miserable. I was pretty far back there for a while. I kind of bonsai'ed it down into Turn 1 on the outside and went a little wide but I was able to eliminate a couple people I'd have to race through pretty early. Cory West, and Chaz and Larry... it was typically first lap 600 racing. People were all over the racetrack. Unfortunately, Chaz, he was trying to be real aggressive on the first lap and make sure he didn't let Jake get away and he made a small mistake and ended up on the ground. I think he would have added to the race and made it fun for sure.
"Once I had some track I could see Jake and I said, 'Man not again. I've got to try to chase him down again.' I put my head down and I was trying to put things together clean and smart and all of the sudden Steve started putting wheels in on me and I went, 'You've got to be kidding me. Now I'm going to have to work for this too.' It took quite a few laps, but I think about the time I started getting a little gap and Steve started dropping back was my best laps of the race so that probably didn't help his cause any either.
"I put on as strong a charge as I could but I just couldn't make up enough ground. The last few laps I pretty much killed everything trying to do it. I just tried to stay smart so if Jake did make a mistake I'd be there for it."
After claiming a second straight podium result, Rapp said, "I knew we could do pretty fast lap times but I wasn't quite sure how long we could do them. I went into it with a pretty open mind. The bike felt great. I got a really bad start, and Josh and I and Chaz were working our way past a few guys. On the first lap I think Chaz crashed and that was one person less that was in front of me basically. I got past one more person and then it was just us three. Jake had a pretty good lead and I stayed with Josh for maybe three laps or four. After that it was getting a little too hard to hold the pace up. I rode as fast as the bike would allow me to ride it and that was the best I could do."
Leo Vince Foremost Insurance Ducati's Pegram just held onto fourth, narrowly edging Rockwall Honda's Aaron Gobert to the line. Team M4 EMGO Suzuki's Cory West took sixth in his second ride in replacement of the injured Martin Cardenas.
Graves Motorsports' Michael Beck finished seventh with MPT Racing's Garrett Carter, Moto Uno's Nicky Moore, and Yamaha-mounted Chad Herrmann rounding out the top ten.
Following five of eleven rounds, Zemke leads the points chase 169 to Rapp's 143. Pegram is third at 138 following by double champ Hayes at 122.