Larry Pegram and Aaron King Discuss Running in Last Weekend's Indy Mile
NEWS September 1, 2009
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (September 1, 2009) - The 2009 running of the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Indianapolis Mile was the setting for Aaron King's second race aboard the No. 40 American Agip / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Aprilia and Larry Pegram's debut on the newest No. 72F Foremost Insurance / American Agip / Pegram Racing / Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati.
Anticipation was high as the entire team knew that this race draws more media attention than the other races on the schedule due to the fact that it is run in conjunction with the Indianapolis MotoGP event. The Italian Aprilia and Ducati were favored by the partisan European crowd as evidenced by the roar of the sold out grandstands when King and Pegram were introduced.
Qualifying heat race action was nerve racking for the team as both Pegram and King were scheduled for the same 10-lap heat race. The new format places the top four riders from the heat directly into the main event. Everyone else has to race the eight-lap semi qualifier and finish in the top three to qualify for the main event. King, who just qualified for his very first AMA Pro Grand National Twins National main event two weeks earlier at Beulah Park, finished the heat race in third place and earned a direct transfer spot. Unfortunately Pegram, on the new dirt-track framed Ducati, ran into trouble on the last lap of the heat race.
"I was running fifth for the last three laps right behind Joe Kopp (Beulah Park's runaway winner) and Aaron," Pegram said. "I am pretty sure that I could have definitely drafted by Joe if he was behind a Harley, but Aaron's bike was fast enough to pull Joe along in his draft. Going into Turn 3 on the last lap I knew I needed to get Joe to go directly to the main. I ran it in there really hard on the outside of Joe and when I went to bring the bike back down on the groove I was going to run into the back of Aaron. I did not want to chance knocking Aaron down so I laid it down. I was joking with Rich (Aaron King's father and retired Factory Harley-Davidson rider) that I can't be racing with these guy's kids. If it was Rich, I would have bounced him right off of the groove, but I couldn't chance it with his son. Rich laughed and thanked me at least three times."
Repairs were made in the limited time between qualifiers and Larry was able to line up for the semi-final race but had to start from the third row in 18th place. In only eight short laps (39 seconds each) Larry worked his way up to fourth place and missed the main by one spot.
"I am obviously disappointed to not make the main, but making a Grand National Main is a very difficult thing to do," Pegram continued. "Laying it down in the heat race put us behind for the semi. I would be more disappointed if the bike wasn't so good. We all worked really hard building this bike in a very short time. It would be unfair to say that it has potential to run up front because I think that it is already capable of racing at the front. I am hoping that we can find some good support for the program and come back next year with a full time rider and then I can ride a few of the Miles again, as my AMA Pro Road Racing schedule allows."
King got a good jump in the first start of the final event and ended up running down the backstraight in third place from the second row. Unfortunately, the race was stopped due to a crash behind the leaders.
"I had a real good jump in the first start," King said. "The second time around I was up to seventh place, but a certain rider ran into me really hard on the first lap and drove me way high off the groove. I dropped back to 15th place and eventually wound up finishing in 12th for the second Twins National in a row. I am really happy. I got another 25 laps under my belt and I will be that much more prepared for the Springfield Mile next week. Once again I really want to let the entire team and our sponsors know how much I appreciate their efforts."
When asked to comment, Rich King said, "I am really proud of Aaron. Ever since he got asked to ride for this team, he is really using his head and riding at a comfortable pace to get experience and move forward. The team is really great about not putting too much pressure on him and he is doing what he needs to be doing. I have to take some credit though, I think the lucky wheel that I brought out of the barn for him to use might have had something to do with it."
"We had a really good night at Indy," David Lloyd said. "A large crowd surrounded our pit area all evening. I think that the fans really appreciate the diversity that we bring to the sport with the brands that we are racing. It took a huge effort by a lot of people to build the new Ducati. Without the support of our financial sponsors, we wouldn't be here. We are sponsored by the best companies, so please check out their websites and order their products on our behalf."