Sammy Halbert Wins First AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National to Kick Off 2010 Season
NEWS March 4, 2010
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (March 4, 2010) - AMA Pro Racing kicked off the 2010 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship before a standing room only crowd at the "World Center of Racing" on the brand new DAYTONA Flat Track.
The large crowd that braved the cold temperatures were treated to some very hot racing all night. Woody Kyle Racing / Fredericktown Yamaha / Kings Kustoms backed Sammy Halbert blasted around early leader Joe Kopp (American AGIP / Latus Harley-Davidson / Moto Concepts) on lap eight and pulled to over a two second lead by the end of the 25 lap National.
"I just found my line on the track and was able to get out to a good lead," said Halbert. "I looked back late in the race and had a good lead. I yelled a few times in my helmet, I was pretty sure I had it won. It's really special to be the first winner at this new facility."
Kopp had gotten the hole shot and was settling into a lead over Bettencourt Honda's Kenny Coolbeth when Halbert came knocking on Coolbeth's door on lap three. Halbert wasted no time in his charge to the front and by lap ten he had pretty much locked the win away.
Kopp and Coolbeth then had to fend off defending Singles National Champion, Henry Wiles (Kawasaki USA / Don's Kawasaki / Shift Racing / Jones Brothers Racing). Wiles was finally able to get by the two former Grand National Champions on lap fourteen and slide into a comfortable second.
A major war developed over the final podium spot as Kopp and Coolbeth were joined by future brothers in laws, Johnny Lewis (Scott Powersports / Pit Posse / Monster Energy) and Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing / Leo Vince / Arai / Tucker Rocky).
Johnson came out on top of there and Woddy Kyle Racing / Fredericktown Yamaha / Kings Kustom's Jethro Halbert made a last lap pass of Kopp for fourth.
Earlier in the night Johnny Lewis had captured the four lap Expert Dash and the all important five bonus points that go with the $1,000 check. Kopp, Sammy Halbert, Wiles, Coolbeth and Matt Weidman (Mack Daddy Racing / Matt's Racing) were right behind.
The sixteen lap Pro Singles National got off to a rough start when Alpinestars / Arai / Oakley / Team 95 backed JD Beach hit the ground on the first lap in turn three. Beach also gathered up defending class Champion, Brad Baker (Brothers Power Sports / Mike Velasco / Micah Racing) and several others.
The restart saw ,s James Rispoli off first but, Van`s Yamaha / Yamaha Motor Co / GYTR / Carver`s BBQ's Jeffery Carver sliced his way into the lead on lap four and was never headed. Rispoli pressured in second while Stephen Vanderkuur grabbed the last podium position. Mikey Avila made his Pro debut a success with a fourth place finish.
Brad Baker worked his way all the way from dead last on lap one to fifth at the checkered flag, over fast qualifier Mike Poe and JD Beach.
added money to the nights program for a Pro Singles Dash and JD Beach came away
with the cash.
GNC SINGLES: 1. Sammy Halbert (Yam); 2. Henry Wiles (Kaw); 3. Jake Johnson (Hon); 4. Jethro Halbert (Yam); 5. Joe Kopp (Hon); 6. Johnny Lewis (Hon); 7. Kenny Coolbeth (Hon); 8. Matt Weidman (Hon); 9. Raun Wood (Hon); 10. Jared Mees (Hon); 11. Don Mullen (Hon); 12. Chris Carr (Hon); 13. JR Schnabel (Yam); 14. Bryan Smith (Kaw); 15. Brandan Bergen (Hon); 16. AJ Eslick (Hon); 17. Luke Gough (Hon).
PRO SINGLES: 1. Jeffery Carver (Yam); 2. James Rispoli (Hon); 3. Stephen Vanderkuur (Hon); 4. Mikey Avila (Hon); 5. Brad Baker (Hon); 6. Mike Poe (Kaw); 7. JD Beach (Hon); 8. Kenny Malaguarnero (Hon); 9. Gerit Callies (Hon); 10. Mikey Martin (Hon); 11. Jake Shoemaker (Suz); 12. John Long (Suz); 13. Chad Kenyon (Kaw); 14. Adam Cobb (Yam); 15. Dalton Winkler (Yam); 16. Rob McClendon (KTM); 17. William Cato (Hon); 18. Cory Strickler (Yam).