Sammy the Undefeated: Halbert Rules at Daytona Flat Track, Round 2
NEWS March 12, 2011
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (March 12, 2011) – Sammy Halbert has achieved the rare Daytona Double, dominating Round 2 of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship.
A near-capacity crowd jammed Daytona International Speedway’s Daytona Flat Track to witness the shear determination of the Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha-backed Halbert. Halbert overcame a slow start in the 25-lap National to take the lead on lap four and eventually pulled out a more than five-second lead.
“That’s just the way we have to run, flat out and hope for the best," said Halbert. "I didn’t get that great of a start, but I was able to get to the front pretty quick. Then I just had to stay consistent.”
Just as in last night's race, defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson pulled the holeshot and led the eighteen-rider field into Turn 1. But by lap two it was rookie powerhouse Brad Baker pushing his Silkolene/EBC Brakes-backed Honda into the lead. As Halbert slipped away, Baker was left to defend his position from the hard-charging Johnson and his Zanotti Racing/Shaeffer’s Harley-Davidson-backed Honda.
With Baker and Johnson locked in their own battle, Scott Powersports/Triple J Racing’s Johnny Lewis and Chaplin Kawasaki/Spectro Oils’ Kenny Coolbeth were closing in. On lap eighteen, Lewis split the Baker-Johnson war and two laps later he was in second.
Lewis’ late race charge mirrored his Round 1 performance from last night, as he equaled his best Grand National result.
Johnson came back, nipping at Baker, but fell just short of repeating Thursday’s podium. Despite all the variables contributing to the tricky quarter-mile, amazingly, the top four riders on both nights were the same, with only Baker and Johnson swapping positions.
Coolbeth brought his new Kawasaki home fifth over Matt’s Racing/SNIP’s Matt Weidman. Montgomeryville Cycle Center/Lucas Oils’s Jared Mees was a lonely seventh, with MEH Corp/Arlen Ness-backed Chad Cose holding off defending GNC Singles Champion Henry Wiles (Monster Energy Kawasaki/Don’s Kawasaki) for eighth. The 2010 Pro Singles Champion, Jeffery Carver, piloted his Van’s Yamaha/Woody Kyle Racing-backed Yamaha to a tenth-place finish in his first Grand National main event.
The Cometic Gasket Expert Dash was a preview of the main as Halbert stayed perfect for 2011. Baker kept it close with a second, and "Farewell Touring" Chris Carr (Chris Carr Racing/DFW Honda) made his last appearance in Daytona a good one with a solid third-place finish.
By winning all the points-paying races this week, Halbert has streaked to an unheard of 16- point lead only two races into the 2011 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship. Lewis holds second, with Brad Baker and Johnson close behind.
The Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles belonged to Full throttle/Gillespie Small Engine.com’s Gerit Callies, as he and Mikey Avila exchanged places on the podium. TLC Racing/Gene’s Honda’s Joseph Ratz earned his first podium, holding off Markertek.com/Olive Builders’ Jake Quick in a great race for third.
By virtue of their 1-2 finishes, Callies and Avila are tied for the lead in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles points race. They have a 14-point lead over Jake Constantine, who had two fifth-place finishes for the week.
With the April 16 DuQuoin Short Track next in line, it’s obvious all of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship contenders are going to have to do their homework to catch the high-flying Sammy Halbert.