AMA Pro Knoxville Half-Mile Rocked by .0004 Win Margin
NEWS September 11, 2011
Photo by Dave Hoenig
KNOXVILLE, IA (September 11, 2011) - The much-anticipated return to Iowa’s Knoxville Raceway was entirely worth the wait, resulting in an AMA Pro Racing Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship main event that was decided by a stunning, virtually unheard-of win margin of .0004 of a second. Following a finish so close that transponders originally displayed a .000 dead heat, official timing software was required to bring up an additional decimal point. In the end, just four ten-thousandths of a second separated winner Jared Mees (Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson) from Zanotti Racing’s Jake Johnson.
“I saw Jake spin up off the last turn, and I just went high,” said Mees, referencing a slight bobble Johnson exhibited after leading out of the final corner. “I realized I could win this and just ran it as hard as I could around the outside, and it worked.”
“I was trying to guard the inside, and I did,” said Johnson, “but he came around on the outside. It was close; I [wasn’t] sure he beat me.” The race’s final results were ratified after confirming them with Timing and Scoring’s back-up decoder.
Johnson and Mees were waging a private battle for the win in the race’s closing laps, with Sammy Halbert (Kings Kustoms/White’s Harley-Davidson) holding third. Far from in the clear, however, Halbert was being hunted by a fast-closing Luke Gough (Digger 57/Dick Ford/KK Motorcycle Supply) when Eddie Adkins Racing’s Jeff Carver hit the ground in Turn 2, bringing out the red flag. While Mees and Johnson picked up where they left off for the remaining eight-lap sprint to the finish, a mechanical problem ended the young Australian Gough’s dream night. Halbert was left to cruise safely home in third.
The closest finish of the year has tightened the points race yet further and resulted in a significant shift in dynamics: For the first time in 2011, Halbert -- who clinched the 2011 Expert Singles Championship at Round 15 -- has been forced to surrender his lead in the combined Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship. Mees has taken control with a four-point advantage over Halbert, while Johnson lurks just five points behind Halbert in third. In a nod to the skills of the championship’s top three, the lead trio commanded not only the main-event podium, but the earlier Dash for Cash top tiers as well.
Fasthog.com’s Bryan Smith rebounded from a disappointing Labor Day weekend with a solid fourth-place finish. Universal City Kawasaki Motorsport’s JD Beach returned from his road race adventures to earn fifth at Knoxville, his best outing yet on the potent Kawasaki.
The evening’s earlier Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles main event had the crowd on their feet throughout the sixteen-lap race, which 2011 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport road race champion James Rispoli (ANT Racing/STAR School/NationalGuard.com/ RLJ) got started by grabbing the holeshot. Upstart series rookie Brian Bauman (Rod Lake Racing/Brown’s Cycles) wrested it away from Rispoli on Lap 2, however, kicking off a two-way battle for the lead.
While Bauman and Rispoli fought for the point, RLT Racing/Lancaster Harley-Davidson’s Shayna Texter had the crowd buzzing with her charge up from a slow start. Texter caught the lead pair and powered her way into the frontrunner’s position on Lap 7, but Bauman wasn’t prepared to let it go.
Texter and Bauman exchanged the lead several times as they raced off to a small advantage, but in the end it was Texter who would not be denied, taking victory by .357 of a second. Rispoli dropped from third to sixth on the last lap, handing the final podium spot to Woody Kyle Racing‘s Michael Toon. Series points-leader Mikey Martin (Weirbach Racing) earned fourth, followed across the line by Foard Racing’s Jason Isennock.
With only three races remaining on the 2011 calendar, Martin now holds a 21-point lead over Gerit Callies. Mikey Avila trails Callies by four additional points.
The AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship next heads to Brainerd, Minnesota’s, North Central Speedway for the Round 18 Brainerd Half-Mile. For tickets and information, visit www.racencs.net or call 218-828-1545. To learn more and to be a part of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Flat Track Championship, visit www.amaproracing.com and join us on facebook.com/AMAProFlatTrackSeries and twitter.com/AMAProFlatTrack.
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