AMA Pro Flat Track Heads to Heat Things Up at Tucson International Raceway
NEWS October 4, 2012
Photo by Dave Hoenig
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 4, 2012) - With the 2012 racing season coming to a close, the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com and Lucas Oil moves to the Tucson International Raceway for the penultimate round on October 6.
Grand National motorcycle racing has visited the high banked, 3/8 mile oval once before in 2007, when there were back to back races (Singles and Twins). The picturesque Arizona oval produced great racing then and with the 2012 AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship and the 2012 Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles Championship on the line the action should be every bit as fierce.
In the Grand National class Jared Mees (Rogers Racing / Blue Springs Harley-Davidson) has paired consistency with his three wins to hold a slight advantage going into the final two races.
“We have a 14 point lead,” said Mees. “Tucson is definitely my type of race track. I’m looking forward to that. I feel clay half miles are my strong point.” Mees finish with two fourths at Tucson in 2007.
Following the posting of his fourth win of the year, Sammy Halbert has moved into second in the points chase and also has a Tucson history. “It is awesome to get 4 wins. Hopefully we can get some more,” said Halbert.. “I really need to go to the next couple and keep winning. Jake and Jared are probably going to be on the podium and I need to be in front of them.
“I rode Tucson before. I had a lot of fun on that track,” added Halbert. “It was back in 2007 when I was riding for Memphis Shades. I did rather well on the Yamaha twin. I qualified like 3rd. The thing unfortunately broke and I didn’t get to put it in the show on the twin. On the single I almost won it. I took the lead briefly. I ended up having a flat tire and crashing out. I think it could be a good track for me. I do well on the banked tracks and it’s got some high banks. It’s slippery red clay so it’s going to be a big challenge. Jake and Jared are really strong on that kind of stuff also.”
After a fourth place finish in the last race, defending Grand National Champion Jake Johnson (Zanotti Racing / Schaeffer’s Harley-Davidson) is still looking for that elusive first win of the year. “We lost a few points, I think we are down to like 16 points. We’ve got our work cut out,” said Johnson. ‘I think leaving Brainerd last year with 2 races to go, I was down 18 points. We’re going to need a little bit of luck, but we’re still in it. It’s been a little while since I rode Tucson. I’m getting a little older and my memory is not as good. I won the Singles race at Tucson. I remember it being a track that will suit my style somewhat. Something like a Hagerstown, somewhat smaller half mile. I’m looking forward to it.” Johnson finished seventh in the “Twins” race on the 1000cc Suzuki.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles
The tight Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles points race opened up a little after a dominating performance from Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing) at the Santa Rosa mile.
Vanderkuur is leading by just 11 points over Jake Shoemaker (Montgomeryville Cycle Center) who finished fourth at Santa Rosa. Jason Isennock (Highs Dairy Stores) had mechanical problems in turn one of the main and finished last, dropping him to 24 points back of Vanderkuur.
Dominic Colindres (Weirbach Racing) and Ryan Wells (5 Star Fabricating) are tied for fourth place and still mathematically in the hunt, but 43 points off the lead.
The 450cc singles of the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles should fit the high banks of Tucson well and Vanderkuur, who is known as a strong cushion rider will have to adapt quickly.
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