On the first restart Joe Kopp got off to a good start and held off Jake Johnson for the GNC victory.
Round 8 of the Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com made a stop at the I-96 Speedway half mile this weekend with Harley-Davidson / Lloyd Brothers Motorsport’s Joe Kopp taking top honors. Despite two restarts – the first caused by oil on the track and the second because of Bryan Smith’s accident – Kopp and his #3 Harley-Davidson took first ahead of Jake Johnson and Kenny Coolbeth Jr.
Capturing the holeshot before the first restart was Johnson, who was leading when the contest was red-flagged just two laps in. In his second start Johnson was unable to earn the holeshot as Kopp got off to a quick lead and began pulling away.
“I knew I had to get out front and not make any mistakes,” said Kopp. “I was the veteran, I should be able to keep the ‘kids’ behind me.”
As Kopp created more distance between himself and the rest of the pack, Coolbeth and Johnson began battling it out for second. Unfortunately, a second red flag was issued at this time and riders were once again forced into another start.
The single file restart placed Johnson directly behind Kopp. Heading into Turn 1, Johnson attempted a pass from the inside of Kopp, but couldn’t seal the deal. Coolbeth also attempted to make a charge on Johnson for second, but he didn’t succeed either.
“There was just one fast racing groove, so it was all about the start,” said Coolbeth. “I made a mistake in choosing to start from the inside for the main. They had watered the track for all of my heats and it was nice and sticky, but they didn’t water for the main and the track got dry and slick. Kopp and Johnson started up the track and had better traction. Jake and I were faster than Kopp all night, but he got the good start and stayed in defensive mode, which is what he had to do. We are down in points but I’m not giving up. This was a good night for the Harley-Davidson team, and gives us some fresh momentum.”
In the final laps of the race Rogers Lake Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees made a pass on Harley-Davidson/DFW Honda‘s Chris Carr for fifth, and from then on the positions were set.
Jake Johnson (#5) originally had the holeshot and the lead, but a red flag gave Kopp (#3) the chance to take the lead.
Kopp crossed the line first with Johnson and Coolbeth claiming the second and third podium spots. King’s Kustom’s Sammy Halbert came in fourth after nearly being consumed by a four-way battle for his position near the end, and Mees was fifth after he made a successful pass on Carr. Scott Powersport’s Johnny Lewis secured Kawasaki’s best finish in seventh after he was tripped up on oil before the first restart. Rounding out the top-10 finishers were White’s Harley-Davidson’s Matt Weidman, KK Motorcycle Supply’s Henry Wiles and King’s Kustom’s Jethro Halbert.
Adding special flare to Round 8 was AMA Pro Racing’s new program being implemented at three rounds in the 2010 schedule. Under the new program, the top-10 riders from last year’s Pro Singles class had the option of racing in the Expert class if they could secure a Twins ride for the contest. At Lake Odessa four Pro Singles riders took advantage of the new program, with Jeff Carver, James Rispoli, Shayna Texter and Brad Baker all participating.
In an impressive performance Baker won the Expert Twins Semi. Afterwards, Baker went on to take second in the Pro Singles main behind GYTR’s Jeffrey Carver, and then finally put in 25 laps in the GNC Twins main to take 13th.
2010 AMA Flat Track GNC Twins Lake Odessa Half Mile Results:
1. Joe Kopp (Harley-Davidson)
2. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
3. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
4. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
5. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
6. Chris Carr (Harley-Davidson)
7. Johnny Lewis (Kawasaki)
8. Matt Weidman (Harley-Davidson)
9. Henry Wiles (Harley-Davidson)
10. Jethro Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
11. Brandon Robinson (Harley-Davidson)
12. Michael Kirkness (Harley-Davidson)
13. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
14. Luke Gough (Harley-Davidson)
15. Doug Lawrence (Harley-Davidson)
2010 AMA Flat Track Grand National Championship Points:
1. Joe Kopp, 154
2. Jake Johnson, 141
3. Henry Wiles, 139
4. Sammy Halbert, 135
5. Jared Mees, 129
6. Kenny Coolbeth Jr., 119
7. Chris Carr, 76
8. Bryan Smith, 74
9. Johnny Lewis, 65
10. Jethro Halbert, 55
In the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles main Yamaha’s Jeffrey Carver took the victory over Honda’s Brad Baker and ANT Racing’s Rispoli. The event was stopped early on Lap 11 when TLC Racing’s Zakk Palmer fell heading into Turn 4. Rounding out the top-five finishers were Michael Martin and Michael LaBelle, taking fourth and fifth respectively.
2010 AMA Flat Track Pro Singles Lake Odessa Half Mile Results:
1. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Yamaha)
Yamaha’s Jeffrey Carver (center) secured the victory in the Pro Singles main ahead of James Rispoli (left) and Brad Baker (right).
2. Brad Baker (Honda)
3. James Rispoli (Honda)
4. Michael Martin (Honda)
5. Michael LaBelle (Honda)
6. Jeremy Hamilton (Honda)
7. Michael Avila (Honda)
8. Gerit Callies (Honda)
9. Brandon Laursen (Honda)
10. Kyle Whitis (Honda)
2010 AMA Flat Track Pro Singles Championship Points:
1. Jeffrey Carver Jr., 153
2. Brad Baker, 125
3. James Rispoli, 115
4. Michael Avila, 88
5. J. D. Beach, 72
The K&N Filters Grand National Championship will next be moving west for Round 9 at Calistoga, Ca on July 31st.