Willie McCoy celebrating a close win at the Springfield Mile.
AMA Pro Flat Track fans got their money’s worth and then some this weekend as five riders entered the final lap of the Springfield Mile with a chance at the checkers. In the end, it was Willie McCoy who picked the fastest line to win Round 4 of the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com
and Lucas Oil, his second consecutive victory at the Springfield Mile. The 42-year-old Harley-Davidson of Wausau rider once again defied Father Time in registering the victory in the first GNC Expert Twin race of the season, edging out Zanotti Racing’s Jake Johnson at the line with Howerton Motorsports’ Bryan Smith rounding out the podium in third.
"This is our 'Indy 500,' it's the race to win," said McCoy. "After I won it last year, I thought about retiring, but then I thought maybe I could just win it again. I just rode as hard I could around the outside and was able to pull it off again."
The Texas native beat out Johnson by seventeen-hundredths of a second at the checkers, with Smith coming across only fifteen-hundredths behind the Zanotti rider in third. Rogers Racing’s Jared Mees and Scott Powersports’ Johnny Lewis, finishing fourth and fifth respectively, made up the tight five rider pack that had the top spot in their sights. It was Smith who led for the majority of the contest, heading the pack for 15 total laps.
"A rookie mistake I guess," said the Kawasaki rider. "I tried to go to the bottom off four on that last lap and it just didn't work." This mistake gave McCoy the opening he needed to pass Smith and the other riders and hold the lead to the end.
Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. took sixth, just over a second behind Lewis at the finish line. Coolbeth was poised to take a podium finish until the final lap, when the tightly packed group of riders bottled up behind Smith and caused the Harley-Davidson rider to slip back.
“Coming out of Turn Four to start the last lap, Smith was weaving around, and the whole pack checked up,” said Coolbeth. “I ran into Lewis’s pipes and almost high-sided. Luckily I didn’t crash and we finished healthy.”
After the first Expert Twin round, McCoy sits first overall in points with Johnson and Smith in second and third respectively. McCoy hadn’t raced in any of the opening GNC rounds but moved to 13th in overall points with his Springfield Mile win. Johnson is fourth in combined points while Smith currently sits seventh.
It was another action-packed scramble to the finish in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com Pro Singles race as Jake Cunningham of Arai Helmets took the first position by a hair’s breadth over Honda rider Zakk Palmer. Shayna Texter rode her Honda CRF450R across the finish line only two-thousandths of a second behind Palmer in the tightly contested affair. She was followed by Stephen Vanderkuur of Performance Cycle in fourth and Jake Shoemaker of Montgomeryville Cycle in fifth. It was a photo finish, with all top five riders crossing the checkers within 0.015 of the winning time.
Cunningham’s win puts him only five points shy of Pro Singles points leader Gerit Callies. The Springfield Mile marked Palmer’s first race of the season where he currently holds 16th place, while Texter’s podium finish situates her eighth overall in the Pro Singles class.
2012 GNC Springfield Mile Expert Twins Results:
1. Willie McCoy (Harley-Davidson)
2. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
3. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
4. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
5. Johnny Lewis (Kawasaki)
6. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
7. Jethro Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
8. Shawn Baer (Kawasaki)
9. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
10. Steven Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
11. Daniel Ingram (Harley-Davidson)
12. Michael Avila (Harley-Davidson)
13. Luke Gough (Kawasaki)
14. Henry Wiles (Ducati)
15. Matt Weidman (Harley-Davidson)
2012 GNC Expert Twin Points:
1. Willie McCoy, 25
2. Jake Johnson, 23
3. Bryan Smith, 22
4. Jared Mees, 18
5. Johnny Lewis, 14
6. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., 14
7. Jethro Halbert, 12
8. Shawn Baer, 11
9. Jeffrey Carver Jr., 10
10. Steven Bonsey, 9
2012 GNC Springfield Mile Pro Singles Results:
1. Jake Cunningham (Yamaha)
2. Zakk Palmer (Honda)
3. Shayna Texter (Honda)
4. Stephen Vanderkuur (Honda)
5. Jake Shoemaker (Honda)
6. Michael Bickerton (Honda)
7. Coy Matthews (Honda)
8. John Long III (Suzuki)
9. Eric Stump (Honda)
10. Ryan Wells (Honda)
11. Wyatt Maguire (Yamaha)
12. James Monaco (Honda
13. Adam Bushman (Honda)
14. Chaz Springsteen (Honda)
15. Ryan Foster (Honda)
2012 GNC Pro Singles Points:
1. Gerit Callies, 48
2. Jake Cunningham, 43
3. Ryan Wells, 38
4. Hayden Gillim, 35
5. Jason Isennock, 34
6. Hunter Taylor, 33
7. Jake Shoemaker, 33
8. Shayna Texter, 31
9. Eric Stump, 29
10. James Monaco, 27