The 2013 AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship boils down to the results at Pomona this weekend.
The LA County Fairplex in Pomona, Calif. will play host to the athletes of AMA Pro Flat Track presented by J&P Cycles this Saturday, October 12, 2013 for the Law Tigers AMA Pro Flat Track Finals, brought to you by Pomona Valley Harley-Davidson and Harley-Davidson of Glendale. The world's top dirt track racers will throw a leg over their powerful large-displacement motorcycles and compete against one another for the 13th and final time on the professional stage this year.
Brad Baker (Dodge Bros Racing/Harley-Davidson) enters the weekend with very little margin for error atop the overall Grand National Championship point standings as he leads Flint, Mich. native Bryan Smith (Crosley Radio/Kawasaki) by just 11 markers on the leaderboard. Baker has accumulated just one win this season but his six total podiums are what have placed the 20-year-old in the driver's seat heading into the series' final weekend. The Dryad, Wash. product needs a second-place finish or better in this weekend's main event in order to clinch his first ever Grand National Championship.
Smith and Brandon Robinson (TJ Burnett Farms/Kawasaki) are the only two legitimate threats to catch Baker in the overall GNC point standings and, quite honestly, both Kawasaki pilots believe they have precisely what it takes, and for good reason. Robinson, who hails from Oxford, Pa., and Smith enter the Pomona Half-Mile with tremendous confidence after coming off stellar weekends at Springfield where they finished first and second, respectively, in both of the weekend's main events.
Henry Wiles has put together a very impressive 2013 campaign and the Winn, Mich. native enters the weekend sitting fourth in the GNC point standings. The 27-year-old has the opportunity to complete his finest season to date if he can put together another solid effort this weekend at Pomona.
Due to difficulties at the start to the 2013 season, Grand National Champion Jared Mees (Rogers Racing/Harley-Davidson) will not be able to defend his title in 2013. The Clio, Mich. product found himself in a pretty big hole early on this season after lackluster performances and injuries caused him to fall too far back in the standings to contend for another GNC title this time around. However, Mees has made up significant ground since his rough start; The 27-year-old now sits fifth in the overall standings and will look to finish strong at Pomona with hopes of carrying over some momentum into 2014.
Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson Motor/Harley-Davidson) enters the weekend sitting sixth in the overall GNC standings. The fan favorite from Morris, Conn. was last season's winner at the Pomona Half-Mile and will be looking for a repeat performance on Saturday in hopes of bettering his position in the final point standings.
An unfortunate string of injuries and setbacks have left Graham, Wash.'s Sammy Halbert (South East Harley-Davidson) unable to compete at several events this season but the 26-year-old insists he's ready for Pomona. Though Halbert currently sits 12th in the points, he typically excels on half-mile circuits and is one of the favorites for the win in the season's final race.
The Championship Hunt
Brad Baker leads the Grand National Championship points chase with 190 markers, 11 more than closest rival Bryan Smith (179) and third-place Robinson sits just another four back at 175. If Smith were to take the perfect points haul of 29 by winning the Dash for Cash, the Main and earning the bonus point for leading the most laps, Baker would need to finish in second to maintain his lead and take home the #1 plate. Even if Robinson shows the form he so brilliantly exhibited at Springfield, he'll need a little help from his rivals to put the other championship contenders out of the picture.
AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles
As close as the AMA Pro Grand National Championship chase has become over the last several weeks, the AMA Pro J&P Cycles Pro Singles have a title fight of their own that is worthy of just as much attention. Mead, Wash.'s Wyatt Maguire (Kirkland Racing/Yamaha YZ 450F) and Albion, New York's Ryan Wells (Waters Auto Body/Honda CRF450R) are separated by a mere five points in the standings (122-117) and the two have been battling it out against each other all season long.
Maguire needs to finish in second or better to capture his first ever J&P Cycles Pro Singles championship. In order for Wells to claim the title, it would require him to win the main event and for Maguire to come in at third place or worse.
Although reigning J&P Cycles Pro Singles champion and Davison, Mich. product Stephen Vanderkuur (Parkinson Brothers Racing/Honda CRF450R) doesn't look like he's going to have a shot at repeating this year, the 21-year-old has made a late run that has boosted him to third in the points heading into Pomona. Vanderkuur was the victor here a year ago and he will be looking for a repeat performance come this Saturday. It would be a long shot, but if Vandderkuur wins in California with Maguire in 15th and Wells in 10th, then he would repeat as J&P Cycles Pro Singles champion.
Fan favorite and Willow Street, Pa. product Shayna Texter (Crosley Radio/Honda CRF450R) enters the weekend sitting fourth in the standings with 98 points to her credit. Texter stands alone as the only rider in the J&P Cycles Pro Singles division with multiple wins this season and she looks to give it one final push at Pomona to add to her already impressive 2013 season.
Live Streaming on AMA Pro Live
For fans that are unable to attend the event, AMA Pro Racing will be live streaming multiple channels of in-depth and behind-the-scenes multimedia content on the AMA Pro Live streaming video website. AMA Pro Live puts fans in the director's chair, allowing them to choose from a variety of viewpoints while listening in on series PA announcers Barry Boone and Scottie Deubler. Alongside the streaming video content, AMA Pro Live features Live Timing & Scoring data and play-by-play commentary via Twitter.
Beginning at 2:30 p.m. PT (5:30 p.m. ET), fans will be able to tune in to watch live streaming of timed practice and qualifying, followed by opening ceremonies at 6:05 p.m. PT (9:05 p.m. ET). The day's racing festivities will conclude with the 16-lap J&P Pro Cycles Main Event at 9:10 p.m. PT (12:10 a.m. ET) and the 25-lap Grand National Championship Main Event at 9:40 p.m. PT (12:40 a.m. ET). As an added bonus for the fans, AMA Pro Live will continue to stream as the champions are crowned on victory podium following the races.
AMA Pro Live can be accessed from any computer, tablet or smart phone with Internet access. Log on and tune in at http://www.amaprolive.com/ft/