Zanotti Racing’s Kenny Coolbeth Jr. grabbed his second AMA Pro Flat Track win of the 2014 season at the Knoxville Half-Mile, beating Ramspur Winery’s Jake Johnson by over three seconds at the line. South East H-D’s Sammy Halbert rounded out the podium. Coolbeth’s victory marks the 31st race win of his career.
After a disappointing start to the season at Daytona, Coolbeth has been a dominant presence on the oval, finishing in either the number one or two spots. The Connecticut native attributes his success this year to his new team, which he joined following the conclusion of the 2013 season.
"What can I say? You give me the kind of equipment that Zanotti Racing provides me with and this is what happens," said Coolbeth. "I'm just having fun out there. That's all it takes for me to go fast, is to simply have fun. I have great people to work with and I look forward to weekends now."
Coolbeth finished fastest in his heat and took an early lead in the main event, where he’d remain for all 25 laps of the race. Johnson, however, slipped back in the pack off the start and had to battle up the ranks during the initial laps. Nearing the half-way point Johnson had reeled in Halbert, then running in second-place, and was able to make the pass for the runner-up spot. Johnson stretched a slight gap through the remaining rotations, finishing over two seconds ahead of Halbert at the checkers.
Halbert then faced heavy pressure from Rogers Racing’s Jared Mees, and the two were locked in battle until the final lap. Mees took a line just before the finish that allowed Halbert to slip ahead, and from there the Washington-based rider pinned the throttle to claim the final step on the rostrum.
Mees finished fourth ahead of Coolbeth’s teammate, Stevie Bonsey, in fifth. Defending GNC title-holder Brad Baker of Harley-Davidson Motor Company took sixth followed by Crosey Radio’s Bryan Smith in seventh.
Coolbeth retains the overall championship points lead, stretching his advantage to eight over second-place rider, Johnson. Halbert sits third with Mees in fourth and USC Kawasaki’s Brandon Robinson in fifth.
AMA Pro Flat Track Expert Twins Knoxville Half-Mile Results 2014
1. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (Harley-Davidson)
2. Jake Johnson (Harley-Davidson)
3. Sammy Halbert (Harley-Davidson)
4. Jared Mees (Harley-Davidson)
5. Stevie Bonsey (Harley-Davidson)
6. Brad Baker (Harley-Davidson)
7. Bryan Smith (Kawasaki)
8. Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
9. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
10. Robert Pearson (Kawasaki)
11. Mikey Martin (Triumph)
12. Danny Koelsch (Harley-Davidson)
13. Jeremy Higgins (Kawasaki)
14. Wyatt Maguire (Suzuki)
15. Doug Lawrence (Harley-Davidson)
16. Shayna Texter (Triumph)
17. Jake Shoemaker (Kawasaki)
18. Briar Bauman (Kawasaki)
Hot Rod Harley-Davidson’s Kyle Johnson scored his first Pro Singles win of the season in Knoxville. K.C. Cycle Helmet World’s Kolby Carlile finished in second followed by Tj Burnett Farms’ Davis Fisher in third.
Johnson took the checkers by a commanding 6.2-second margin, gaining the lead early in the race after an initial drop in the ranks. The Honda rider’s win marks only the second professional race win of his career.
"Oh man, the bike was feeling really great," said Johnson. "I actually didn't get off to the best start, I found myself behind a little bit at the beginning of the race but I was able to work my way up to the front. It was really nice to know I had some breathing room and didn't have to ride as hard as I could on the final laps."
Carlile, Fisher and fourth-place finisher Dylan Morin of Kawasaki of Simi Valley were neck-and-neck when they crossed the line, with Carlile earning the runner-up spot by a mere four-hundredths of a second. Morin trailed Fisher in fourth followed by KTM’s Ryan Wells in fifth.
Wells’s performance was enough to move him to the top of the Pro Singles points tally, edging past Wilhelm Racing’s Brandon Wilhelm. Fisher sits third followed by RLJ Racing’s Justin Jones in fourth and Johnson in fifth.
AMA Pro Flat Track Pro Singles Knoxville Half-Mile Results 2014
1. Kyle Johnson (Honda)
2. Kolby Carlile (KTM)
3. Davis Fisher (Honda)
4. Dylan Morin (KTM)
5. Ryan Wells (KTM)
6. Bronson Bauman (Honda)
7. Jarod Vanderkooi (Kawasaki)
8. Molly Terry (Honda)
9. Wyatt Anderson (Suzuki)
10. Brandon Wilhelm (Honda)
11. Ryan Foster (Honda)
12. Justin Jones (Honda)
13. Mikeal Strable (Honda)
14. Auston Helmholz (Honda)
15. Andrew Butler (Honda)
16. Dylan Bell (Honda)
17. Dan Bromley (KTM)
18. Justin Minnaert (Kawasaki)