Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Kenny Coolbeth placed eighth in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship race on the Santa Rosa Mile at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. The race was won by South East Harley-Davidson rider Sammy Halbert on a Harley-Davidson® XR750 motorcycle.
Halbert was the fastest qualifier for the 25-lap main, but it was Crosley Radio Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith who took the lead on the opening lap and appeared headed for a run-away victory after stretching his advantage to 4.9-seconds over Halbert on lap 14. But a few laps later, Smith began to falter as track conditions changed, and Halbert and Rogers Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees reeled him in. Halbert passed for the lead on lap 20, and Mees got by Smith on lap 21. Mees and Halbert battled in the closing laps, with Halbert finally winning by 0.874 seconds. Smith held off Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer`s Harley-Davison rider Jake Johnson to salvage a third-place spot on the podium, 3.726 seconds behind Halbert. Eaken Racing rider Robert Pearson was fifth on a Harley-Davidson. Coolbeth opened the race in 12th place, and moved up to eighth on lap 16.
“I spun out on the start and ended up way back on the first lap,” said Coolbeth. “The track was a little rough and very dusty, so we could hardly see on the straights, and it was really tough to pass. This was not a typical mile track.”
Halbert also won the four-lap Dash for Cash sprint bonus race.
After 14 of 16 AMA Grand National events, Mees leads the series with 262 points. Halbert moves past Johnson into second place with 248 points. Johnson is third with 246 points, followed by Smith with 193 points. Coolbeth is in eighth place with 124 points.
The Grand National Twins will next race on October 6 on the Tucson International Raceway half-mile in Tucson, Arizona.