Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Kenny Coolbeth finished fifth in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship on the Lucas Oil Indy Mile at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The race was won by South East Harley-Davidson rider Sammy Halbert, riding a Harley-Davidson® XR750 motorcycle.
The Indy Mile race marked a return to action for Coolbeth, who was injured on June 30 in a race at Lima, Ohio. Coolbeth finished third in his heat race to qualify for the main. Coolbeth raced with the lead pack in the second half of the race before slipping back in the final laps.
“I guess I got the rust off tonight, and this was a good result for us,” said Coolbeth. “We were right up there at the end. I’ve been working to maintain my fitness while I recovered from the broken leg, but tonight was actually the first time I’ve been on a motorcycle sinceLima. The track was forgiving so this was a good way to get back into the action, but I think I’m ready to go.”
Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer`s Harley-Davison rider Jake Johnson, Crosley Radio Kawasaki rider Bryan Smith and Halbert led the first segment of the 25-lap main, with less than 0.200 seconds separating the trio. The race was stopped on lap 11 when Johnson crashed and retired for the night. On the restart a pack of six riders including Halbert, Rogers Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, Werner-Springsteen Racing Kawasaki rider Brandon Robinson, Dodge Brothers Racing rider Brad Baker, Foremost Insurance Ducati rider Henry Wiles and Coolbeth ran together, with Coolbeth running as high as fifth and within 0.245 seconds of the leader. Smith’s motorcycle expired on the restart and he was out. Robinson led laps 14 to 22 before giving way to Halbert, who held on to win by just 0.026 seconds over Robinson. Mees was third, 0.194 seconds behind Halbert. Wiles was fourth, followed by Coolbeth and Baker. With his first AMA Pro Mile win, Halbert has now completed the cycle of wins on Mile, Short-Track, TT, and Half-Mile courses.
Earlier in the evening, Smith won the four-lap Dash for Cash sprint bonus race.
After 10 of 16 AMA Grand National events, Mees leads the series with 201 points. Halbert moves up to second place with 180 points, followed by Johnson with 173 points, Smith with 122, and Wiles with 115. Coolbeth, who missed four races while injured, is in 10th place with 71 points.
The Grand National Twins will next race on September 2 on the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.