Harley-Davidson® Screamin’ Eagle® Factory Team rider Kenny Coolbeth finished in 11th place in the AMA Pro Harley-Davidson Insurance Grand National Championship race on the Tucson International Raceway half-mile. Goodwin Racing Harley-Davidson rider Steven Bonsey led every lap to score the second Grand National victory of his career. Crosley Radio rider Bryan Smith edged South East Harley-Davidson rider Sammy Halbert in a close race for second and third place, as Harley-Davidson riders filled the podium.
The series points leader, Rogers Racing/Blue Springs Harley-Davidson rider Jared Mees, finished fourth and allowed Halbert, who lies second in points, to inch two points closer in the standings. With one race left on the season schedule, Mees holds a 12-point lead over Halbert.
Bonsey was the rider to beat all evening in Tucson. The 22-year-old Californian was the fastest qualifier and also won the four-lap Dash for Cash bonus sprint. In the 25-lap main, Bonsey took the lead on the first lap, had opened a gap of about 1.5 seconds on Smith by mid-race, and was never threatened. Smith ran alone in second place until the closing laps of the race, when Halbert suddenly appeared on his rear wheel and made an attempt to pass on the final straight. Smith beat Halbert to the finish line by 0.031 seconds. Mees finished 3.48 seconds behind Bonsey. Dodge Brothers/Perry’s Harley-Davidson rider Brad Baker was fifth. Zanotti Racing/Schaeffer`s Harley-Davison rider Jake Johnson finished sixth.
“We really struggled all night, trying to find a combination I was comfortable with,” said Coolbeth, who ran as high as sixth place in the main. “The track was really wet and rough but for my heat race we found a pretty good set-up, and I ran third and was looking forward to the main. I moved up a little early and thought the track would come to me, but late in the race I was off my pace, and we lost three positions in the last laps. It’s been an up and down season for us, but I think we can close out on a high note at Pomona, a track we are familiar with.”
Heading into the final race of the 2012 AMA Grand National season, Mees leads the series with 280 points. Halbert is second with 268 points. Johnson is third with 260 points, followed by Smith with 212 points. Coolbeth is in eighth place with 132 points.
The Grand National Twins close out the season on October 13 with the Law Tigers AMA Pro Flat Track Finals, presented locally by Harley-Davidson of Pomona Valley and Glendale Harley-Davidson, on the Los Angeles County Fairplex half-mile in Pomona, Calif.