KNOXVILLE, Iowa (Sept. 10, 2011) - Jake Johnson topped timed qualifying Saturday afternoon in the AMA Grand National at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway Half-Mile. Johnson clocked a 21.717, averaging 82.884 mph, on his Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson on the black clay track.
It is Johnson's first time racing at Knoxville. In fact the only current rider known to have raced the two nationals held here in the mid-1990s is Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Kevin Varnes won this race in 1995 and Scott Parker in '96. The race was rained out last year, but sunny skies have greeted the fans at this year's event.
"The track was a little greasy in the first session, but came to us in the second session," said Johnson, who is one of three riders, along with Sammy Halbert and Jared Mees, who are battling it out atop the series standings. "The track is fun. It has Half-Mile straightaways with Springfield Mile turns. You're hardly off the gas all the way around. The corners are so fast we are right on the edge of traction."
Jared Mees turned in a 21.862 and Kenny Coolbeth, the only other rider in the 21-second bracket with a 21.908.
Michael Toon, of Wichita, Kansas, topped Pro Singles timed qualifying, turning a 22.549 on his Price Truck Line/Woody Kyle Honda.
Grand National timed qualifying from Knoxville Raceway
1. Jake Johnson Harley-Davidson 21.717 secs.
2. Jared Mees Harley-Davidson 21.862
3. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Harley-Davidson 21.908
4. Jeffrey Carver Jr. Harley-Davidson 22.047
5. Luke Gough Harley-Davidson 22.058
6. Sammy Halbert Harley-Davidson 22.130
7. Nichole Cheza Harley-Davidson 22.193
8. Robert Pearson Harley-Davidson 22.210
9. Bryan Smith Harley-Davidson 22.268
10. Brandon Robinson Harley-Davidson 22.268