GROVE CITY, Ohio (Aug. 16, 2009) - Joe Kopp said he'd seen it done before, but never had the pleasure of experiencing himself. He was talking about a rider totally dominating a race from start to finish. Now Kopp can add that accomplishment to his already impressive list. On a sunny and hot afternoon at the Beulah Park Mile, Kopp stunned the fans by pulling away from the rest of the field and crossing the checkered flag 22.033 seconds ahead of second-place Bryan Smith. Sammy Halbert was a distant third.
It was the largest margin of victory in recent memory and was especially unique considering it was done on a mile, where drafting usually keeps the racing close.
"Obviously everything came together for me today," said Kopp, who led the entire 25-lap final to score his first victory of the season. "I scared myself in almost every corner and before I knew it I had a big lead."
When asked if he ever thought about backing off Kopp replied, "No, I started to look to see who I could lap. It became sort of a challenge for me."
He lapped all the way through eighth-place Jared Mees.
There was nothing I could do to hang with Joe today," said Smith, who won this race last year. "Each lap he was gapping me a little more. Once I had a major moment trying to stay with him and I knew it was his day."
Mees still leads the AMA Grand National Twins standings by five points over Kenny Coolbeth, who finished sixth.
Stephen Vanderkuur won his second AMA Pro Singles final of the season. The Davison, Michigan rider pulled away on his Pro Honda Oils/TCR/Woody Kyle Racing Honda to win by 5.614 seconds over James Rispoli. Brad Baker took third and now leads Rispoli by just three points in the series chase.
The Grand National now moves to the historic Peoria TT next Sunday.