Lancaster Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson's Jared Mees rode to victory at the immaculate Virginia Motor Speedway last night in what was the racetrack's debut in the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship.
Rain caused an hour's delay to the race, but once the action started it Harley-Davidson's Kenny Coolbeth leading the first five laps. After that, however, Mees took over and he was never headed, riding his Johnny Goad-prepared Harley to a convincing victory.
“There is absolutely no feeling like winning a Grand National dirt track race. It is just the greatest feeling there is,” said Mees.
Latus Harley-Davidson/Renton Honda’s Joe Kopp, who is still trying to shake off the effects of his Lake Odessa spill, worked his way up from a slow start to challenge Mees at the end. Kopp was never able to get close enough to make the pass though and settled for a hard-earned second.
Defending Grand National Champion Chris Carr got a great start, but was unable to keep his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford-backed Harley in the hunt. A very un-Carr like performance saw the points leader slide deep into the pack as one after another rider stormed around him.
A slow start had the Screamin’ Eagle Moroney’s Harley-Davidson-backed Bryan Smith buried in 10th place, but Smith has become Mr. Consistent and clawed his way back into contention. The last half of the race he was locked into a fierce battle with Coziahr Harley-Davidson/National Cycle’s Johnny Murphree and their battle carried them past Coolbeth. The pair traded third several times before Smith locked up the final podium spot.
Another local rider, SuperTrap/Doc’ Harley-Davidson’s Mike Hacker was also moving forward and he passed Coolbeth on the last lap for fifth.
After six rounds of the 13-race series, Smith and Carr are tied with 70 points, holding a five-point lead over Kenny Coolbeth. Rich King is another five back with Mees just one behind King.