Ford Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Racing’s Chris Carr banked his fifth consecutive and seventh career AMA Grand National Championship title by cashing in with his 71st career victory at the Springfield Mile on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, today.
Although he only officially led two laps, the 38-year-old Carr was fast when he needed to be on a lightning-quick Springfield Mile racetrack that saw riders produce lap times in the high 33-second and low-34-second bracket all day. The IMDA-prepared racetrack was partially responsible for the non-typical way in which this 25-lap Springfield Mile developed.
Memorial Day Springfield Mile winner Rich King launched his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson to the head of the 18-rider pack at the start of the main event, with Carr, Ford teammate Willie McCoy, Latus Motors Harley-Davidson/Jones Powersports’ Joe Kopp, Bartels’ Harley-Davidson/TNT Harley.com’s Shaun Russell and Mid-America Harley-Davidson/Jones Powersports’ Kenny Coolbeth all giving chase at the front of the draft. Motivated to keep himself in the championship title hunt, Coolbeth drafted his way into the lead by turn three and then attempted to break away. He would lead the first nine laps of the race, putting nearly half a straightaway on his pursuers by lap five, but eventually King and the rest reeled him in.
Then, just when it appeared as though the pack had caught Coolbeth, his championship hopes were derailed when his Harley-Davidson XR750 threw its chain coming off turn four. Coolbeth was out of the race, all but handing Carr the championship right there.
Not content to win merely by default, Carr continued to swap the lead with King, Russell, McCoy and Kopp, and a drafting war - the kind that the Springfield Mile is famous for - ensued. As has been his custom during his several Springfield Mile wins, King led Russell, Carr, Kopp and McCoy off turn four, but the Iowan gassed his factory-backed XR just a little too much and spun the rear tire, forcing him to drop toward the inside edge of the groove on the final run to the stripe. Russell wrongly chose to follow King and was forced to check up. That allowed Carr to take full advantage of the faster, broader outside edge of the line, which gave him the drive to pull off the win by half a bike length. Russell also slipped past King for second. Kopp was fourth, and McCoy was fifth.
The win clinched Carr’s seventh title, as Coolbeth’s DNF not only mathematically him but also dropped him into a points deadlock with Kopp, the outcome of which will be decided at the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship series finale Du Quoin Mile on the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds in Illinois, on October 1.
Here are the results and points standings from today’s Springfield Mile:
Illinois State Fairgrounds
Results: September 4, 2005 (Round 14 of 15)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Chris Carr (H-D); 2. Shaun Russell (H-D); 3. Rich King (H-D); 4. Joe Kopp (H-D); 5. Willie McCoy (H-D); 6. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 7. Kevin Varnes (Suz); 8. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 9. Raun Wood (H-D); 10. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 11. Steve Beattie (H-D); 12. Tim Eades (H-D); 13. Bryan Smith (H-D); 14. Jared Mees (H-D); 15. Jess Roeder (H-D); 16. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 17. Terry Poovey (H-D); 18. Scott Stump (Apr).
Time: 14 min., 23.451 sec.
Margin of victory: .841 sec.
AMA FORD QUALITY CHECKED CERTIFIED FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 14 of 15 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (230/3 wins); (TIE) Kenny Coolbeth (191/2 wins)/Joe Kopp (191/2 wins); 4. Jared Mees (167/2 wins); 5. Bryan Smith (141); 6. Rich King (135/1 win); 7. Shaun Russell (133); 8. Johnny Murphree (126); 9. (TIE) JR Schnabel (115/2 wins)/Jake Johnson (115/1 win); 11. Henry Wiles (107/1 win); 12. Bryan Bigelow (102); 13. Willie McCoy (100); 14. Kevin Varnes (89); 15. Nick Cummings (68); 16. Jay Springsteen (52); 17. Geo Roeder II (45); 18. (TIE) Raun Wood (39)/Tim Eades (39); 20. Paul Lynch (31).
Round 15: Du Quoin, Illinois, October 1