Coziahr Harley-Davidson/National Cycle’s Johnny Murphree has been on a roller-coaster ride through the 2004 AMA Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship season, but during round 12 at State Fair Speedway in Sedalia, Missouri, today, he finally scored his first win of the year. The race had to be run today after being rained out last night.
Defending AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr got the holeshot on his Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford backed Harley-Davidson, with title contender Joe Kopp in hot pursuit aboard his KTM USA/Jones Powersports/Mid America Harley-Davidson entry. Moroney’s Cycles’ Jake Johnson and Murphree made it a four-rider battle for the lead.
Carr led for nine laps until he slipped off the groove, and Kopp and Murphree pounced. Kopp was able to hold the point for three laps. Murphree then slid inside of Kopp going into turn one. Two laps later, Carr repeated the move on Kopp and set out to reclaim the lead.
As the race started lap 20, Mike Hacker and Kevin Atherton bumped coming off turn two. The red flag came out and the race became a six-lap shootout. In a reare miscue, Carr got a bad start, his motorcycle fishtailing off the line. Murphree led Kopp, Carr and Kopp’s KTM teammate, Kenny Coolbeth, into turn one. Johnson’s solid race came apart on the restart as brake problems dropped him to the back of the field.
Carr’s problems weren’t over as Coolbeth grabbed third on lap 23. Coolbeth closed in on Kopp while Murphree motored away to the win. Kopp finished second, with Coolbeth third and Carr fourth. Carr’s points lead in the Progressive Insurance Flat Track Championship has slipped to 19, as Joe Kopp is trying to reel in the defending champion. It has become pretty much a two-rider race, as third-placed Coolbeth is now 32 points behind Kopp.
Bartels’ Harley-Davidson/Custom Chrome/TNT Action Sports’ Shaun Russell and Memphis Shades/Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties’ J.R. Schnabel both moved from a third-row start to finish fifth and sixth respectively. Gardner Racing/Walters Brothers Harley-Davidson’s Bryan Bigelow finished seventh over Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Rich King, the Iowan still riding injured as a result of his near get-off at the Peoria TT. KK Supply/Las Vegas Harley-Davidson’s Geo Roeder and Lombardi Harley-Davidson/Schott Harley-Davidson’s Chris Hart rounded out the top 10.
Speaking of Hart, the New Yorker who now calls San Jose, California, home, had earlier topped the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance National. Hart also had to survive a couple of restarts. Josh Toungett fell in turn two, causing the first red flag. The second red came out as Merle Scherb, who was leading on his Doc’s Harley-Davidson backed Sportster, fell hard coming off turn two. The leader when the race was restarted, Hart had to hold off Cape Fear Harley-Davidson/Dennis Thurlow Racing’s Robert Lewis for the win. Low Country Harley-Davidson’s William Seyle finished third but a failed post-race inspection, handing the spot to FFR/Global Products’ Scott Stump.
Hart now holds a 33 point lead over defending class champion Scott Scherb in the Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series.
State Fair Speedway
Results: August 29, 2004 (Round 12)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Johnny Muprhree (H-D); 2. Joe Kopp (H-D); 3. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 4. Chris Carr (H-D); 5. Shaun Russell (H-D); 6. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 7. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 8. Rich King (H-D); 9. Geo Roeder II (H-D); 10. Chris Hart (H-D); 11. Charlie Italia (H-D); 12. Mike Hacker (H-D); 13. John Raun Wood (H-D); 14. Jake Johnson (H-D); 15. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 16. Bryan Smith (H-D); 17. Jared Mees (H-D); 18. Henry Wiles (H-D).
AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 12 of 17 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (213/4 wins); 2. Joe Kopp (194/2 wins); 3. Kenny Coolbeth (162/1 win); 4. Johnny Murphree (149/1 win); 5. Mike Hacker (111); 6. J.R. Schnabel (104/2 wins); 7. Jake Johnson (102); 8. Willie McCoy (98); 9. Jared Mees (91); 10. Shaun Russell (87); 11. Geo Roeder II (73); 12. Rob Pearson (70); 13. Rich King (60/1 win); 14. Bryan Smith (57); 15. Bryan Bigelow (53); 16. Terry Poovey (51); 17. (TIE) Jay Springsteen (40)/Kevin Atherton (40)/Chris Hart (40); 20. Henry Wiles (37/1 win).
Round 13 – Springfield, Illinois, September 4
Round 14 – Springfield, Illinois, September 5