It was a good show for the throng of Harley-Davidson fans in attendance and a nice send-off in what is the final racing weekend for a 55-year-old racing facililty. When it was over, Coziahr Harley-Davidson’s Johnny Murphree was the man of the hour.
Murphree won the Beertown Shootout short track at Hales Corners Speedway in Hales Corners, just south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was his first win of the season, and it marked the first AMA Grand National to be held in the State of Wisconsin in over 50 years.
There was plenty of drama in the main event, as polesitter Murphree, who has been struggling with his starts all season, ran a dank eighth on the opening lap while Team Harley-Davidson’s Rich King took the lead, followed by Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford-backed Chris Carr and USC Racing/Lancaster Harley-Davidson’s Jared Mees. Murphree moved from eight to fourth in two laps, with Carr moving past King by running the high line in the turns on the dry slick clay 3/8-mile oval.
But then Carr’s Kenny Tolbert-tweeked Rotax gave up the ghost on the back straightaway, leaving King with a 10-length advantage over Murphree, who had just passed Mees for third place when Carr dropped out. Murphree then came after King, running high in turns three and four and dropping low in turns one and two. Murphree caught King with about seven laps to go, and the two then engaged in a fierce battle for the lead, with Murphree sliding up in front of King in one and two, only to be re-passed by the factory Harley man on the back straightaway. Then King’s Harley single-powered racer broke on the last lap, all but handing Murphree the win. Lancaster Harley-Davidson’s Steve Beattie wound up second and Zach’s Custom & Performance/Weirbach Racing’s Rob Pearson finished third – his first career GNC podium.
With Murphree’s win and Carr’s DNF, the series points race tightened considerably, as Murphree cut Carr’s lead from 31 points to 11. Carr now leads Murphree, 216-205, with four rounds remaining.
In other action, Texas rider Scott Scherb rode his Doc’s Harley-Davidson 883 to his second consecutive Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series main event, taking over the lead after Rob Pearson broke down. Scott Stump finished second, with Cory McDermitt third. The three riders are within four points of one another in the series title race. Scherb has 76, while Stump has 73 and McDermitt 72.
This was the last motorcycle race to be held at Hales Corners Speedway, which opened in 1948. The facility, which is right in downtown Hales Corners, is scheduled to be razed and replaced by a Menards home improvement store.
Hales Corners Speedway
Hales Corners, Wisconsin
Results: August 29, 2003 (Round 14 of 18)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 16 riders): 1. Johnny Murphree (Rot); 2. Steve Beattie (Rot); 3. Rob Pearson (Rot); 4. Jared Mees (Rot); 5. Bryan Bigelow (Rot); 6. Mike Hacker (Rot); 7. Jay Springsteen (Rot); 8. Willie McCoy (ATK); 9. John Raun Wood (Rot); 10. Rich King (H-D); 11. Terry Poovey (Rot); 12. Tom McGrane (Rot); 13. Cory McDermitt (Rot); 14. Kevin Atherton (Yam); 15. Kenny Coolbeth (KTM); 16. Chris Carr (Rot).
Time: 8 min., 30.244 sec.
AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE U.S. FLAT TRACK C’SHIPS SERIES STANDINGS (After 14 of 18 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (216/4 wins); 2. Johnny Murphree (205/1 win); 3. Joe Kopp (172/2 wins); 4. Kenny Coolbeth (156/1 win); 5. Rich King (132/1 win); 6. Jake Johnson (113/1 win); 7. Bryan Bigelow (97); 8. Jay Springsteen (94); 9. Mike Hacker (89); 10. Kevin Atherton (84); 11. J.R. Schnabel (80/1 win); 12. Steve Beattie (65); 13. Shaun Russell (60); 14. (TIE) Jared Mees (51)/Paul Lynch (51); 16. (TIE) Willie McCoy (50)/Geo Roeder II (50); 18. John Raun Wood (45); 19. Brett Landes (43/1 win); 20. Terry Poovey (42).
883 NATIONAL (12 laps; 17 riders: 1. Scott Scherb; 2. Scott Stump; 3. Cory McDermitt; 4. Robert Lewis; 5. Shawn Baer; 6. Andy Springsteen; 7. Corby Scherb; 8. John Faulkner; 9. John Clark; 10. Shane Fox; 11. Brian Thomas; 12. Clint Erickson; 13. Willie Broten; 14. Rob Pearson; 15. Tony Giorno; 16. Brian Kromroy; 17. Joey Tyeryar.
Time: No time, due to red flag.
AMA HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 7 of 10 rounds): 1. Scott Scherb (76/1 win); 2. Scott Stump (73); 3. Cory McDermitt (72); 4. Shawn Baer (64); 5. Robert Lewis (54); 6. Merle Scherb (53); 7. Josh Toungett (52); 8. Jared Mees (49/2 wins); 9. Brian Thomas (40); 10. Daniel Gedeon (33).