Despite an inconsistent, rough surface there was multi-line, three- and four-wide racing all night to entertain a large crowd at Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio, on July 5, and the hero of the night was last year's Rookie of the Year, Jake Johnson (pictured).
The Moroney's Harley-Davidson/1-800FASTHOG-backed rider took full advantage of a restart, stalking the leader, Joe Kopp, until the halfway point. Johnson took over on lap 12 and slowly pulled to almost a two-second lead at the finish.
"I don't know what to think, but it really feels good to get that first big bike win," Johnson said.
As Johnson pulled clear, the race for second heated up even more. It was a battle between Kopp and King that went down to the last turn, with both making mistakes. Kopp made his first, allowing King to get by, but King returned the favor by bobbling himself, allowing Kopp back around him to secure the runner-up spot. Almost undetected, Johnson's Moroney's teammate, Paul Lynch, had the best race of his career, finishing fourth.
Coziahr Harley-Davidson/National Cycle/Kiesow Racing's Johnny Murphree had locked onto Lynch as he passed by, and Murphree came home fifth, leading a gaggle of riders made up of Geo Roeder (Las Vegas Harley-Davidson/KK Supply), Mike Hacker (SuperTrapp/Moroney's Harley-Davidson), Carr, Kenny Coolbeth (KTM Sportmotorcycles/Jones Powersports) and J.R. Schnabel (Memphis Shades/Parts Unlimited/Drag Specialties).
Number 11 was 11th, as Gardner Racing's Bryan Bigelow led lap one leader Kevin Atherton (National Cycle/Kersting - Perry Harley-Davidson) across the finish line. Bartels' Harley-Davidson's Jay Springsteen, Jason Tyer (Allen Racing), Shawn Clark (Cayuga Tool/Sunoco) and Raun Wood (Scott Powersports/SuperTrapp) rounded out the finishers. Lancaster Harley-Davidson/Saddlemen's Jared Mees and Agles Excavating's Chris Boone failed to finish.
Results: June 5, 2003 (Round 9 of 18)
GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps, 18 riders): 1. Jake Johnson (H-D); 2. Joe Kopp (H-D); 3. Rich King (H-D); 4. Paul Lynch (H-D); 5. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 6. Geo Roeder II (H-D); 7. Mike Hacker (H-D); 8. Chris Carr (H-D); 9. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (H-D); 10. JR Schnabel (H-D); 11. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 12. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 13. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 14. Jason Tyer (H-D); 15. Shawn Clark (H-D); 16. Raun Wood (H-D); 17. Jared Mees (H-D); 18. Chris Boone (H-D).
Time: No time, due to red flag.
AMA/PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE U.S. FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES POINT STANDINGS (After 9 of 18 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (158/3 wins); 2. Joe Kopp (140/2 wins); 3. Johnny Murphree (133); 4. Kenny Coolbeth Jr. (109); 5. Rich King (101/1 wins); 6. Jake Johnson (83/1 wins); 7. Jay Springsteen (67); 8. Kevin Atherton (61); 9. Bryan Bigelow (59); 10. J.R. Schnabel (57); 11. Shaun Russell (46); 12. (TIE) Mike Hacker (43/1 win)/Brett Landes (43/1 wins); 14. Paul Lynch (41); 15. Willie McCoy (39); 16. Terry Poovey (34); 17. (TIE) Raun Wood (32)/Geo Roeder II (32); 19. Steve Beattie (24); 20. Garth Bastian (23/1 win).
HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE MAIN (12 laps; 17 riders): 1. Rob Pearson; 2. Robert Lewis; 3. Scott Stump; 4. Shawn Baer; 5. Dan Gedeon; 6. Merle Scherb; 7. Josh Toungett; 8. Scott Scherb; 9. Cory McDermitt; 10. Timmy Mitchell; 11. John Faulkner III; 12. Brian Kromroy; 13. Stephanie Welch; 14. Shane Fox; 15. Mike Beland; 16. Jared Mees; 17. Ben Siudara.
Time: 4 min., 15.599 sec.
HARLEY-DAVIDSON SPORTSTER PERFORMANCE SERIES POINT STANDINGS (After 4 of 10 rounds): 1. Cory McDermitt (60); 2. Scott Stump (58); 3. (TIE) Scott Scherb (53)/Merle Scherb (53); 5. Jared Mees (49/2 wins); 6. Shawn Baer (48); 7. Josh Toungett (41); 8. Robert Lewis (35); 9. Corby Scherb (30); 10. (TIE) Brian Kromroy (26)/Brian Thomas (26).