USC Racing/1stlegal.com’s Terry Poovey locked up the Formula USA National Dirt Track Championship in spectacular fashion with a win at the Del Mar Short Track, and Team Harley-Davidson’s Rich King landed a big $20,000 bonus by winning the Del Mar Mile and coming home first in the 1stlegal.com Grand Slam of Dirt Track to cap off the 2001 Formula USA National Dirt Track Series this past weekend.
The 43-year-old Poovey needed eighth or better to clinch the National title, but instead he wound up adding to his legend as one of the best short trackers ever to play the game as he bumped and banged his way past early leader Brett Landes and then stuck to the pole like glue. That might have been all she wrote, but another legend, Team Honda’s Nicky Hayden, emerged from the pack aboard a practically stock Honda CR450F motocrosser to challenge Poovey for the lead in the last few laps of the race. It all came down to a showdown off the last curves, as Hayden burned it in on the outside and swung around Poovey in an attempt to cut off the Texan’s escape to the finish line. Poovey would not be denied, however, and he drove Hayden straight to the wall, beating the 19-year-old to the line by inches in a thrilling finish.
There were more fireworks after the checkered flag, too, as fourth-placed Brett Landes and fifth-placed Bryan Bigelow collided behind third-placed Rich King in turn one during the cooldown lap. The normally reserved Landes lost his cool and leaped over his own downed motorcycle, landing on top of Bigelow and putting the hard-riding Michigander in a choke hold as the crowd went wild. The two were quickly separated without further incident.
The big mile on Sunday was practically a Rich King benefit. The Iowan was unstoppable aboard his Bill Werner-prepared XR750, running away from the field in the first 10 laps of the 20-lap Super Singles & Twins National before the race was halted by a red flag - a planned move prior to the start of the race - so that the field could change helmets or add tearoffs due to the visibility problems that are encountered with the Del Mar racing surface.
Once back underway, it was more of the same for King, who fended off a brief challenge by 2001 AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr and Kevin Atherton to pull another big lead that would stretch to nearly a straightaway at the finish. By taking the win, King also earned a lion’s share $20,000 bonus from the 1stlegal.com Grand Slam series fund.
Kenny Coolbeth caught and passed both Carr and Atherton to finish second. Carr was third, followed by Atherton and Bryan Bigelow.
In Pro Singles action on the mile, Davey Durelle barely outran Steve Murray to score a win aboard his Suzuki DRZ-powered machine. Murray was second, followed by Willie McCoy.
Here are the Del Mar main event results and Formula USA National Dirt Track Championship Series final points standings:
PRO SINGLES SHORT TRACK NATIONAL (Saturday): 1. Terry Poovey (ATK); 2. Nicky Hayden (Hon); 3. Rich King (H-D); 4. Brett Landes (CCM); 5. Bryan Bigelow (ATK); 6. Willie McCoy (Yam); 7. Davey Durelle (Suz); 8. Bryan Smith (ATK); 9. Kyle Ragsdale (Rtx); 10. Steve Liberty (ATK); 11. Randy Bereman (Rtx); 12. Steve Murray (ATK).
PRO SINGLES MILE NATIONAL (Sunday): 1. Dave Durelle (Suz); 2. Steve Murray (ATK); 3. Willie McCoy (Yam); 4. Bryan Smith (ATK); 5. Nicky Hayden (Hon); 6. Brett Landes (CCM); 7. Eli Price (Rtx); 8. Nate Wait (Rtx); 9. Tony Souza Jr. (CCM); 10. Beau Brown (Rtx); 11. Steve Liberty (ATK); 12. Kyle Ragsdale (Rtx); 13. Scooter Vernon (ATK); 14. Jaime Aguilar (Rtx); 15. Kevin Bricker (Rtx); 16. Mark Gruber (VOR); 17. Rich King (H-D); 18. Terry Poovey (Rtx).
SUPER SINGLES & TWINS MILE NATIONAL: 1. Rich King (H-D); 2. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 3. Chris Carr (H-D); 4. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 5. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 6. Shaun Russell (H-D); 7. Nicky Hayden (H-D); 8. Willie McCoy (ATK); 9. Gary Rogers (H-D); 10. Paul Bergstrom (H-D); 11. Brett Landes (CCM); 12. Terry Poovey (Rtx); 13. Steve Liberty (H-D); 14. Yuhiko Hirao (Suz); 15. Roger Lee Hayden (H-D); 16. Jaime Aguilar (H-D); 17. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 18. Mark Corsetti (W-R).
FORMULA USA NATIONAL DIRT TRACK SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 11 of 11 rounds): 1. Terry Poovey (336/3 wins); 2. Bryan Smith (278); 3. Willie McCoy (272); 4. Steve Murray (228); 5. Dave Durelle (216/1 win); 6. Jennifer Snyder (208/1 win); 7. Brett Landes (194); 8. Rich King (176/1 win); 9. Dan Stanley (160/1 win); 10. (TIE) Mike Hacker (150/1 win)/Steve Liberty (150); 12. Scooter Vernon (126); 13. Kyle Ragsdale (78); 14. Tim Eades (74); 15. (TIE) Eli Price (64)/Nicky Hayden (64); 17. Will Davis (46/1); 18. (TIE) Paul Normandin (38)/Nate Wait (38); 19. Beau A. Brown (36); 20. (TIE) Jaime Aguilar (32)/Bryan Bigelow (32)/Rex Fisher (32)/Tony Souza Jr. (32).