Kopp’s Tops at Granite City Half Mile

| June 15, 2003
Team KTM/Jones Powersports’ Joe Kopp scored his first AMA Grand National win in nearly two years by triumphing over his KTM/Jones teammate, Kenny Coolbeth, in a close finish during round six of the AMA Progressive Insurance U.S. Flat Track Championships at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Illinois, last night.

Kopp led the race from start to finish, setting a fast pace that only Coolbeth could match, the two pulling well clear of the rest of the field to settle the win between them. Coolbeth dogged Kopp right to the end, taking one last roll of the dice into turn three on the last lap and pulling alongside Kopp briefly before slipping back behind him off the final corner.

Quality Checked Certified Pre-owned Ford Racing’s Chris Carr finished third, the reigning series champion getting the best of starts but still able to make his way past National Cycle Supply’s Kevin Atherton early to lock the final podium spot. Carr finished nearly half a straightaway behind Kopp and Coolbeth.

Coziahr Harley-Davidson’s Johnny Murphree deserved the unofficial “passmaster award” of the race, coming from the back row to finish fourth on the smooth, wide Tri-City clay. Then came a close three-man battle among Atherton, Dallas Harley-Davidson/Redline Oils’ Willie McCoy and Team Harley-Davidson’s Rich King, the trio finishing in that order with less than a bike length between each of them.

In other action, reigning Harley-Davidson Sportster Performance Series Champion Jared Mees took the lead of the 883 main around the halfway point and held off Josh Toungett and former series champion Scott Stump to earn the win.

Here are the GNC results and points from Tri-City Speedway:

GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Joe Kopp (H-D); 2. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 3. Chris Carr (H-D); 4. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 5. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 6. Willie McCoy (H-D); 7. Rich King (H-D); 8. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 9. Terry Poovey (H-D); 10. Jake Johnson (H-D); 11. Paul Lynch (H-D); 12. Steve Beattie (H-D); 13. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 14. Tim Eades (H-D); 15. Mike Hacker (H-D); 16. Chris Hart (H-D); 17. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 18. Rick Winsett (H-D).
Time: 10 min., 39.001 sec.
AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE U.S. FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS SERIES POINTS STANDINGS (After 6 of 18 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (111/2 wins); 2. Joe Kopp (95/1 win); 3. 3. Johnny Murphree (92); 4. Rich King (69/1 win); 5. Kenny Coolbeth (65); 6. Jake Johnson (60); 7. Shaun Russell (46); 8. Brett Landes (43/1 win); 9. Bryan Bigelow (42); 10. Jay Springsteen (38); 11. Kevin Atherton (37); 12. (TIE) J.R. Schnabel (24)/Willie McCoy (24); 14. (TIE) Paul Lynch (23)/Garth Bastian (23/1 win); 16. Terry Poovey (22); 17. John Raun Wood (21); 18. Ken Yoder (20); 19. (TIE) A.J. Eslick (19)/Greg Tysor (19).
Upcoming Round:
Round 7 – Haubstadt, Indiana, June 21

By Scott Rousseau