It had been a trying season for Rich King and the factory Harley-Davidson racing team, but it all came good today on the Springfield Mile.
On the big, fast and famous dirt oval at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, King picked up his 18th career victory, and also his third consecutive Springfield Mile win, by putting a heart-stopping draft-pass on Jay Springsteen at the finish line after a race that involved the usual mile specialists, including Chris Carr, Johnny Murphree and Mike Hacker. Of these, Murphree held on for third place.
The win was extra special for King, whose 41st birthday also happened to fall on the Springfield Mile’s rain date today. It was also a great way for the factory rider to send off 13-time AMA Grand National Championship-winning tuner Bill Werner, who picked up his 150th career Grand National win with King today. Werner is scheduled for retirement on July 1 of this year, and today’s win may well have been his last at Springfield – if not his last anywhere – as a Harley-Davidson factory mechanic.
Illinois State Fairgrounds
Results: May 31, 2004 (Round 5 0f 20)
GRAND NATIONAL: (25 laps; 18 riders): 1. Rich King (H-D); 2. Jay Springsteen (H-D); 3. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 4. Chris Carr (H-D); 5. Joe Kopp (H-D); 6. Willie McCoy (H-D); 7. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 8. Bryan Smith (H-D); 9. Shaun Russell (H-D); 10. Kevin Atherton (H-D); 11. Mike Hacker (H-D); 12. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 13. Jake Johnson (H-D); 14. Geo Roeder II (H-D); 15. Jason Tyer (H-D); 16. Gary Rogers (H-D); 17. J.R. Schnabel (H-D); 18. Aaron Creamer (H-D).
Time: 14 min., 51.196 sec.
AMA PROGRESSIVE INSURANCE FLAT TRACK CHAMPIOSNHIP SERIES POINT STANDINGS (After 5 of 20 rounds): 1. Chris Carr (90/2 wins); 2. Joe Kopp (67); 3. Johnny Murphree (53); 4. Shaun Russell (51); 5. Kenny Coolbeth (50); 6. Jake Johnson (49); 7. (TIE) J.R. Schnabel (48/2 wins)/Mike Hacker (48); 9. Willie McCoy (H-D); 10. Bryan Smith (37); 11. Jay Springsteen (30); 12. Brett Landes (27); 13. Rich King (24/1 win); 14. Rob Pearson (22); 15. Jared Mees (19); 16. (TIE) Bryan Bigelow (19)/Gary Rogers (19); 18. Kevin Atherton (18); 19. Geo Roeder II (15); 20. Paul Lynch (14).