Series Title Goes To The Wire

Paul Carruthers | September 20, 2006
The following is from AMA Pro Racing…

Scioto Downs, in Columbus, Ohio, will host the Charity Newsies Hall of Fame Classic AMA Grand National presented by A.D. Farrow Co., Harley-Davidsons oldest dealership on Saturday, Sept. 23. The event is the 2006 AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship season finale and the AMA Grand National Twins Champion will be crowned.

Four riders come into the final round with a shot at the title. Kenny Coolbeth leads with 135 points over Jared Mees with 126. Defending champ Chris Carr, who recently became the fastest man on two wheels breaking the 350 mph barrier at the Bonneville Salt Flats, dropped from first to third in the standings after a mechanical failure sidelined him at the last round in Springfield, Ill. Carr has 125 points. Bryan Smith, who won the Springfield Mile earlier this month, has 119 points and comes into Scioto Downs with at least a mathematical chance of winning the championship.

The combined (Singles and Twins) Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship points standings find Coolbeth and Carr tied for the lead with 210 points and two wins each. The year-end bonus will be based on combined points of the two championships. Jake Johnson secured the Grand National Singles Championship (for single-cylinder machines) on Sept. 2 in Springfield, Ill.

Coolbeth is on the verge of winning his first AMA Grand National Championship. The Harley-Davidson factory rider from Warren, Conn., needs to finish fourth or better to clinch the title. Coolbeth has been knocking on the door in recent years. He was runner-up to Carr in last year’s championship and twice finished third in the final standings in the last four years.

Coolbeth, who is in his 13th year on the Grand National circuit, hopes to finally break through this year.

“I’ve been at this awhile now and have been close a few times,” he said. “Going into Scioto Downs I feel the most pressure I ever have in my career. I’m training hard and trying to keep my mind off of it, but it’s hard to do to be honest. Chris (Carr) has been in this position a lot of times and I really admire him for being able to perform under those conditions. I’m going there to win. There’s no need to change anything in my routine.”

Jared Mees, who rides for Lancaster Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson, is one of the young guns in the championship. The Clio, Mich., rider won the AMA Horizon Award as the nation’s top amateur in 2002. He’s climbed from a ranking of 16th in his rookie season, to ninth in 2004 and fourth-ranked last year. Now Mees has the opportunity to go all the way to number one.

Chris Carr’s drive to win his eighth AMA Grand National Championship was dealt a major blow with his DNF at Springfield. You can be sure the all-time wins leader among active riders will not go out without a serious fight. Expect Carr to be near the front at Scioto Downs on his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford machine.

With his victory at the Springfield Mile over the Labor Day weekend Bryan Smith put himself in the race for the championship. Another former Horizon Award recipient, Smith has a slim shot at the title, but hopes to close out the season with two-straight wins.

This year marks the return of one of the great old traditions from the past – the return of the Charity Newsies Hall of Fame Classic AMA Grand National presented by A.D. Farrow Co. The historic event originally ran from 1939 to 1980 at the former Ohio State Fairgrounds Half-mile. The tradition will be renewed in Columbus, but this time on the Scioto Downs Half-mile, just south of downtown Columbus.

The Charity Newsies is a local non-profit group based in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to helping families in need by purchasing new clothing and distributing it free of charge to school children in Franklin County, Ohio. The charity got its name from its original fundraising method of selling special edition newspapers on street corners.

Proceeds from the sales of event programs will be donated to the Charity Newsies.

“We’re proud to bring back the Charity Newsies,” said Gary Stolzenburg, of G&C Racing who is promoting the race. “People have a lot of good memories about the old race at the fairgrounds. We hope to restore the history and tradition of this great race. You couldn’t ask for a better venue than Scioto Downs.”

Scioto Downs is a five-eights-mile pea gravel and limestone mixture with a 14-degree banking in the corners. Riders will be able to get a tremendous run down the straights coming off the banked turns, which should make for close racing.

The track will be great from a spectator’s point of view. The grandstands are covered and provide a raised vantage point to watch the racing action.

For more information on the race call Scioto Downs at (614) 491-2515.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.