Monticello Raceway, in Monticello, N.Y., is set to host its first AMA Grand National this Saturday, Sept. 15. The top flat track racers from across the country, including riders such as former national champions Chris Carr and Joe Kopp and defending champ Ken Coolbeth, will do battle on the picturesque Monticello Half-mile.
This race will bring AMA Grand National Championship racing to a potentially new and broad audience. Situated just 90 miles from downtown New York City, Monticello Raceway is located in the heart of the Catskills in one of the most scenic areas of the state.
The Monticello Half-mile could also prove pivotal in this year’s AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship. The AMA GNC Twins season is winding down and each race takes on added importance.
Defending Twins champion Ken Coolbeth and challenger Jared Mees have battled all season for the top spot in the point standings. Coolbeth, riding the No. 1 factory Harley-Davidson, has opened up a bit of breathing room on Mees after winning four straight races and finishing runner up in the most recent round in Springfield, Ill. Coolbeth now has a 15-point lead on Mees coming into Monticello.
Coolbeth is feeling positive about his strong late season run and the increased series lead that goes along with it.
“I can’t complain about the way things are going that’s for sure,” said Coolbeth, who calls Morris, Connecticut home. “Jared [Mees] was ninth at Springfield and I just need to keep my momentum going. We’ve got just a few more races to go and I’m feeling good going down the stretch. I’ve got to keep digging because 15 points is not a lot. There’s no letting up in this year’s championship.”
Mees had an uncharacteristic showing, placing ninth on the Springfield Mile over the Labor Day weekend, but the Blue Springs Screamin’ Eagle/Saddlemen Harley-Davidson rider now knows what needs to be done in the final three Grand National Twins events.
“We’ve basically got to go back to just flat out trying to win races,” said Mees. “We’ll let the points fall where they fall. My team’s working great and we’re having a fantastic year. There’s no pressure on us since we’re coming from behind, so I can just go out there and let her rip.”
Coming off the victory in Springfield is seven-time AMA Grand National Champion Chris Carr. A rejuvenated Carr could be a factor at Monticello. “I’m proud of our team for persevering,” said Carr, the winningest active rider in the series who finally scored his first Grand National Twins victory of the season at Springfield. “We’ve gone through a pretty tough dry spell, but we kept plugging away. I knew things would eventually go our way. It was just a matter of being patient and never losing our drive.”
With the Coolbeth/Mees championship battle and Carr resurgence the Monticello race could prove to be one of the most exciting of the season. The race will be broadcast on MavTV. Visit www.mavtv.com for additional information.
Fans will have a full plate of racing on the menu at Monticello. The daylong event will begin at 11 a.m. with the amateurs’ practice, followed by the group heat races at noon. Grand National riders will begin practice and timed qualifying at 4 p.m. Race ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., followed by heat races at 7:30 p.m. The drop of the green flag for the AMA GNC Twins main event is schedule for 9:20 p.m. The rain date for Grand National racing is Sunday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m.
A round of the Basic Experts Twins class will also be featured Saturday. Reserved Box seating is available at $30 per seat. All Reserved Box seats require a minimum purchase of four tickets. General admission tickets are priced at $25. Students ages 7 to 17 will be charged $10 per General Admission ticket. Advance tickets can be purchased locally at Moroney’s Cycle in New Windsor, N.Y.
The track is located just off exit 104 of Route 17 in Monticello. Visit www.monticelloraceway.com for additional information.