Coolbeth Winner in the Smokies

Larry Lawrence | June 22, 2008
MARYVILLE, TENN, JUNE 21: Kenny Coolbeth made it two for two in the AMA Grand National Twins Championship, scoring a victory on his No. 1 factory Harley-Davidson before an estimated crowd of 5000 fans Saturday night at the Mountain Raceway Park Half-Mile in Maryville, Tennessee.

Unlike the last round in Vernon, N.Y, where Coolbeth ran away and hid, this time he got the lead on the first lap then battled for much of the race with pole winner Joe Kopp. In the end Coolbeth was able to gradually build his lead to 1.060 seconds after 25 laps of racing.

“It was a tough track to read tonight,” said Coolbeth, who earned his 16th-career AMA Grand National victory. “All the top guys were running so even that I knew it was going to be tough to pass, so I wanted to get a good start. I got a great drive out of turn two to take the lead and was able to find a line that worked for me.”

Kopp rode to a solid second-place finish on his Latus Harley-Davidson moving into third in the Twins standings behind Coolbeth and Bryan Smith.

The real battle on the tacky, banked red-clay track was for the final podium spot. Young Sammy Halbert, riding a Glassman Harley-Davidson, made aggressive passes on both Smith and finally Chris Carr late in the race to nail down his first podium finish in Grand National Twins competition.

The series moves to Bedford, Pa., and Lima, Ohio on Friday and Saturday nights this coming week for a rare two venue, doubleheader weekend.

Larry Lawrence | Archives Editor

In addition to writing our Archives section on a weekly basis, Lawrence is another who is capable of covering any event we throw his way.