GREENVILLE, OH (July 19, 2008) – Joe Kopp continued his hot streak on cushion tracks. The former AMA Grand National Champion won a thrilling race against Suzuki’s JR Schnabel on the Darke County Fairgrounds Half-Mile. The victory moved Kopp into the series lead over defending champ Kenny Coolbeth by a single point (127-126).
Part-timer Nick Cummings once again proved his raw talent by finishing third on his Honda Pro Oils/TCR/Sunoco Harley-Davidson.
Kopp and Schnabel had a race-long battle, with each leading major portions of the race. Schnabel slipped in turn three with about eight laps to go, appearing to give Kopp a clear path to victory. But it was not over. Schnabel powered his Suzuki back into contention on the final lap and ran high in the cushion to try to get back in front of Kopp’s Latus Harley-Davidson. He couldn’t quite make it work and Kopp held on to earn his third victory of the season and the series lead.
Cummings rode a flawless race alone in third nearly the entire way. He made a small charge about three-quarters of the way through and pulled close to the leading duo, but finished four seconds back at the finish. It was his second podium in as many series appearances.
Kopp was encouraged by the win. “I’ve battled Kenny for championships before,” said Kopp, who was catching a private plane right after the race to compete in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb on Sunday. “I used to get him most of the time and then he started getting the better of me. I feel like I’m ready to win that championship back this season. I’m fully committed to getting it done.”
Last week’s winner Bryan Smith finished sixth and is still very much in the championship battle, just 10 points behind Coolbeth.
The series moves to Hagerstown, Md., next Saturday.