Monticello, N.Y. (Sept. 7, 2008) — Kenny Coolbeth turned on the retrorockets on his factory Harley-Davidson and sprinted away to his sixth victory of the year in Sunday’s rain-delayed AMA Grand National at Monticello Raceway in New York. He wasn’t terribly surprised by the win, but he was shocked to learn on the podium that with the victory he’d clinched his third straight AMA Grand National Twins Championship.
Coolbeth made a late-race surge and took over the lead from Moroney’s/Screamin’ Eagle’s Bryan Smith on lap 18 of the 25-lap final. At the finish Coolbeth took the checkered flag 2.054-seconds ahead of Smith. Nick Cummings was third on his Honda Pro Oils/TCR Harley.
The big story coming into the final was that Coolbeth’s main rival, Joe Kopp, inexplicably failed to qualify for Monticello. It was the first time all season that Kopp missed making a main at a Grand National. It was such an unexpected development that the AMA wasn’t even prepared for the scenario and didn’t have the ceremonial No. 1 plate to present to Coolbeth on the podium.
“I don’t care about that,” Coolbeth said of not getting to hold up the No. 1 for the third straight year. “All I care is that we won the championship. It was my goal when we started this whole thing at Daytona in March and it feels great to be able to wrap it up early.”
Coolbeth is only the sixth rider in AMA Grand National history to win three straight titles. He joins legendary three-straight champs Carroll Resweber, Jay Springsteen, Bubba Shobert, Scott Parker, and Chris Carr.
The series moves to Indianapolis this Saturday (Sept. 13) for the renewal of the Indy Mile in what potentially could be the best attended race of the year.