INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 29, 2009) – Factory Harley-Davidson rider Kenny Coolbeth dominated the Lucas Oil Indy Mile, winning his first at the historic track by a margin of 9.612 seconds. Bryan Smith nipped Jared Mees in a tight battle for second as the duo faced the challenge of lapped traffic on the final lap.
The victory gave Coolbeth the AMA Grand National Twins lead. He now leads Mees by four points with just two races – the Springfield Mile and Pomona Half-Mile – remaining on the schedule.
Before a near capacity crowd Coolbeth took the lead early and was so strong that by three laps into the race, the Indy Mile, for all intents and purposes, was decided. As Coolbeth pulled away a five-rider battle for second took center stage with Smith, Mees, last year’s winner Chris Carr, Jake Johnson and Sammy Halbert. Smith and Mees eventually pulled clear, leaving Johnson and Halbert to battle as Carr dropped back fighting handling problems on his machine.
After 25 laps Coolbeth crossed with nearly 10 seconds in hand. Smith was able to get through lapped traffic a bit better than Mees to come out on top in that race, separated by just a couple of bike lengths. Johnson came home a lonely fourth, while Carr held off JR Schnabel. Joe Kopp, Henry Wiles, Willie McCoy and Brandan Bergen rounded out the top ten.
“That wasn’t a great one for the fans, but when you get a chance to breakaway like that you’ve got to take it,” said Coolbeth. “My bike was handling so well tonight it made my job a lot easier. It’s great to get the points lead, but the series is a long way from being over.”
The race was marred by a serious accident on the first turn of the first lap. Jethro Halbert [in his first race back since suffering injuries in June], Brandon Robinson, Shaun Russell and Wiles went down in the melee. Only Wiles was able to make the restart. Robinson, a Rookie of the Year candidate, was the most seriously hurt. He was thrown up into a pole and suffered a possible hip fracture.
J.D. Beach won the Pro Singles final over points leader Brad Baker. Jeffrey Carver was third. It marked the third win of the season for Beach.
The series goes to the Labor Day weekend Springfield doubleheader next week, with a Short Track and Mile event on tap.