It was all on the line for Brad Baker and James Rispoli at the Springfield Short Track Pro Singles final. Rispoli, 10 points down in the championship, knew he had to finish in front of Baker to have a realistic shot at winning the title in Pomona next month. So Rispoli did what he needed to do and tried to make a desperate inside pass on Baker in the final turn. The result was hard contact. Hit from behind, Baker’s head jerked from the impact, but he held on to his Honda and guided it to victory. For Rispoli it was the agony of defeat as he crashed giving it everything he could. The innocent bystander of the red-hot battle was third place Jeffrey Carver, who had nowhere to go, hit Rispoli’s bike and joined him on the deck.
Baker’s win and Rispoli’s crash meant that Baker clinched the inaugural AMA Pro Singles Championship. The 2008 AMA Horizon Award winner was handed the No. 1 plate by former Grand National Champ, now series director Mike Kidd.
“It’s unfortunate that James and Jeff went down, I would have liked to have them up on the podium with me,” said Baker, who is sponsored by Mike Velasco, Brothers Powersports, Matt`s Racing and Celorie Brothers Trucking. “I had a great season and I hope I can come back and race with black numbers [signifying GNC expert] next season.”