Kenny Coolbeth Wins Knoxville Half Mile

Cycle News Staff | September 9, 2012

Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson’s Kenny Coolbeth Jr. showed that the remnants of his broken leg are behind him as he won his first AMA Grand National flat track of the season last night at the Knoxville Half Mile in Iowa.

Coobeth, who suffered a broken tibia/fibula on June 30 at the Lima Half Mile, took the lead on the fifth lap and never relinquished it as he rode to his first victory of the year in what was an eventual race in regard to the AMA Grand National Championship point standings.

Points leader Jared Mees suffered a mechanical failure in the National on the 15th lap and he was credited with 18th place. With Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson’s Jake Johnson finishing half a second behind Coolbeth for second place, Mees saw his points lead shrink to 11 points over Johnson and Sammy Halbert. Halbert ended up third on his South East Harley-backed XR750.

“It’s been a long season,” said Coolbeth. “I really haven’t been racing a whole lot, but when I do, I always show up to win. Harley-Davidson supplies me with all the best equipment and I owe a large thanks to them. Overall, it was a great effort by my entire team; we are all meshing right now and these boys better get ready.”

For most of the race, Johnson and Mees were neck and neck as their battle for second was the best show on the track. Johnson took full advantage of Mees’ bad luck and cruised to second – some eight seconds ahead of Halbert. Mees had earlier won the Dash For Cash, which helped his points cause.

Kawasaki/Eaken Racing’s Robert Pearson and Harley-Davidson/Crosley Radio’s Bryan Smith rounded out the top five.

In Pro Singles action, Shayna Texter won her second main event of the season, the DFW Honda-mounted Pennsylvanian coming from behind to pass pole sitter Stephen Vanderkuur on the fifth lap. From there she never looked back and finished almost two seconds ahead of Shiller’s Tree Service Honda’s Jake Cunningham.

Vanderkuur rounded out the top three finishers.

“Last year was a different experience, having to battle from beginning to end,” said Shayna Texter. “These guys didn’t make it easy on me. All these guys out here are competitors on the track, but racing aside we make up a good family. If you’re not part of the dirt track community then you just wouldn’t understand.”

Vanderkuur continues to lead the championship point standings over Ryan Wells, 137-130. Texter is now seventh in the series standings.

Knoxville Half Mile
1.              Kenny Coobeth Jr. (H-D)
2.              Jake Johnson (H-D)
3.              Sammy Halbert (H-D)
4.              Robert Pearson (Kawasaki)
5.              Bryan Smith (H-D)
6.              Doug Lawrence (H-D)
7.              Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki)
8.              Nichole Cheza (H-D)
9.              Jeffrey Carver Jr. (H-D)
10.             Shawn Baer (Kawasaki)