Photography by Larry Lawrence
HAGERSTOWN, Md. (July 5, 2014) -- It was an eventual night at Hagerstown Speedway. Bryan Smith, the rider who gave Kawasaki its first AMA Grand National Mile victory back in 2010, finally broke through and scored an historic win on a Kawasaki at a Half-Mile. It marks the first ever victory on an AMA Grand National Championship Half-Mile for Kawasaki.
Former series leader Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., looked well on his way to a dominating the race when nine laps in his Zanotti Harley-Davidson expired. That left Smith in the lead on his Villa-Esparza/Crosley Radio Kawasaki, but he was dogged nearly the entire way by Jared Mees on the Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson. Mees pulled alongside Smith several times, but could never quite make the pass. At the end of the 25-lap national it was Smith scoring the memorable win by 0.832 seconds over Mees.
Jake Shoemaker scored his second-career podium, coming from behind on his Montgomeryville Cycle Center Kawasaki to take third. He was just 1.6 seconds behind Smith at checkered flag. Shoemaker’s other podium came here at Hagerstown last year.
The runner-up finish, combined with Coolbeth’s DBF, means that Mees is the new series leader, holding a one point lead over Jake Johnson (104-103), who was sixth tonight. Coolbeth and Smith are now tied for third with 99 points in what’s becoming a riveting series battle.
“I have quite a history with this track,” said Smith, who earned his first win at Hagerstown. “It was the track where I qualified for my first national back in 2001 and then a year later I was airlifted out of the place unresponsive after a huge crash on the main straight. It’s good to finally get the upper hand at this place. I think it owed me one.”
Kyle Johnson continued his red-hot steak in Pro Singles, scoring his third win in a row on his Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda. He took this one in dramatic fashion, passing KTM rider Ryan Wells on the final lap. Davis Fisher was third.
The win gave Johnson the Pro Singles Series lead by just two points over Johnson.
The series now moves to Elma, Washington, to Grays Harbor Half-Mile on July 19, then on the to Sacramento Mile on July 26.
Hagerstown (Maryland) AMA Grand National results – July 5, 2014
1. Bryan Smith, Kaw
2. Jared Mees, H-D
3. Jake Shoemaker, Kaw
4. Brandon Robinson, Kaw
5. Sammy Halbert, H-D
6. Jake Johnson, H-D
7. Doug Lawrence, H-D
8. Henry Wiles, Kaw
9. Brad Baker, H-D
10. Briar Bauman, Kaw