Photography by Larry Lawrence
INDIANAPOLIS (Aug. 8, 2014) – Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. proved the venerable Harley-Davidson XR750 can still be a formidable force on AMA Grand National Miles. Saturday night on the Indy Mile Coolbeth ran away from the 18-rider field on his Zanotti Racing/Moroney’s Harley-Davidson, romping to a 2.470 second victory over Bryan Smith, who up to this point in the season had been dominant on the miles aboard his Villa-Esparza, Crosley Radio Kawasaki EX650.
It marked the third victory of the season for Coolbeth and pushed him forward into the championship picture – a strong bounce back after failing to qualify for the Castle Rock TT last week.
The title chase got even tighter after Indy’s results. Jared Mees, who finished third on his Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson, now leads the series by just a single point over Smith with five rounds remaining. Jake Johnson, who won tonight’s points-paying Dash for Cash, and Coolbeth are also very much in the hunt as the series looks to be coming down to one of those four riders.
Coolbeth was happy with his victory; saying a little bit of anger might have spurred him on.
“I was pretty mad at myself after not making the main at Castle Rock,” Coolbeth said. “I just told myself that I needed to come out and fight has hard as I could to get back to where I need to be. I’m still in a pretty deep hole, but I’m just going to try to keep winning races and we’ll see what happens.”
After a hectic early battle in the national with Johnson, Smith and Mees, Coolbeth broke to the front on lap four and sailed away from the field, taking full advantage by turning in precise lap after lap, while the other riders behind him fought hard over second losing touch with the leader.
“Kenny played it smart and got a little gap on us while we were all going at it,” Smith said. “I just kept watching him inch away and I knew halfway through that we probably weren’t going to catch him.”
Ramspur Winery, Lloyd Bros Motorsports rider Jake Johnson was fourth, continuing his string of consistent finishes, earning his seventh top-five finishes in 10 rounds.
Brad Baker ran as high as second on the No. 1 factory Harley-Davidson, but he burned up his tires in the process and fell to fifth by the checkered flag. Baker was not the only rider who suffered tire wear. Many of the riders reported their tires were completely used up by the end of the 25-lap main.
Jarod Vanderkooi took the Pro Singles victory in a photo finish over Kyle Johnson. Vanderkooi moved his Johnny's Vintage Motorcycle Honda perfectly into the draft of Johnson’s bike coming out of the fourth turn and made the classic slingshot move just before the checkered flag to take the win. Nick Armstrong was third, earning his second podium of the year.
It marked the second Pro Singles victory of the season for Vanderkooi, who won earlier in the season at Grays Harbor.
Johnson’s runner-up finish moved him into the Pro Singles Series lead by four points over Davis Fisher.
The crowd was down at Indy this year, possibly owing to week-long weather forecast predictions of 100 percent chance of rain for race day that didn’t prove accurate.
Next on the calendar is another of the premier stops in the series, the Peoria TT, next Sunday, Aug. 17.
Results of the Indy Mile at the Indiana State Fairgrounds – Aug. 8, 2014
1 2 Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. Zanotti Racing/Moroneys H-D,Burt Ives Honda, ... Harley-Davidson 25 Laps
2 42 Bryan Smith Villa-Esparza,Crosley Radios,Howerton... Kawasaki EX650 2.470
3 9 Jared Mees Rogers Racing,Las Vegas HD, Blue Springs... Harley-Davidson 2.531
4 5 Jake Johnson Ramspur Winery,Lloyd Bros Motorsports, Parkinson... Ducati Hypermotard 5.907
5 1 Brad Baker Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Screamin Eagle... Harley-Davidson 5.973
6 17 Henry Wiles Dons Kawasaki,DPC Racing,EA Racing,Eddie... Kawasaki EX650 6.211
7 80 Stevie Bonsey Zanotti Racing,Classic Harley-Davidson,Top1,K&N... Harley-Davidson 8.428
8 14 Briar Bauman Monster Energy Kawasaki Werner-Springsteen... Kawasaki EX650 10.664
9 55 Jake Shoemaker Montgomeryville Cycle Center, Greg Vietri, Penske... Kawasaki EX650 10.
10 27 Robert Pearson Weirbach Racing Kawasaki EX650 11.295