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Virginia Motor Speedway

Virginia Motor Speedway News
Mees Manhandles Virginia AMA Grand National Event
Jul 17, 2006 - updated Jul 17th, 2006 3:07pm
Web posted by Dave Hoenig

Saluda, VA --

July 15

With the high heat and humidity of summer in full force and under the threat of heavy rain, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship visited Bill Sawyer’s beautiful Virginia Motor Speedway for the 1st Annual Burcham Cycles Joe Weatherly Memorial presented by Thurston Spring Service and by all accounts the event was a major success. The first time event even got its local favor as Jared Mees rode his Johnny Goad prepared Lancaster Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson to a convincing win (Johnny & Sara Goad are headquartered in nearby Richmond, VA).

“There is absolutely no feeling like winning a Grand National dirt track race. It is just the greatest feeling there is,” said Mees.

Heavy rains moved across the track just as the last practice group was trying to qualify, causing about an hours delay, but the wait was worth it for the large crowd. Mees was able to slip inside of early leader and fast qualifier Kenny Coolbeth (Harley-Davidson Motor Company / Screamin’ Eagle) on lap five and was never headed.

Latus Harley-Davidson / Renton Honda’s Joe Kopp, who is still trying to shake off the effects of his Lake Odessa spill, worked his way up from a slow start to challenge Mees at the end. Kopp was never able to get close enough to make the pass though and settled for a hard earned second.

Defending Grand National Champion Chris Carr got a great start, but was unable to keep his Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford backed Harley in the hunt. A very un-Carr like performance saw the points leader slide deep into the pack as one after another rider stormed around.

A slow start had the Screamin’ Eagle Moroney’s Harley-Davidson backed Bryan Smith buried in tenth place, but Smith has become mister consistent and clawed his way back into contention. The last half of the race he was locked into a fierce battle with Coziahr Harley-Davidson / National Cycle’s Johnny Murphree. Their battle carried them passed Coolbeth, but they were well behind the two leaders. They traded third several times before Smith locked the last podium spot.

Another local rider, SuperTrapp / Doc’ Harley-Davidson’s Mike Hacker was also moving forward and he passed Coolbeth on the last lap for fifth.

Logan Myers qualified for his first Grand National main event in grand style as he won the last heat of the night on his Motorcyclists Post / Bruce Transportation backed Harley-Davidson. Joe Kopp tried most of the tricks in his bag to get by the youngster, but Myers doggedly held on. Not only did Myers win the heat, it was also the fastest heat of the night and the former Horizon Award winner would start his first National from the pole.

Myers was another poor starter and had to climb out of a hole to get seventh place over the American Suzuki / Parts Unlimited backed Jake Johnson. After Myers got by, Johnson then had his hands full as Rob Pearson was also charging forward on his Memphis Shades / Yamaha / Parts Unlimited backed Yamaha.

Once again the Halbert brothers were in the main and Custom Chrome / Zanotti Racing’s Jethro Halbert filled out the top ten.

Bryan Bigelow (Lima Harley-Davidson-Buell / Ideal Environmental), Paul Lynch (SJS Racing / Fredericktown Yamaha); Chris Hart (Kiesow Racing / Gutterridge Harley-Davidson), Ricky Marshall (Eaken racing / Dick Ford / Mike Meyer), AJ Eslick (R&D Machine / SJS Racing / KK Motorcycle Supply), Chris Carr (Quality Checked Certified Pre-Owned Ford), Dominic Beaulac (Lombardi Harley-Davidson / KK Motorcycle Supply / R&D Machine) and White’s Harley-Davidson / Iron Valley Harley-Davidson’s Sam Halbert filled out the field.

After six rounds of the thirteen race series, Bryan Smith and Chris Carr are tied with 70 points, holding a five point lead over Kenny Coolbeth. Rich King is another five back with Mees just one behind King.




Virginia Motor Speedway

Saluda, Virginia
Results: July 15, 2006 (Round 6 of 13)





GRAND NATIONAL (25 laps, 18 riders): 1. Jared Mees (H-D); 2. Joe Kopp (H-D); 3. Bryan Smith (H-D); 4. Johnny Murphree (H-D); 5. Mike Hacker (H-D); 6. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 7. Logan Myers (H-D); 8. Jake Johnson (Suz); 9. Rob Pearson (Yam); 10. Jethro Halbert (H-D); 11. Bryan Bigelow (H-D); 12. Paul Lynch (H-D); 13. Chris Hart (H-D); 14. Ricky Marshall (H-D); 15. AJ Eslick (H-D); 16. Chris Carr (H-D); 17. Dominic Beaulac (H-D); 18. Sam Halbert (H-D).

Time: 9 min., 13.911 sec.



AMA FORD QUALITY CHECKED FLAT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIP POINT STANDINGS (after 6 of 13 rounds): 1. (TIE) Chris Carr (1 win) / Bryan Smith (70 pts); 3. Kenny Coolbeth (65 / 1 win); 4. Rich King (60); 5. Jared Mees (59 / 1 win); 6. Mike Hacker (51 / 1 win); 7. Joe Kopp (48); 8. JR Schnabel (46); 9. Johnny Murphree (39); 10. Jake Johnson (32); 11. (TIE) Dominic Beaulac (1 win) / Shaun Russell (31); 13. Paul Lynch (27); 14. Sam Halbert (23); 15. Jethro Halbert (23); 16. Jay Springsteen (22); 17. Nick Cummings (20); 18. Rob Pearson (19); 19. (TIE) Tim Eades / Chris Hart (17).



MEDIA CONTACT: DAVE SEAY (804) 758-1867 OR (804) 357-7223


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