American Flat Track Heads to Springfield for a Memorial Day Doubleheader

The Springfield TT returns the night before the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I

American Flat Track travels to the hallowed grounds of the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill., for a doubleheader on Memorial Day Weekend, May 27-28. Saturday evening will feature the return of the Springfield TT following a four-year absence with the rising stars of the AFT Singles class taking center stage. The following afternoon the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines will be in the spotlight, as the action moves to the big track for the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I.

Sunday’s Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I will mark the 84th main event held at the Mile circuit since the Grand National Championship was formalized in 1954. Over the decades, five different makes (Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, BSA, Triumph) have claimed victories on the Mile, but the weapon of choice for top contenders has been Harley-Davidson, with the American marque topping the podium in 61 out of 83 attempts.

American Flat Track Springfield Mile Preview (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

American Flat Track heads to Springfield for a doubleheader, TT and Mile, on Memorial Day Weekend. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

This year, the Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team is led by veteran Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R), a five-time winner of the Springfield Mile including a victorious performance in the most recent running of the race last September. Additionally, his teammates, Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R), each rank as two-time winners of the Springfield Mile themselves.

Meanwhile, there’s little debate over who stands as the favorite heading into the weekend.

As the series hits the halfway point on its tour of five Miles in six weeks, ‘Mile Specialist’ Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) arrives in Springfield with the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines points lead on the strength of three consecutive wins, including back-to-back Mile victories.

Don’t look for him to slow down any this weekend; Smith has proven himself a master of the Springfield Mile time and again, with an awe-inspiring seven previous triumphs in the prestigious race.

“It’s pretty simple really – I want to keep winning,” Smith said. “Springfield’s another place where I feel right at home. And I think we can make some tweaks to my bike for Springfield that will make it even better so that we can take home another ‘W’.”

However, it would be a mistake to underestimate the challenge that stands before him if he hopes to increase that tally to eight. A combined 0.082 of a second is all that separates Smith’s Arizona Mile and Sacramento Mile triumphs from a pair of runner-ups (and just 0.642 of a second from two third-place finishes).

The Indian Wrecking Crew has dismantled the competition at the Miles in recent weeks, logging a pair of runaway podium sweeps. While Smith has emerged on top thanks to some nifty late-race maneuvering, expect Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) to come to Springfield ready with revised tactics.

Mees is a former Springfield Mile winner himself, while Baker has shown more pace than any other rider as of late, and he’s desperate to finally secure his first win aboard the Scout FTR750.
Mees said, “I’m looking forward to the Springfield Mile and ending Bryan’s three-race win streak… and starting a new one up again of my own. Sacramento was some good racing, but I think Springfield allows the riders to move around some in the corners. It should be another good show.”

While the Indian Wrecking Crew has garnered 13 of a possible 15 podiums on the season, Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07) splits them in the championship order in third place. Halbert has shown himself a consistent presence near the front all season long and would love to serve up an upset this weekend.

Meanwhile, young gun Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) continues to rank in the top five with another solid top-ten run last weekend in Sacramento.
Complementing the program Sunday on the Mile is the Harley-Davidson Support Class, an exhibition race designed to allow up-and-coming riders a chance to cut their teeth on the legendary Mile aboard Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

AFT Singles return to the Springfield TT

The history of the Springfield TT glitters with memorable performances by the likes of Henry Wiles, Jake Johnson, and JR Schnabel, among others. However, perhaps the standout of them all belongs to the late Nicky Hayden. Hayden, who tragically passed away earlier this week following a cycling accident, won the 2002 Springfield TT and was joined on the podium by brothers Tommy and Roger, who finished second and third, respectively.

Shayna Texter (No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R) enters this year’s Springfield TT with a healthy 17-point advantage in the AFT Singles title fight. She does so following four consecutive podium results, including back-to-back wins at the recent Arizona and Sacramento Miles.

However, swapping the high-speed sliding and drafting tactics of the Miles for the chicanes, tight rights, and jumps of a TT could leave Texter vulnerable this weekend. She is the first to admit that the TT is her weakest discipline, and her points advantage may be in jeopardy. Simply advancing to the Main would be considered a personal triumph for Texter.

Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R) could be well poised to strike. Showing a nice blend of all-around skills in 2017, Carlile has finished no worse than seventh this season, including a podium finish at the season-opening DAYTONA TT. As a result, he’s currently second in the standings and in strong position to steal the points lead with another big outing.

Sitting third in the point standings and looking for his first win is Brandon Price (No. 92 DPC Racing/Don’s Kawasaki KX450F). DAYTONA TT best qualifier, lap leader, and race runner-up Wyatt Anderson (No. 120 Waters Autobody Racing KTM 450 SX-F) is another rider to keep an eye on in the Springfield TT this weekend.

Exclusive Entertainment

In addition to the on-track activities, Hall’s Harley-Davidson will be hosting a pre-race kickoff party featuring the “wall of death stunt show” on both Friday and Saturday. They will also have live music with food & beverage vendors and free admission to the show. Also on Friday night, local favorite Boon’s Saloon will be hosting a car/bike show and pre-race party.

On-track action begins on Saturday, May 27, with AFT Singles practice sessions for the Springfield TT at 2:00 p.m. CT (3:00 p.m. ET) with Opening Ceremonies commencing at 6:30 p.m. CT (7:30 p.m. ET). AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines practice for the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I will kick off on Sunday, May 28, at 10:00 a.m. CT (11:00 a.m. ET) followed by Opening Ceremonies at 1:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. ET).

Tickets for the Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I are now on sale and can be purchased at https://www.springfieldmile.org/.

Catch all the Action on NBCSN and FansChoice.tv

As part of American Flat Track’s television broadcast package with NBCSN, the cable network will air the Springfield Mile I in a primetime telecast in early August. The one-hour show will feature flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events along with exclusive features giving fans a behind-the-scenes window into the sport. The complete television schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN will be released in the coming weeks.

Live streaming coverage of every second from the Springfield TT and Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I can be viewed on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Motorcycle Community Mourns the Passing of American Champion Nicky Hayden

Smile of a champion - Nicky Hayden

Godspeed Nicky Hayden. You were a champion in every sense of the word, both on and off the track. You will be sorely missed. 

American Motorcyclist Association saddened by news of former MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden’s passing
Condolences offered to Hayden’s fiancé, family, friends

The American Motorcyclist Association extends its deepest sympathies to the fiancé, family and friends of MotoGP world champion Nicky Hayden, who died today in a hospital in Italy.

Hayden, 35, was injured May 17 when he was struck by a car while riding a bicycle during a training exercise along Italy’s Rimini coast. He had competed in the Superbike World Championship races at Imola the previous weekend.

“The loss of Nicky Hayden will be felt across the racing world, on the track and off,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Hayden family during this difficult time.”

Hayden won the 2006 MotoGP title over Valentino Rossi. Hayden switched to World Superbikes in 2016 and was 13th in the 2017 standings, riding for Red Bull Honda.

From American Flat Track 

The American Flat Track community is left in mourning following the tragic passing of American motorcycle racing legend Nicky Hayden and sends heartfelt condolences to the Hayden family.

Nicky’s breakout year came in 1999, when he took home his first victory in the Grand National Championship at the Hagerstown Half-Mile and was bestowed American Flat Track Rookie of the Year honors. That same year, as a privateer, he won the AMA Supersport championship and was subsequently named the AMA’s Athlete of the Year.

Over the next three seasons, Nicky perfected his craft on American dirt tracks and road courses, grabbing five more GNC victories and winning the DAYTONA 200 en route to capturing the 2002 AMA Superbike championship. In 2003, after dominating the American motorcycle racing scene, Honda tapped the rising star to join the elite Repsol Honda team in MotoGP. At 22 years old, the Kentucky Kid was introduced to the world, and his warm personality, smooth style and Southern charm quickly resonated with fans across the globe.

Four short years later, Nicky’s dreams were realized when the American prodigy captured the Grand Prix World Championship in dramatic fashion, cementing his legacy as the best American motorcycle racer of his generation.

7 in a Row! Bryan Smith Wins 2017 Sacramento Mile

Bryan Smith wins Sacramento Mile (American Flat Track/Scott Hunter Photo)

Indian Wrecking Crew rider Bryan Smith celebrates after winning his 7th consecutive Sacramento Mile. (American Flat Track/Scott Hunter Photo)

Shayna Texter earns back-to-back wins in AFT Singles

The massive crowd of American Flat Track fans who flooded the Cal Expo Fairgrounds for the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear witnessed both a rider and a manufacturer in action at the height of their powers.

Once again, Bryan Smith demonstrated his mastery of the Mile with a tactically brilliant victory aboard his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750.

And in doing so, the reigning Grand National Champion not only extended Indian’s 2017 win streak, he led the third Indian Motorcycle Racing podium sweep this season in AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines competition.

Smith and his fellow members of the Indian Wrecking Crew, Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750), were again in a class of their own on Saturday night.

Almost immediately, the Indian-mounted teammate/rivals ripped away from the rest of the Main Event field. They then waged an intra-team battle that alternately required pace, patience, slipstreaming and strategy for practically the entirety of the 25-mile distance.

While all three took their turns at the front, Baker appeared to be in control, even pulling a small gap as he sailed past the white flag. However, that was only an illusion, as Smith leapt past Mees to slot into second on the final trip down the back straight, and then blasted past Baker once they hit the front straight to steal away the win as they raced to the checkered flag.

Mees followed in Smith’s wake to tow past Baker as well, transforming what had seemed a likely win for Baker into a third-place run in just fractions of a second.

Smith’s victory came by a minuscule 0.025-second margin over Mees, with Baker a further 0.05 seconds adrift in third. The win was Smith’s seventh in succession at the Sacramento Mile, and his third in a row this season.

After securing sole possession of the championship lead, Smith said, “I played my cards just right. I sat back there, saved my tire, and went hard the last couple laps. That pace Brad set was pretty hard, and I didn’t know if the tires would hold up, so I just cruised back in third. I saw ‘five to go’ and wanted to inch up there. I led it there for a minute with three to go and knew I wanted to be back (in third). I was a sitting duck. So I waited to the last lap to make my move and fortunately drafted Brad. I’m so happy to get seven in a row in front of this great crowd in Sacramento. This place is definitely special to me”

Speaking for the field, the fans in the grandstands, and motorcycle racing fans around the world, Smith added, “We’re all thinking about Nicky Hayden. That one’s for him. Get well, buddy – we’ll be seeing ya.”

While he got pushed out of at least a share of the championship lead for the first time this season, Mees did manage to maintain his perfect 2017 podium streak with his runner-up result in Sacramento. And encouragingly, for the second consecutive weekend he showed the speed to push the likes of Smith and Baker right to the brink around a big track.

Mees said, “I’ve got to give a big shout out to my team. We were a little off in the Semi and Bryan really put it to us. In the Main Event, we turned things upside down, and we were able to be a player rather than just hanging on.

“It was a good race, and it’s great to get another Indian sweep with these guys. It stinks getting second, especially to a guy you’re battling in points, but it’s great for Indian Motorcycles. I’m honored to be a part of it. You can’t complain about seconds and thirds – we’ll get some wins, that’s for sure.”

Baker was again left with a bitter taste in his mouth following an otherwise stellar performance, especially after practically tasting his first Scout FTR750-mounted victory.

“I didn’t know if I was controlling the race, or if I was just the mouse getting chased,” Baker said. “It turns out I was just the mouse getting chased. Great job to Jared and Bryan.

“It kind of sucks, getting second and third over and over again, especially at these Miles where I want to win so badly… Jared and Bryan just had a little bit better strategy there at the end. I led over the stripe so many times, I thought I might be able to get there on the last one. But I guess I just spun it up a little bit too much and let those guys squeak on by.”

Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07) tracked down a quick-starting Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650) and then proceeded to outduel him over the Main Event’s second half to snatch away fourth place by a narrow 0.050 seconds.

Texter Scores Second Straight AFT Singles Win

While it took Richie Morris Racing’s Shayna Texter almost four seasons to claim her seventh career AFT Singles victory, it took just an additional week to earn her eighth.

Texter won out in a thrilling battle that saw her and Tristan Avery (No. 16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) run down early leader Kevin Stollings (No. 99 Ben Evans Honda CRF450R), who had built a sizable early advantage.

Once together on track, the three traded haymakers, including a memorable sequence in which Texter split her rivals as they momentarily ran three abreast before she emerged from third in first with just two laps remaining.

The final lap required that Texter pull one final rabbit out of her helmet. She launched the No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R off the final corner and shot past Avery to claim the checkered flag by 0.065 seconds.

Stollings, who led the bulk of the race, ended up third, 0.170 seconds off the win.

Asked about her strategy, Texter admitted, “I really wasn’t thinking; I was just trying to get up to the front and stay there. It took a long time to catch Kevin. He was riding his butt off and he was really strong in the corners and I kept spinning it up. It seemed like I caught Stollings, and then Tristan came out of nowhere.

“I knew that I could do it if I could get out there and make my marks right, but honestly, this Mile racing is a little bit of a gamble and luck. You just have to be in the right spot at the right time. I saw Tristan spun it a little bit coming out of four, and I just tried to do the opposite. I was able to get a nice drive off of him, and it was enough to hold off Stollings.”

The Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear will debut on NBCSN on Thursday, August 3, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. For race highlights click here: https://www.facebook.com/AmericanFlatTrack/videos/1530071733693592/

Next Up:
Next week, the American Flat Track will make the first of two 2017 doubleheader stops in Springfield, Ill. with Saturday, May 27’s Springfield TT and Sunday, May 28’s Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at https://www.springfieldmile.org/.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Award Updates:

AFT Singles
McElroy Packaging Lucky 7 – #99 Kevin Stollings
Motul Move of the Race – #52 Shayna Texter

AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Ohlins Fastest Lap – #67 Davis Fisher
McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 – #6 Brad Baker

American Flat Track Heads to California for Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile

American Flat Track heads to California for the Sacramento Mile. (American Flat Track/Tom Stein Photo)

(American Flat Track/Tom Stein Photo)

Bryan Smith looks to score seven-straight Sacramento Mile wins; Harley-Davidson’s Factory Flat Track Team ready to fire back

American Flat Track is approaching Turn 2 on its dash around four Miles in four weeks as the series heads to the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, Calif., on May 20.

Located in one of flat track’s traditional hotbeds, the Sacto Mile is rich with Grand National Championship history and has been the site of many thrilling down-to-the-wire battles. The dominant force over the decades, Harley-Davidson has claimed an impressive 39 victories out of the 51 races held since the event joined the series calendar in 1959.

This year, the decorated Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team of Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R), Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) heads to Sacramento poised for a comeback.

At the same time, Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) returns to Sacramento justifiably confident and surrounded by something of an aura of invincibility. Yes, the reigning Grand National Champion recently took a share of the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title lead, and yes, he’s riding a two-race win streak. But Smith’s recent sterling form barely hints at the full extent of his overwhelming status as race favorite this weekend where he’ll attempt to claim a seventh-consecutive Sacramento Mile victory.

Smith, who earned his first Sacramento Mile victory in 2011 on the legendary Harley-Davidson XR750, has proven his mettle with success on multiple manufacturers over the years. If the Michigan native is victorious this weekend, he’ll set a Sacramento Mile record by claiming victories at Cal Expo on three different makes: Harley-Davidson (2011), Kawasaki (2012-2016) and Indian Motorcycle.

Lesser riders might crumple under the weight of those expectations, but Smith embraces the opportunity. He said, “I wouldn’t call it pressure – every race I go to I want to win. I want to win all the Miles. I want to win all the damn races, let alone the Miles. So going there it’s going to be cool if I can get the seventh win. I’ll be going for it just like it’s any other race.”

The primary threats to score the upset and snap Smith’s Sacramento streak are his fellow Indian Wrecking Crewmen, Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750).

Mees retained a piece of the ’17 AFT Twins championship lead by upping his season-long string of podium performances to four with a third-place run last weekend at the Arizona Mile. Perhaps even more encouraging than his actual placement was the fact that he pushed both Smith and Baker to the checkered flag in the Main Event, flashing the capacity to steal one of these upcoming Miles.

“We’re definitely going to Bryan’s hometown place,” Mees said. “That’s his race. I’m pretty excited to go to Sacramento. We’re dead even. I won the first two, he won the next two. It’s going to be fun.”

While some early misfortune cost him dearly in the points race, Baker makes it three factory Indian Motorcycle pilots inside the championship top five in fifth. Despite some inconsistent results in 2017, Baker remains a rare talent, and his two recent runner-up finishes suggest that he’s on the verge of claiming a victory of his own aboard the Scout FTR750. Baker narrowly missed grabbing that win last weekend in Phoenix and will be motivated to get some payback in Sacramento.

Slotting in between the Indian Wrecking Crew in the title fight are third-ranked Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07) and fourth-ranked Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Halbert has not finished any lower than seventh yet this season while teenager Vanderkooi is knocking on the door of his first-career AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines podium finish.

AFT Singles

Shayna Texter (No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R) storms into the Sacramento Mile with the AFT Singles championship lead on the strength of her first race victory in years. Texter doesn’t expect to wait so long to claim another win, and the Sacramento Mile should play directly into her strengths as a rider.

Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R) continues to hold down the runner-up position following yet another steady ride. Brandon Price (No. 92 DPC Racing/Don’s Kawasaki KX450F) is on the rise in third with two podiums, including a win, in his last two outings.

Exclusive Entertainment

In addition to the racing, the opening ceremonies for the Sacramento Mile will be action packed. Legend Kenny Roberts and Kenny Roberts Jr. will be on hand as the Grand Marshalls of the event. The pair are the only father-son duo to win premier Grand Prix World Championships and be inducted into the MotoGP Hall of Fame.

Also making a special appearance is a legendary machine – the infamous Yamaha TZ750. The legend of the TZ750 was spurred by Roberts Sr.’s epic win at the 1975 Indy Mile. Ray Abrams (A&A Racing), a longtime supporter of Roberts Sr. and instrumental in the TZ750 project, will be on hand with his famous motorcycle. Joe Kopp, the 2000 Grand National Champion, will mount the beast to show off the raw power of one of flat track racing’s most legendary builds. Following Kopp’s ride on the TZ, the action continues with the Joe Leonard Memorial Dash for Cash, honoring the sport’s first Grand National Champion who recently passed at the age of 84. Roberts Sr., a two-time Grand National Championship himself, will wave the green flag to start the race.

Another longstanding tradition – 7th Annual Alamo Alarm Night Before the Mile at the Lodi Cycle Bowl will take place on Friday, May 19. For the first time ever, FansChoice.tv will live stream the event, with opening ceremonies kicking off four hours of coverage beginning at 6:00 p.m. PT (9:00 p.m. ET).

American Flat Track’s on-track action will begin on Saturday, May 20 at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET) with the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines and AFT Singles practice sessions. Opening Ceremonies will start the night’s racing action at 6:00 p.m. PT (9:00 p.m. ET) and Main Events are slated to begin at 8:30 p.m. PT (11:30 p.m. ET).

Tickets for the Sacramento Mile are now on sale and can be purchased at http://sactomile.com/tickets/.

Catch all the Action on NBCSN and FansChoice.tv

As part of American Flat Track’s television broadcast package with NBCSN, the cable network will air flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events from the Sacramento in a one-hour telecast scheduled for early August. The complete television schedule for American Flat Track on NBCSN will be released in the coming weeks.

Live streaming coverage of every second of race action from the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear will be aired on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track. The stream will go begin at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET) and will also be simulcast on Facebook Live.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening DAYTONA TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts on Thursday nights throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN, while FansChoice.tv provides live streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. FansChoice.tv also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.FansChoice.tv.

Indian Wrecking Crew Sweeps Flat Track Podium for 2nd Time This Season

Indian Wrecking Crew sweeps podium at 2017 Arizona Mile

The Indian Wrecking Crew (L-R) of Brad Baker, Bryan Smith and Jared Mees swept the podium for the second time this season in American Flat Track. (Ricky Fuentes Photo)

Reigning National Champion Bryan Smith Secures Second Consecutive Victory, Brad Baker & Jared Mees Finish 2nd & 3rd, Respectively

Indian Motorcycle Racing continues its dominance in American Flat Track racing with its second podium sweep of the season. Indian’s “Wrecking Crew” is living up to its legendary nickname, as Bryan Smith, Brad Baker and Jared Mees finished 1-2-3, respectively.

After two red flags, and as the sun began to set, the main event was forced to reconfigure to a five-lap shootout. Smith earned his second consecutive victory by ducking inside Baker with two laps remaining – edging him out by .057 seconds.

“My team has done an incredible job, and the Scout FTR750 is performing like nothing else I’ve ever been on,” said Smith. “The mile races are my favorite, and with four of the next five races being miles, we’re excited to keep it rolling.”

After four races this season, the Indian Scout FTR750 has secured 10 of 12 podiums. Smith and Mees are neck-in-neck at the top the American Flat Track leaderboard – having reached the podium in every race with two first place finishes, a second and a third. Baker has earned two second place finishes.

“After the long break following the Charlotte Half Mile, we were all excited to see how the guys would perform on the season’s first mile,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Product Development for Indian Motorcycle. “Their dominant success at each race is a tribute to how hard each rider and his team are preparing.”

Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate Insurance, will look to stay on top as American Flat Track heads to the Sacramento Mile on May 20.

Bryan Smith Edges Brad Baker in Five-Lap Shootout at Arizona Mile

Shayna Texter ends win drought in an AFT Singles thriller

The Indian Wrecking Crew once again lived up to its moniker in the fourth round of the 2017 American Flat Track championship. The trio of factory riders secured a dominant sweep of the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines podium at the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle.

Leading the charge around Turf Paradise was reigning Grand National Champion Bryan Smith. Smith drew upon every last ounce of his trademark Mile magic to position his No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750 ahead of the identical No. 6 Indian Scout FTR750 of Brad Baker at the checkered flag by a scant 0.057 seconds.

Following two red flags and with the sun quickly headed to the horizon, the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event was reconfigured into a dramatic five-lap shootout. At the second and final restart, Baker again resumed his place at the front of the field and appeared well on his way to grabbing his first victory of 2017. However, Smith had other ideas, ducking down the inside at the opening of the penultimate lap and held strong from there.

Bryan Smith edges Brad Baker Arizona Mile 2017

Mile master Bryan Smith ducked under Brad Baker with two laps to go then held on for the win in a five-lap shooutout on the Arizona Mile. (American Flat Track/Mitch Friedman Photo)

“It was a little bit of strategy,” Smith said. “I just sat on Brad’s rear tire, and luckily it worked out where I got by him with two to go. I went on by him and had just enough where I was a little bit better, mostly off of (Turn) 2.”

The cagey performance was the 20th Mile victory of Smith’s career, good enough to rank fifth most in American Flat Track history. It was also his 28th overall AFT Twins win, which ties him with fellow Michigan natives Bart Markel and Henry Wiles for tenth on the all-time order.

“It’s pretty cool at 28 wins that I tied Bark Markel, the original godfather of the Michigan Mafia,” Smith said. “And it’s pretty special for me to be, I believe, the only rider to win a Mile on three different brands and tie his record. Hopefully next weekend I can break it.”

Runner-up Baker said, “I wanted that win so dang bad. I don’t think I’ve wanted a win more in my life. This type of track is one I typically struggle at – one that’s dry, slick, one-lined – where you kind of have to go slow to go fast and ride with a lot of discipline.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed and angry. But they call Bryan the “Master of the Miles,” and he’s great at this. This is definitely a heartbreaker because I was the guy to beat all day… We’re on identical equipment so it’s not like I had any more horsepower than him or he had any more horsepower than me. It was all about who was the best rider, and today, Bryan proved his experience and craft on the Miles.”

Smith now sits perfectly even on top of the AFT Twins title fight with Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) at 87 apiece. Mees retained a share of the points lead by furthering his season-long string of podium results with a close third.

Despite struggling with shifter issues, Mees managed to keep Smith and Baker honest throughout and finished just over a half-second back of the win.

“It was good for Indian Motorcycle, but we just didn’t quite have it today,” Mees said. “Honestly, we were third place all day… I was pretty much a sitting duck in third; we couldn’t really do anything. I was just grateful to get it into gear really quick off the line and kind of latch onto these guys. Brad had a helluva pace early on, but hats off to Bryan – he just put in a veteran move in on that last lap and a half and made it happen. I feel like Brad was probably the fastest, but Bryan out-schooled him.”

Thanks to the combined efforts of Smith and Mees early in 2017, the Indian Scout FTR750 has now opened its first full season of American Flat Track competition by claiming a victory in each Grand Slam discipline (TT, Short Track, Half-Mile, Mile).

Sammy Halbert continued to make his mark as the top privateer with a solid fourth-place run aboard the No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07. Halbert actually had to put in a charge just to snare the final qualifying position in the LCQ in order to advance into the Semis. But following that early scare, Halbert proved himself to be the only rider capable of reliably keeping the Indian Wrecking Crew in sight in Phoenix, even if only for a handful of laps at a time.

Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) completed the top five, finishing just ahead of the similarly mounted Briar Bauman (No. 14 Zanotti Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650) andJake Shoemaker (No. 55 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki USA Kawasaki Ninja 650).

Harley-Davidson’s early-season woes continued at Turf Paradise. Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) was the only rider among the firm’s trio of factory-backed talents to make the Main Event. To make matters worse, Johnson’s day then ended in a crash which brought out one of the aforementioned red flags.

Texter Takes Title Lead With AFT Singles Triumph

Shayna Texter stepped forward to seize control of the AFT Singles class with a hard-earned win aboard her No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R.

Texter was hounded throughout the Main by Tristan Avery (No. 16 Ron Ayers Honda CRF450R) and Brandon Price (No. 92 DPC Racing/Don’s Kawasaki KX450F), but proved almost impossible to draft by and even more difficult to stay in front of.

Texter said, “It was a long 15 laps. I just tried to stay smooth and make as few mistakes as I possibly could. I knew those guys were on me; I could see them in my shadow going down the back stretch. I just tried to be smart and keep them behind me.”

The narrow .041 of a second win was the seventh of Texter’s AFT Singles career and her first since the 2013 season. Her 2017 campaign is trending upward in a serious fashion; she’s now logged third-, second-, and first-place finishes in consecutive events.

“It feels awesome to get back up there – it’s been a rough couple of years,” Texter admitted. “I finally get to ride a motorcycle that’s stable and allows me to show what I have under the helmet. It’s really exciting to get back up here.”

The Law Tigers Arizona Mile will air on NBCSN on Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. For race highlights click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-PAGlT4c_E

American Flat Track powers right into the second of its run of four Miles in four weeks with the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear on Saturday, May 20. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv beginning on Saturday at 6:00 p.m. ET (3:00 p.m. PT). Tickets for the Sacramento Mile are on sale and can be purchased at http://sactomile.com/tickets/.

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

Award Updates:
AFT Singles
McElroy Packaging Lucky 7 – #52 Shayna Texter
Motul Move of the Race – #52 Shayna Texter

AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Ohlins Fastest Lap – #1 Bryan Smith
McElroy Packaging Lucky 13 – #1 Bryan Smith

American Flat Track Heads West for Arizona Mile

American Flat Track heads west after a five-week break for the Arizona Mile.

(American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo)

After a five-week break, American Flat Track returns with four straight Miles. Kicking off the month of action on the big tracks is the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle at Turf Paradise in Phoenix, Ariz., on May 13.

Picking up where they left off at the Charlotte Half-Mile, the battle for the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title resumes between rivals Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750) and Bryan Smith (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750). Last year, Smith scored a dominant victory in front of a sold-out crowd at the inaugural event in Phoenix, a win that helped launch his campaign for the Grand National Championship. The champ looks to repeat that success and make history in 2017.

“I’m going to Arizona to win,” Smith said. “My team has got my Indian FTR dialed in, and I would love to give Indian their first mile track win in the modern era. Also, winning a Mile on three different brands would be a pretty cool feat for me personally.”

While it’s hard to bet against Smith on a Mile, Mees lines up against Smith on the same machinery this year. The three-time Grand National Champion looks to dethrone the Mile-specialist and score his third win of the season to expand his eight-point lead in the championship.

“After five weeks off, our season gets going again this weekend in Arizona, and then it’s non-stop racing all summer, with just a couple of weekends off,” Mees said. “Last year was our first time at the Arizona Mile and I basically got my butt kicked by Smith, who looks to be the biggest thorn in my side this season; at least so far. Both of us are on the new Indian Scout FTR750 and I’m excited to open it up on a string of miles. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bently have been working hard to make sure we’re as prepared as possible to keep racking up wins.”

The third member of the Indian Wrecking Crew – Brad Baker (No. 6 Indian Motorcycle Racing backed by Allstate Scout FTR750) – is eager to score his first win for the Indian Motorcycle brand. The 2013 Grand National Champion ended the 2016 season by schooling the competition on the Santa Rosa Mile. Baker looks to repeat that success and get his season back on track after some bad luck at Daytona and Charlotte.

Also eager to get their season back on track is the Harley-Davidson Factory squad, led by Jake Johnson (No. 5 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) who sits fourth in the points standings. Teammates Kenny Coolbeth (No. 2 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R) are no slouches on the Mile tracks and would love to pull off the upset.

Another rider looking to spoil Indian’s win streak is Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07). Halbert, who holds third place in the championship, is motivated to score that first win on the Yamaha FZ-07.

Completing the top five in the points standings is up-and-coming rider Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Richie Morris Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650).

AFT Singles
Control of the AFT Singles championship is up for grabs going into Arizona following Dalton Gauthier’s suspension. Poised for taking that lead is Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R). Second in the championship, he returns with an ace up his sleeve: a championship proven team in Parkinson Brothers Racing. Trailing Carlile in the points are Ben Lowe (No. 20 Bruce Lowe Excavating Honda CRF450R) and Shayna Texter (No. 52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R).

On-track action begins with the AFT Twins and AFT Singles practice sessions at 11:00 a.m. PT (2:00 p.m. ET) with Opening Ceremonies commencing at 2:00 p.m. PT (5:00 p.m. ET). Live coverage of the Law Tigers Arizona Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle can be viewed on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track. Tickets for the Arizona Mile are now on sale and can be purchased at http://www.arizonamile.com/tickets.php

Fans can also keep up-to-date with race day action by following American Flat Track on Facebook (American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack).

How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening DAYTONA TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts on Thursday nights throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN, while FansChoice.tv provides live streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. FansChoice.tv also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.FansChoice.tv.

Team Roberts Returns to Legendary Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile May 20th

Kenny Roberts Sr.’s famous Yamaha TZ750 also to make a special appearance, ridden by 2000 Grand National Champion Joe Kopp

SDI Racing’s Steve and Vince Delorenzi, promotors of the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear, are proud to announce “King” Kenny Roberts’ return to the “Sac Mile” as the Honorary Grand Marshall on May 20. Sharing Grand Marshall duties with the flat track and road racing legend will be another Roberts – his son and fellow World Champion Kenny Roberts, Jr.

“Thrilled would be an understatement,” said Steve Delorenzi, CEO of SDI Insulation/SDI Racing. “We’re excited to have the Roberts family and honor a pair of world-class athletes from Northern California at the Sacramento Mile, one of the sport’s legendary venues.”

Roberts, Sr. is also looking forward to returning to his flat track roots and being honored at the Sacramento Mile.

“It’s still an honor to be honored,” Roberts, Sr. said. “I needed to get to a dirt track and watch it again. I haven’t been to a mile in years. It’s going to be interesting to see how it’s evolved.”

Team Roberts will return to the Legendary Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile May 20. (American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo)

Team Roberts will return to the Legendary Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile May 20. (American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo)

Of course, an appearance by Roberts, Sr. at a dirt track wouldn’t be complete without his infamous Yamaha TZ750 made famous by Roberts epic win at the 1975 Indy Mile. The “King” himself said at the time that they couldn’t pay him enough money to ride the fire-breathing two-stroke, but Roberts and the TZ750 made a repeat appearance for some thrilling demo laps at the 2009 Indy Mile. The TZ750 returns for some more laps of glory, this time to be piloted by 2000 Grand National Champion Joe Kopp at the Sacramento Mile.

“In my career, I’ve swung my leg over many of the best dirt track bikes out there, but I’ve always wondered what the TZ750 was like,” Kopp said. “I can’t wait!”

Roberts, Sr. became the first American to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Championship and in addition to his three World Championship, he is a two-time Grand National Champion. Roberts is also one of only four riders in AMA racing history to win the Grand Slam, representing Grand National wins at mile, half-mile, short-track, TT and road race events.

Roberts, Jr. was recently honored as a MotoGP Legend on April 21 at the Red Bull Grand Prix of The Americas. Junior won eight 500cc GPs and the 2000 world title on a factory Suzuki. The Roberts are the only father-son duo to have won 500cc World Championships and be inducted into the MotoGP World Championship Hall of Fame.

In addition to the Roberts’ long list of achievements they continue to raise awareness for Welcome Home Hero’s Foundation hosting “True American Hero’s Dinner” at The Roberts Ranch on May 13. For more information or donations please visit http://welcomehomeheroesfoundation.org/

For more information on the Harley-Davidson Sacramento Mile presented by Cycle Gear at the Cal-Expo in Sacramento, Calif. please visit www.sactomile.com

How to Watch:
NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track events. All 18 rounds, from the season-opening DAYTONA TT to the American Flat Track Finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour, tape-delayed telecasts on Thursday nights throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN, while FansChoice.tv provides live streaming coverage of American Flat Track events. FansChoice.tv also provides coverage of IMSA’s development and single-make series, and NASCAR’s touring and weekly series. Catch all the action at http://www.nbcsports.com/ and http://www.FansChoice.tv.

Online Ticket Sales Now Available For Lima Half-Mile

American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo - Lima Half-Mile

Fans can now purchase advance tickets online with choice seating for one of American Flat Track’s classic venues (American Flat Track/Andrea Wilson Photo)

The promoters of the Lima Half-Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle are pleased to announce that for the first time ever, fans can purchase advance tickets online and make seat selections for one of American Flat Track’s revered events on Saturday, June 24.

“Fairgrounds pea gravel half-mile racing is old school, but we want to modernize the fan experience, which is why we added online ticket sales,” said Jared Mees, four-time Grand National Champion/race promoter. “Nowadays people do everything online, so we recognized it was time to offer our fans the option of picking their seats and buying tickets online.”

The Allen County Fairground’s half-mile track features some of the best racing on the American Flat Track circuit. The pea gravel surface and 85-feet wide corners allow for exciting, multi-line racing at high speeds. In its 34th running, the Lima Half-Mile is also one of the longest running and most popular races in the American Flat Track series. With an atmosphere unlike any other venue this race is unique. Fans can pack the huge grandstands, which span the entire front straightaway, and also surround the fence on the outside of the track.

For a limited time, you can save $10 per ticket if you purchase in advance at LimaHalfMile.com. Seats are going fast, so buy your ticket now and save for one of Flat Track racing’s most authentic experiences. Fans who want to talk to a person can still call 419-991-1491 to buy tickets or get questions answered.

To stay up-to-date on race happenings, sign up for email updates on LimaHalfMile.com and “like” Facebook.com/LimaHalfMile, the official fan page of the race.

Harley-Davidson Support Class Added To Springfield Mile

Harley-Davidson Support Class Added to Springfield Mile

A Harley-Davidson Support Class has been added to this year’s Springfield Mile. (American Flat Track/Brian J. Nelson Photo)

Up-and-coming riders get the opportunity to race the legendary Mile track with $5000 purse up for grabs

(Sent on behalf of Kiesow Racing, the promoter of the Springfield Mile)

Kiesow Racing is pleased to announce the addition of a Harley-Davidson support class for round 6 of the American Flat Track series at the Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 28. The support class will provide up-and-coming talent from the AFT Singles class with a chance to ride the legendary Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile on the most iconic brand in Flat Track history.

“We are excited to provide the future of our sport an opportunity to gain experience riding twins on a Mile and honoring our title sponsor Harley-Davidson at the same time,” said Dave Kiesow with Kiesow Racing, promoters of the Springfield Mile. “It also provides us a way to bring more of the close-racing action Springfield is known for to the fans.”

The all-Harley-Davidson support class allows for any model that has previously competed in Pro Flat Track – including the Harley-Davidson XG750R, XR750, 883, Sportster or Super Tracker.

Any competitor with an AFT Singles license that is 18 years or older will be eligible to apply for entry into the support class race on the big track, which follows the AFT Singles points-paying round held Saturday, May 27 at the nearby Springfield TT. The class will get a practice, timed qualifying, two Heats and a Main Event to complement Sunday’s AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines program.

Additional information for competitors outlining the entry process, purse breakdown and event schedule will be distributed by American Flat Track in the near future.

More information on the event can be found at http://www.americanflattrack.com. Tickets for the Springfield TT and Harley-Davidson Springfield Mile I are available for purchase at: https://www.springfieldmile.org.