Springfield, Ill., Sep. 6–Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Wrecking Crew rider Kenny Coolbeth Jr. executed a perfect last-lap pass to score a thrilling victory in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines main at the historic Springfield Mile.
Aboard a Zanotti Racing/Gator H-D Harley-Davidson XR750 motorcycle, Coolbeth stalked race leader Bryan Smith for the entire 25-lap main before making his move for the win as the pair blasted out of the final turn on the legendary dirt oval at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The strategy paid off for the veteran Harley-Davidson racer as Coolbeth beat Smith to the finish line by 0.009 seconds.
“I knew I wouldn’t get all the way around him going down the straightaway like a legit draft pass,” said Coolbeth, who has now won five times at Springfield, “so I buried it off in there just like I did when I beat him the other time and it worked out.”
Coolbeth, a three-time AMA Grand National champion, has more wins than any active rider in series. The win at Springfield is the 36th of his career.
Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Factory Team rider Brad Baker finished fifth at Springfield, 1.357 seconds behind Coolbeth. Harley-Davidson Screamin’ Eagle Wrecking Crew rider Jake Johnson finished in 13th place on the Zanotti Racing/Classic H-D Harley-Davidson XR750.
The Harley-Davidson Wrecking Crew riders compete with legendary intensity befitting the long history of Harley-Davidson racing. Part of that story is currently being told at the Harley-Davidson Museum in its special exhibit “Racing Machines from the KR to the XR” that explores the role the Harley-Davidson engineering team played in creating the legendary bikes that have dominated race tracks for three decades after World War II.
After 13 of 14 races on the 2016 Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines flat track series, Johnson is third in points with 169, Coolbeth is sixth with 134 points and Baker is seventh with 124 points.
Harley-Davidson Wrecking Crew riders will return to action on September 25 at the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California.