Keeping Pace

Kopp, Williams have momentum

Mica's Joe Kopp hard on the throttle. (Photo courtesy of Joe Kopp Racing)
Mica's Joe Kopp hard on the throttle. (Photo courtesy of Joe Kopp Racing)

AMA rider Joe Kopp of Mica and ICAR's Blake Williams are both riding a big wave of momentum heading into their next events.

Doug Pace

The Spokesman-Review

The Appleway Chevrolet Parts Center ICAR Series returns to Stateline Speedway this weekend with its Rookie of the Year points leader, Blake Williams, riding a big wave of momentum heading into the 75-lap main event.

Williams, 15, has become the youngest driver to qualify for the prestigious Montana 200. While it took running in the top five of the Last Chance Qualifier to accomplish the feat, Williams showed that he belonged among the top late-model drivers on the West Coast, as he was a front-runner throughout the weekend. Getting caught in a late-race exchange of position in the B-Main, Williams was all business working with his crew chief and teammate for the weekend, Kevin Richards, as the pair transferred both McClintock & Turk entries into the 200 out of the LCQ.

Another two-car team from Spokane, the Western Rail Racing Team owned by Todd Havens, had Dan Garber in the transfer position in the Last Chance 200 Qualifier only to be shuffled out of position late and relegated to watching the main event. Braeden Havens suffered damage from an incident in the Last Chance race and was forced to the pits early, ending his hopes of qualifying for the Montana 200.

The local story of the weekend belongs to David Garber, who used a win in the C-Main to move into the back end of the B-Main. Once there, Garber’s Pend Oreille Mechanical Pontiac stormed from his 13th-place starting position to the sixth and final position offered through the first night’s segment to set the 200 field.

Once into the 200, Garber found himself with mechanical troubles early, forcing him into an attrition battle that netted a 14th-place finish.

Mica’s Joe Kopp leads the AMA Flattrack Motorcycle riders standings after a stellar weekend in Lake Odessa, Mich. With several tests at tracks throughout the Midwest, Kopp used those experiences to pull off an impressive victory over Jake Johnson and Kenny Coolbeth.

Kopp has been using two motorcycles to make a run for the 2010 AMA championship. With Harley-Davidson and Ducati both providing strong bikes for each race, the 2000 champion has been working with each one at the racetrack to determine which can bring victories to his team, he said.

“We had done a lot of testing in the previous weeks,” he said. “I had not raced my Harley since Pomona last October, but I had ridden it recently at some of the testing we had been doing. So I was a little nervous going into (the Lake Odessa) race as I knew what I wanted to do, but I was hoping I could adjust back to the Harley style as quick as I wanted to in my mind.”

Having a strong start was the key to victory.

“A few years ago (at Lake Odessa) I had the holeshot in the main event, and I got passed early in the race on the outside going into the turns, and I told myself that was not going to happen to me ever again,” Kopp said.

Kopp is off until July 31, when he competes at the famed Calistoga Fairgrounds in Calistoga, Calif. The Mica native takes a 13-point lead over Johnson heading into next weekend’s single-day show.

Follow all of Kopp’s exploits at

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.



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