Keeping Pace

Kopp Enjoys The Arizona Hospitality With AMA Victory

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)

Joe Kopp brought Lloyd Brothers Motorsports their first AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship victory at the Budweiser Arizona Mile.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - It's been several years coming, but Joe Kopp gave
the Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Team their first AMA Pro Flat Track Grand
National Championship victory at the Budweiser Arizona Mile in front of
a capacity crowd.

The first time event was full of firsts. The first win for Ducati, the
first BMW in a Flat Track National since 1954 and the first Kawasaki
since 1975 to make a National Main.

All day long it appeared that Halbert Family / Kings Kustom's Sammy
Halbert was going to pick up where he left off in Daytona as he set fast
time in qualifying, won the fastest heat and the five point, $1,000 Dash
for Cash on his Harley-Davidson.

While Kopp had been fast all day, he didn't give Halbert too much
trouble in their heat as he finished second on his Latus Harley-Davidson
/ ENI R&M backed Ducati well behind Halbert.
When the National started, Kopp roared to the front as Halbert suddenly
looked to be off his game, dropping to third behind Zanotti Racing's
Jake Johnson.

On lap seven Johnson's race started to unravel as he was passed by both
Halbert and Lancaster Harley-Davidson / Dallas fort Worth Honda's Chris

"I realized I had to pick up the pace, I was afraid Joe was going to get
away," said Halbert.  One more lap and Halbert was back in the lead and
cruising. Kopp settled into second with Carr in third, but by lap
thirteen Carr was under attack as Defending Grand National Twins
Champion Jared Mees had his Rogers Lake Racing / Blue Springs
Harley-Davidson backed Harley in contention for the last podium spot,
taking third on lap fifteen.

Just as suddenly on lap seventeen Kenny Coolbeth pushed his
Harley-Davidson Motor Company backed XR-750 around both Carr and Mees,
dropping Mees to fifth. Mees was able to regroup, re-pass Carr and just
miss making a last lap pass for third.

While this was a good race the race for the win suddenly heated up. "It
looked like Sammy was having some brake problems, but he said not," said
Kopp. "With a couple of laps to go I realized I had a shot. On the last
lap I caught him down the back straight, but I thought I better wait for
the front straight to pass him. I was just barely able to draft past at
the finish line."

"I let this one get away, it's a learning experience for me I'll not let
that happen again," said Halbert. "I should have won this."


AMA Pro Racing GNC Twins National: 1. Joe Kopp (Duc); 2. Sammy Halbert
(H-D); 3. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D); 4. Jared Mees (H-D); 5. Chris Carr
(H-D); 6. Jake Johnson (H-D); 7. JR Schnabel (H-D); 8. Rob Pearson
(H-D); 9. Don Taylor (H-D); 10. Luke Gough (Suz); 11. Henry Wiles (H-D);
12. Aaron King (Rot); 13. Brandon Robinson (H-D); 14. Mick Kirkness
(H-D); 15. Chad Cose (Suz); 16. Nichole Cheza (H-D); 17. Bryan Smith
(Kaw); 18. Matt Wait (BMW).

AMA Pro Singles Main: 1. Brad Baker (Hon); 2. Jeffery Carver (Yam); 3.
Corey Crawford (Hon); 4. Chaz Springsteen (Kaw); 5. Mike Avila (Hon); 6.
Jeremy Hamilton (Hon); 7. Mike LaBelle (Hon); 8. Wyatt Maguire (Yam); 9.
Tony Davila (Hon); 10. Jake Cunningham (Suz); 11. Russ Wikle (Hon); 12.
Harley Dunn (Hon); 13. Shayna Texter (Hon); 14. Michael Toon (Hon); 15.
Mike Martin (Hon); 16. Chris Ponderous (Hon); 17. Kenny Malaguarnero
(Hon); 18. Colt Chebultz (Hon).
Top 10 Expert

Grand National Point Standings

3 Way Tie

1.    Sammy Halbert                      57 pts
2.    Jake Johnson                         57 pts
3.    Joe Kopp                                57 pts
4.    Kenny Coolbeth                      52 pts
5.    Henry Wiles                            43 pts
6.    Jared Mees                            43 pts
7.    Johnny Lewis                          34 pts
8.    Jethro Halbert                         29 pts
9.    JR Schnabel                           28 pts
10.  Chris Carr                               25 pts


Springfield, IL    May 29 TT   May 30 Mile

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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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