Coolbeth is 'King' with third win at Speedway

July 10, 2011|By C.J. LOVELACE |

HAGERSTOWN — The “King of Cool” continues to live up to his billing.

Several riders were battling overheating problems before restarts in Saturday’s AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Twins event, but not Kenny Coolbeth Jr.

Piloting his factory Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Coolbeth won three hole shots in the 25-lap main event and was never really challenged for the lead as he earned his third career Hagerstown Speedway victory in the 29th annual Hub City Classic.   

“This is like my hometown National (race). It’s pretty cool coming here,” Coolbeth said on the podium. “Most of my friends come and watch it and it’s kind of close to home, so there’s a lot of people who came down here from my way and I appreciate them coming down.”

Coolbeth, a native of Morris, Conn., won his heat race and the dash for cash, ultimately finishing by beating runner-up Johnny Lewis by 0.682 seconds in the main.

As the only factory Harley-Davidson rider on the Pro Flat Track tour, it took a little bit to get on the right track this year, but the 2008 and 2009 winner of the event was unbeatable Saturday night.

“We started out a little slow, but these guys have been working really hard on these bikes; I’ve been working hard,” Coolbeth said. “And I’ve got to give it up to the Harley-Davidson Motor Company. They provide me with great equipment and I just have to do my job.”

Jared Mees battled with Lewis for the second spot, but ended up with the third-place finish.

“I knew going off the line that Kenny was the guy to beat for sure and I needed to get a good start, run with them,” said Mees, who hails from Honeybrook, Pa. “I was dicing it up with Johnny … and the restart was pretty frustrating. They can make or break you.”

Series points frontrunner Jake Johnson finished fourth and Jelthro Halbert got fifth.

With 176 points so far in the coast-to-coast 22-event season, Johnson made up ground behind leader Sammy Halbert (191) and now trails by 15 points. Halbert was almost invisible on the half-mile and finished 14th out of the 18 riders. Thirty-three entries didn’t make it to the main.

In the night’s Pro Singles 16-lap main, Michael Martin of Acampo, Calif., passed early leader Adam Bushman and ran away for the victory.

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