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AFT Title Chase Rolls On to Rolling Wheels Raceway Park

| 5 July 2017 10:37 am

AFT American Flat Track Series
Round 10: Rolling Wheels Raceway Park Half Mile

Courtesy of American Flat Track
Photo by Andrea Wilson/ American Flat Track
ELBRIDGE, NY, JULY 5, 2017

Now that the fireworks have cooled off from America’s Independence Day celebrations, the world’s top dirt-track motorcycle racers are set to create some fireworks of their own in Upstate New York. On Saturday, July 8, Rolling Wheels Raceway Park will play host to the 10th round of the 2017 American Flat Track championship. This year’s event will be the second running of the Rolling Wheels Half Mile; it will also mark the start of the second half of the 18-round season.

Racers launch off the line at the Lima Half Mile.

Racers launch off the line at the Lima Half Mile.

This turning point is not lost on rivals Bryan Smith – rider of the number-one Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate, Scout FTR750 – and Jared Mees – pilot of the number-nine Indian Motorcycle Rogers Racing Scout FTR750 – who are once again locked in a heated battle for the AFT Twins, presented by Vance & Hines, title. The pair are also seeking some redemption at Rolling Wheels Raceway Park, although for different reasons.

At the moment, defending Grand National Champion Smith holds the upper hand, with a five-point lead over Mees. It’s always good to have an advantage, but the champ wants to get back to winning, especially considering his crushing loss to Mees in the inaugural Rolling Wheels Half Mile. In last year’s contest, Smith was the class of the field throughout the majority of the event but saw the win slip just out of his grip in the main event.

“I was the fastest guy there all day last year, but I didn’t get the holeshot – Mees did, and he beat me,” Smith said. “I want to be the fastest guy all day, including the main this year. We were dead even. He got the holeshot, I was second off the line, and he beat me. Everything I tried to do, I just kept messing up and getting further away. I’d catch him, and go further away. So I just want to win. Period. I feel like I need to win it and beat him, no doubt.”

As for Mees, his need to redeem himself is much more recent, and he has something to prove after a frustrating Lima Half Mile, presented by Indian Motorcycle – an event which Mees also promoted. The three-time Grand National Champion made a costly error, jumping the start twice in his semi and failing to make the main. Although that error only cost him a five-point deficit, Mees is eager for a fresh start as the season heads past the halfway point.

“I’m looking forward to this race,” Mees said simply. “I need to get back in my groove after my mistake in Lima. The season starts here: nine races down and nine to go. Let’s go!”

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Trailing Smith and Mees in the standings is fellow Indian Wrecking Crew member Brad Baker, on the number-six Indian Motorcycle Racing, backed by Allstate, Scout FTR750. The 2013 Grand National Champion is equally eager for the win, and he has been on the verge of his first 2017 victory all too often in nearly every event this season.

Although Briar Bauman, on the number-14 Zanotti Racing Kawasaki Ninja 650, was the first rider to bust up Indian Motorcycle’s win streak at the previous round in Lima, Ohio, Sammy Halbert, on the number-69 Estenson Logistics Yamaha FZ-07, has consistently been able to run with the Wrecking Crew. Halbert currently sits fourth in the AFT Twins points standings and is also looking for his first win of the year.

Sitting in fifth in the championship, Jeffrey Carver Jr., on the number-23 Carver’s BBQ Kawasaki Ninja 650, continues to impress. Carver scored his first podium finish of the season at Lima, and he did the same last year at Rolling Wheels. The Illinois native will be looking to build on his growing momentum and have a go at the top spot this weekend.

Bauman sits sixth, followed by the young Davis Fisher, on the number-67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles Kawasaki Ninja 650, and Brandon Robinson, on the number-44 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R, who leads the charge for the factory Harley squad.

It’s also a safe bet that Robinson’s teammates – Kenny Coolbeth Jr., on the number-two Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R, and Jake Johnson, on the number-five Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R – are sure to show strength on the red clay in Upstate New York.

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AFT Singles
In the AFT Singles class, Shayna Texter, on the number-52 Richie Morris Racing Honda CRF450R, continues to lead the way with a 22-point gap on Brandon Price, pilot of the number-92 DPC Racing/ Don’s Kawasaki KX450F. Although considered a specialist on the Miles, Texter has renewed confidence on her 2017 Honda CRF450R and will be looking to take some Half Mile wins in 2017 to expand her points lead. However, she’ll certainly have her work cut out for her this weekend, as she continues to have a host of young talent nipping at her heels and pressuring to steal the victory at the end of every AFT Singles race.

Leading the “Rising Star” charge is Price. The 17-year-old from Maryland has been on an upward climb since his debut in the series last year. Price equaled the best result of his debut season with a fourth-place finish in New York last year. This year, now that he has a taste for winning, Price will be looking to score more wins to close the gap on Texter in the title chase.

Still chasing his first win of the season is Kolby Carlile, on the number-36 Parkinson Brothers Racing Honda CRF450R. Like Mees, Carlile is also searching for some redemption after missing the main at Lima due to a stroke of bad luck: His exhaust system fell off while he was leading his semi. It was a tough blow to Carlile, who had been running strong all day, but he will be looking forward to rebounding with a win in a big return to his home state of New York.

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Exclusive Entertainment
There are plenty of off-track activities to enjoy in addition to the spectacle on track with a live rock cover band, Side Affect; a Strider Kids’ Adventure Zone providing hands-on entertainment for the latest generation of AFT fans; and on-site activations that will offer fans the opportunity to register for their chance to win the latest in two-wheeled offerings from Harley-Davidson, Indian Motorcycle, and KYMCO USA.

Information
Gates will open for the fans at 2 p.m. ET, with on-track action with the stars of the AFT Twins and AFT Singles classes taking to the track for practice and qualifying. Opening ceremonies will kick off at 6 p.m. ET, with racing action set to begin with the heat races at 6:30 p.m. ET. Race finals will fire up later in the evening, with the AFT Singles main slated for 8:40 p.m. ET and the AFT Twins main set to begin at 9:10 p.m. ET.

Tickets for the Rolling Wheels Half Mile are now on sale, and they are going fast. Tickets can be purchased at https://www.showclix.com/event/rolling-wheels-half-mile.

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 Rolling Wheels Half Mile in a primetime telecast on Thursday, September 7, at 10 p.m. ET/ 7 p.m. PT. 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.

Live-streaming coverage of every second from the Rolling Wheels Half Mile can be viewed on FansChoice.tv at www.fanschoice.tv/watch-live/american-flat-track.

Fans can keep up-to-date with American Flat Track on Facebook (@American Flat Track), Twitter (@AmericanFlatTrk) and Instagram (@AmericanFlatTrack). AFT mobile apps are available for iPhone on the App Store and for Android at Google Play. For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.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 Harley-Davidson Daytona TT to the American Flat Track finals in Southern California, will air in one-hour primetime telecasts throughout the summer and fall on NBCSN. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT’s digital strategy and provides live-streaming coverage of every event.

About American Flat Track
American Flat Track is the world’s premier dirt-track motorcycle-racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Florida, the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt-track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on American Flat Track, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram, live-stream the events at FansChoice.tv and catch all the American Flat Track racing action on NBCSN.

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Category: Announcements, Flat Track, National

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