Mees captures AMA Flat Track victory at Volunteer Speedway


Team Owner
Jun 12, 2002
North East, TN
Mees captures AMA Flat Track victory at Volunteer Speedway
By Robert Walden
BULLS GAP, Tenn. (June 2) — Race fans from all around the East Tennessee region were joined by two-wheel motorcycle racing aficionados from all over the United States Saturday night at Volunteer Speedway for the first-ever American Motorcyclist Association Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship event at the track. Jared Mees of Clio, Mich., roared into the lead on the third lap and once out front he never looked back en route to winning his fourth career Grand National feature.

“This is a fun place to race — it’s very fast around these high banks,” said a smiling Mees after climbing off his bike in victory lane. “To come from where we raced at last weekend (Memorial Day) on the Springfield (Ill.) Mile to here, it’s a major difference. Both places are fast. But we’re getting around this track every 15 seconds and at that quick a pace it sure doesn’t take long to click off 25 laps. I glanced up at the scoreboard outside of turns one and two a couple of times while racing down the front straightaway, and I couldn’t believe how short a time it seemed from when I saw we were on lap 5 until we were on lap 20.

“Being this is our (AMA) first-ever race here at Volunteer Speedway, I believe from the cheers I heard up in the grandstands all night it’s been well received by the fans. This is a very nice facility, and I sure hope we get to come back next year and race here again. I’d love nothing better than to come back here and defend my win tonight.”

The inaugural appearance at “The Gap” by the AMA motorcycles was presented by the East Tennessee Harley-Davidson Dealers (Smith Brothers Harley-Davidson of Johnson City, Colboch Harley-Davidson of Morristown and Knoxville Harley-Davidson), with “The HOG” 95.9 WRZK and the Kingsport Times-News as associate sponsors

Mees set quick-time over 43 riders in qualifying and sped to victory in the first of four heat races to earn a front-row starting berth for the 25-lap main event. The winners of the other three heat races, respectively, were Joe Kopp of Mica, Wash., Johnny Murphree of San Mateo, Calif., and Shaun Russell of San Jose, Calif.

Before an enthusiastic crowd of over 5,000 people, Russell launched into the first turn at the drop of the green to grab the lead. Back around to the stripe to complete the opening lap Russell was trailed by Murphree, Mees, Kopp and seven-time AMA champion (five straight titles between 2001-05) Chris Carr.

Mees passed Murphree on lap 2 to move into the runner-up position, setting his sights on the race leader Russell. Racing off the fourth turn on lap 3, Mees pulled the trigger to pass Russell for a lead he would never relinquish. On the same lap Carr also lost the fourth spot to Jake Johnson.

Once in the lead Mees quickly began to put some distance between his No. 21 Blue Springs Screamin’ Eagle Harley Davidson and his closest challengers Russell and Murphree. Running nose-to-tail and side-by-side for six laps, Murphree finally got around Russell to move into second place on the ninth circuit.

Carr lost fifth place to Kopp on lap 12, and one lap later he was relegated back another position in the running order when defending AMA champion Kenny Coolbeth got around him to take over the sixth spot.

A little past halfway Mees was in command out front, cruising around the high banks followed by Murphree who had a firm grip on the runner-up position. Russell was feeling pressure from Johnson for third in the running order. Getting a strong run off turn two down the backstretch on lap 18, Johnson shot past Russell into third place.

Copp had Coolbeth breathing down his neck in a battle for fifth, and on lap 20 Coolbeth made the pass to grab the position racing off the fourth turn.

But out front it was all Mees, as he easily won over Murphree and Johnson. Coolbeth passed Russell on the white flag lap to take over fourth, where he finished followed by Russell rounding out the top five.

Completing the top 10 finishers were Paul Lynch, Carr, Robert Pearson, Glen Schnabel and A.J. Eslick. At the checkers 17 of the 18 riders were still running on the lead lap.

In a preliminary Pro Sport event, Brandon Robinson of Oxford, Pa., held off Kyle Snyder, Brad Hazel, William Cato and Guy Hughson for the victory



1. Jared Mees #21-Clio, MI
2. Johnny Murphree #20-San Mateo, CA
3. Jake Johnson #14-Franklinville, NJ
4. Kenny Coolbeth #1-Morris, CT
5. Shaun Russell #28-San Jose, CA
6. Paul Lynch #19-Parkville, MO
7. Chris Carr #4-Fleetwood, PA
8. Robert Pearson #27-Morton, IL
9. Glenn Schnabel #33-West Bend, WI
10. A.J. Eslick #16-Tulsa, OK
11. Bryan Smith #42-Flushing, MI
12. Jethro J. Halbert #69-Graham, WA
13. Ricky Marshall #41-Garrettsville, OH
14. Joe Kopp #3-Mica, WA
15. Mike Hacker #67-Colonial Heights, VA
16. Joseph Hartrich #67B-Lancaster, NY
17. John Raun Wood #88-Oley, PA
18. Brian Phillips #25-Auburn, PA

Race Time: 6:44.624
Margin Of Victory: 2.168
Cautions: None
Laps Led: Jared Mees #21 (23), Shaun Russell #28 (2)

HEAT #1 (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Jared Mees #21-Clio, MI
2. Joseph Hartrich #67B-Lancaster, NY
3. Glenn Schnabel #33-West Bend, WI
4. Aaron King #40-Dysart, IA
5. Doug Lawrence #89-Mississauga, ON, Canada
6. Tim Eades #72-Colonial Heights, VA
7. Nichole Cheza #16X-Clio, MI
8. Mike Hacker #67-Colonial Heights, VA
9. Kenneth Yoder #57A-East Earl, PA
10. Chris Boone #13C-Nashville, TN
11. Shawn Raggio #51Z-Stockton, CA

HEAT #2 (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Joe Kopp #3-Mica, WA
2. Kenny Coolbeth #1-Morris, CT
3. Bryan Smith #42-Flushing, MI
4. Jethro J. Halbert #69-Graham, WA
5. A.J. Eslick #16-Tulsa, OK
6. Logan Myers #24-Wheeler, MI
7. Steve Murray #51-Grand Blanc, MI
8. Jess Roeder #94-Monroeville, OH
9. Bryan Hazel #14B-Albion, NY
10. Dustin Crow #88P-Peoria, IL
11. Brett Pankey #18X-Zeeland, MI

HEAT #3 (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Johnny Murphree #20-San Mateo, CA
2. Paul Lynch #19-Parkville, MO
3. John Raun Wood #88-Oley, PA
4. Brian Phillips #25-Auburn, PA
5. Ricky Marshall #41-Garrettsville, OH
6. Daniel Gedeon #12F-Warren, OH
7. Henry Wiles #17-Blanchard, MI
8. George Roeder #66-Monroeville, OH
9. Mike Rush #54-Gilroy, CA
10. Ion Stear #59P-Harvard, IL
11. Dean Standish #72-Roswell, GA

HEAT #4 (Top 3 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Shaun Russell #28-San Jose, CA
2. Chris Carr #4-Fleetwood, PA
3. Jake Johnson #14-Franklinville, NJ
4. Kevin Varnes #89-Mohnton, PA
5. Robert Pearson #27-Morton, IL
6. Shawn Baer #32-Bethel, PA
7. Bryan Bigelow #11-Omer, MI
8. Sam Halbert #43-Graham, WA
9. Kyle Ragsdale #35-Shelton, WA
10. Nicholas Evans #44F-Galion, OH

SEMI-FINAL RACE #1 (Top 2 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Robert Pearson #27-Morton, IL
2. A.J. Eslick #16-Tulsa, OK
3. Daniel Gedeon #12F-Warren, OH
4. Nichole Cheza #16X-Clio, MI
5. Aaron King #40-Dysart, IA
6. Mike Rush #54-Gilroy, CA
7. Jess Roeder #94-Monroeville, OH
8. Chris Boone #13C-Nashville, TN
9. Brett Pankey #18X-Zeeland, MI
10. Sam Halbert #43-Graham, WA
11. Dean Standish #72-Roswell, GA

SEMI-FINAL RACE #2 (Top 2 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Ricky Marshall #41-Garrettsville, OH
2. Mike Hacker #67-Colonial Heights, VA
3. Bryan Bigelow #11-Omer, MI
4. Kevin Varnes #89-Mohnton, PA
5. Doug Lawrence #89-Mississauga, ON, Canada
6. George Roeder #66-Monroeville, OH
7. Logan Myers #24-Wheeler, MI
8. Nicholas Evans #44F-Galion, OH
9. Shawn Raggio #51Z-Stockton, CA
10. Bryan Hazel #14B-Albion, NY

SEMI-FINAL RACE #3 (Top 2 Finishers Transfer To Main)

1. Jethro J. Halbert #69-Graham, WA
2. Brian Phillips #25-Auburn, PA
3. Tim Eades #72-Colonial Heights, VA
4. Henry Wiles #17-Blanchard, MI
5. Ion Stear #59P-Harvard, IL
6. Kyle Ragsdale #35-Shelton, WA
7. Dustin Crow #88P-Peoria, IL
8. Kenneth Yoder #57A-East Earl, PA
9. Shawn Baer #32-Bethel, PA
10. Steve Murray #51-Grand Blanc, MI

Volunteer Speedway: (423) 235-5020
Track Office (Weekdays Only): (423) 378-5942
Robert Walden-Public Relations Director: (423) 928-9644 [email protected]
Jimmy Meade-Marketing & Sales: (423) 817-0925 [email protected]
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