DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A last lap incident by between Honda riders Johnny Lewis of Coatesville, Pa., and Jared Mees of Clio, Mich., opened the door for fellow Honda rider Matt Weidman of Westerlo, NY, to win the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert Main Event at the Daytona Flat Track Friday ight. It was Weidman’s first victory at the “World Center of Racing.”
Mees led the first 24 laps of the 25-lap, 18-rider main event. In the final lap, both he and Lewis battled for the lead when there was contact between them. When the dust settled, Lewis was on the ground and Weidman edged Mees for the victory by a margin of .114 seconds. Brad Baker of Chehalis, Wash., finished third for Kawasaki. Lewis finished eighth.
Weidman praised his team for their preparation which allowed him to win on Friday. “We stayed focused and put a full day together to be in position for this win,” he said. “I definitely got the chance of a lifetime there (at the end). When I saw (Mees and Lewis) together, I knew there’d be fireworks.”
Mees was apologetic about the last lap incident. “Johnny stuck underneath me there and I tried to rebound,” he said. “Johnny and I go way back and that’s the last guy in the world I want to put on the ground. I feel real bad about that but it was hard racing.”
In the 16-lap Pro Main event, 16 year-old Ryan Wells of Albion, NY, in only his second race as a professional rider, won in commanding fashion by a margin of 2.752 seconds ahead of fellow Honda rider Michael LaBelle. Kawasaki’s Hayden Gillim rounded out the podium.
“Yesterday we got off to a rough start, but I put my head down all day today. I got a good start and I didn’t want to look back, I just kept charging forward,” Wells said.
The four-lap Expert Dash For Cash, featuring the top two riders in each of the Expert Heats, was won by Mees who held off a charging Lewis and pocketed $1,000 for the win.
Riders winning Expert Heats were Briar Bauman (Kawasaki), Mees and Weidman. In the Expert semifinals, Donald Mullen II (Honda) and Scott Baker (Honda).
The AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship events at the Daytona Flat Track will be broadcast by SPEED Channel on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 p.m.