SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (September 5, 2021) – Progressive American Flat Track legend Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) overcame a checkered flag challenge from rival Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to reign victorious in Sunday’s Memphis Shades Springfield Mile I presented by Law Tigers at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois.
Five minutes into the 14-minute-plus-two-lap Main, an early eight-rider lead group had whittled down to a six-rider pack consisting of Mees, Bauman, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750), Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750). It would remain that way for the bulk of the contest.
A final lap showdown between Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle title rivals Mees and Bauman only took shape once the race dipped under the three-minute mark. Vanderkooi was the first to drop out with a mechanical issue. Halbert would follow for the same reason with less than a minute on the clock, while Price simply could no longer hold the pace at that point.
Then Robinson lost touch with the draft as the leaders took the final lap, leaving just Mees and Bauman to determine the victor.
While Mees and Robinson had swapped the lead back and forth throughout much of the race, defending double Mission SuperTwins Champion Bauman showed off a high-low line late that provided him a potential pathway to glory. Indeed, he attempted to replicate it in Turns 3 and 4 on the final lap but came up just inches short of slotting ahead of Mees as they streaked toward the checkered flag.
Mees then held on to win by 0.116 seconds with Robinson rounding out the podium another 0.205 seconds back.
The victory was Mees’ sixth-career Springfield Mile triumph, including four of the last five. Referencing the fact that he and his wife, Nichole, will also serve as the race promoter for the series’ crown jewel event starting in 2022, he said, “I love the Springfield Mile. I figured if I’m gonna own it, I’ve got to win it, right?”
A frustrated Bauman made it clear in Victory Circle that he considered Mees’ tactics unsafe and added that his plan would be to “not get mad, get even” in Monday’s rematch.
Robinson’s teammate, Price, finished fourth with an impressive Kolby Carlile (No. 36 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) collecting his third-career premier-class top-five in what proved to be an attrition-filled Main.
Included in that list of DNFs were high-profile wild cards Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (No. 23 Happy Trails Racing/DPC Racing/Bryan Bigelow Indian FTR750) and Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Indian FTR750), who were both early retirements.
AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines
Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) continues to check off items from his boyhood bucket list as he marches his way to Progressive AFT superstardom. The 18-year-old prodigy dominated the Springfield Mile in his first attempt, winning Sunday’s AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event.
The victory follows his Friday AFT Singles sweep, setting the stage for a possible Springfield quadruple come Monday’s Springfield Mile II. And if that wasn’t enough, Daniels also pocketed an extra $5000 for winning the Memphis Shades Babe DeMay Challenge dash for cash.
Daniels now boasts two wins and a runner-up finish in his three career AFT Production Twins starts.
He said, “I’ve been dreaming a long time just to race the racetrack, let alone win it and break the draft. It was a fairy-tale day — fast qualifier, win the Semi, win the dash, and win the Main Event. It’s insane. I can’t believe I won the Springfield Mile. There’s a lot of bad dudes that have won here, and my name is on the list. Now I want to win it in the big class too.”
Vance & Hines’ talented trio gave chase early before settling into a strong 2-3-4 finish. Second-place went to Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Vance & Hines/Mission Foods Harley-Davidson XG750R), who adopted Daniels’ low line to power away from his temporary teammates, while Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) drafted past Jesse Janisch (No. 96 Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) at the line to secure the final spot on the box.
Tanner Dean (No. 38 Racing Unlimited Kawasaki/Bel Ray Oils Kawasaki Ninja 650) inherited fifth after Jeremiah Duffy (No. 42 Sammy O Racing/Geiger Construction Kawasaki Ninja 650) encountered issues, leaving Cose as the only class regular to finish in the top five.
As a result, an uncharacteristic seventh-place finish on the part of Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing MT-07) was actually a positive day for his championship campaign, especially with Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R) still on the mend and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07) suffering a mechanical problem of his own.
Texter is now 59 points up on Gauthier and 65 up on Bromley, making a Monday championship clinch an unlikely-but-not-impossible scenario.
The Memphis Shades Springfield Mile I & II presented by Law Tigers will premiere back-to-back on NBCSN on Sunday, September 12, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The Springfield Short Track Doubleheader will air one week later on NBCSN, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Both broadcasts will feature exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.
Progressive AFT’s Labor Day Weekend dirt track extravaganza will conclude on Monday with the final event of the Springfield double-doubleheader, the Memphis Shades Springfield Mile II presented by Law Tigers. To purchase your tickets online, visit https://www.americanflattrack.com/events/2021/view/springfield-mile-i-2021. For those viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
For more information, please visit http://www.americanflattrack.com. To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.