Brad Baker scored his first career Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines victory on a Mile course on Saturday night, winning the coveted Indy Mile at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in thrilling fashion.
Baker, the 2013 Grand National Champion, used a last-lap pass to beat out two of the other brightest stars in AMA Pro Flat Track, Bryan Smith and Jared Mees. The pilot of the No. 6 Factory Harley-Davidson, has caught fire of late, winning two of the last three AMA Pro Flat Track main events, and his recent success has propelled him to fourth in the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines point standings after seven rounds.
“All I can say is, what an amazing race,” said Baker. “Great job to Jared (Mees) for coming up from the back of the pack. I had a little bit of the high-low line going on during the entire race and I really used it to my advantage on the last couple laps. It was an excellent run and I knew I had that move down with three or four laps to go. We were playing mind games out there to get position to come off of turn four and I fought hard for it and got the win. I had an amazing motorcycle underneath me tonight.”
Baker was challenged by rivals Smith and Mees throughout the entire main event. The three finished .066 of a second within each other as they crossed the finish line.
Mees took the inside line as the three dove into turns three and four on the 25th and final lap, and appeared to have a great chance at winning as the trio exited the final turn. However, Baker’s strategy to use the high line on each of the turns paid off in a massive way as he dove into the center of the track on the final trip down the front stretch and his motorcycle provided just enough power to earn him the win.
The victory was the fifth of Baker’s career, but the previous four all came on Half-Miles.
Smith, riding the No. 42 Crosley Radio Kawasaki, crossed the finish line .02 of a second behind Baker for a second place finish, bringing his streak of three-consecutive Mile victories to a halt. Smith did claim the Dash for Cash victory, though.
After a motorcycle malfunction forced him from his heat race, Mees chose to use his provisional start card to enter the main event. Starting from 19th on the grid, Mees carved through traffic aboard his backup No. 1 Las Vegas Harley-Davidson machine and led a total of 13 laps in the race.
Though it’s not the result he wanted, Mees’ third place finish keeps him sitting comfortably in the lead of the Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines points standings after seven rounds. Mees leads second place Smith by seven points (113-106).
Competing aboard the No. 91 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki, Mikey Martin put together his best performance of his career in Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines competition on Saturday night with an impressive fourth place finish.
Johnny Lewis came home in fifth at Indy on his No. 10 Lloyd Brothers Motorsports Ducati, putting three different manufacturers inside the top five.