BARBERVILLE, Fla. – Five-time Grand National champion Jared Mees notched the 50th premier-class victory of his American Flat Track career with a second dominant win at Volusia Speedway Park in Saturday’s Volusia Half-Mile II presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.
The 50 that may be more relevant to Mees at the moment, however, is the 50 points he logged with his season-opening double victory that launched his AFT SuperTwins presented by Vance & Hines title campaign in perfect form.
Mees actually started from the second row this time around, allowing reigning AFT SuperTwins Champion Briar Bauman a chance to make an early escape of his own after Mees’ Friday disappearing act.
However, Mees worked fast, slashing through the field, and ultimately, Bauman less than three minutes into the Main Event. Mees steadily built his advantage up to just over a second as the two encountered lapped traffic and managed that gap to the checkered flag.
“What an amazing night,” Mees said. “We struggled in the Semi; we gambled with the set-up and just went backwards. Kenny Tolbert and Bubba Bentkey worked their magic for the Main and the motorcycle was hooked up so good off the corners thanks to Jimmy Wood with Öhlins Suspension. Those guys got me so hooked for the entire weekend, and I came in so hungry.”
Brandon Robinson dueled with Sammy Halbert for third over the race’s opening half before clearing off to a lonely podium finish. It was a supremely gritty performance on the part of Robinson, who not only managed to finish third following 38 laps in sweltering conditions, but did so just seven weeks after breaking his ankle.
Halbert got swallowed up by a charging Brandon Price, but managed to retake fourth as they went back and forth while weaving past slower riders. Price actually found himself dropped back to sixth at the flag, as Davis Fisher joined their fight late and stole away fifth position.
In AFT Singles action, Dallas Daniels rebounded from failing to make Friday’s feature by winning Saturday’s main event.
Even better, the win came following one of the most entertaining and hectic races in AFT Singles history. An eight-rider pack fought for the lead throughout the eight-minute regulation of the Main, with Daniels, Chad Cose and Mikey Rush all taking turns at the front with countless passes for position just behind.
Just as the timer clicked 0:00 to set up a final two-lap shootout to decide the winner, the red flag waved. As a result, Daniels took point in a staggered restart, lining up just ahead of teammate Rush and Shayna Texter.
Once the race resumed, Rush sought a way past teammate Daniels but instead found himself displaced by Texter entering turn one on the final lap. Daniels pumped his fist as he closed on the checkered flag, unaware that Texter had a run on him as well.
Despite the near disaster, Daniels held on to the redemptive win by a scant .020 seconds at the stripe, even though Texter’s final charge marked the fastest lap of the night between the three competitors.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve won a national, and last night we didn’t even qualify for the Main Event,” Daniels said. “It’s just awesome to have this great team behind me. We’ve got our work cut out for us now, but we’re going to make a fight for this championship — I think we showed that tonight. I’m just pumped.”
Early-race leader Cose finished fourth, followed by Brandon Kitchen.
Reigning AFT Production Twins champion Cory Texter registered a blowout victory to put himself atop the points order in the class.
Cory Texter grabbed the holeshot and never looked back. James Rispoli and Ryan Varnes raced in close formation behind the leader over the contest’s opening half, but Cory Texter slowly broke their challenge and powered to 3.244-second margin of victory.
Cory Texter’s lopsided win was reminiscent of the three consecutive victories he logged to kick off his triumphant ‘19 campaign. It also provided strong evidence that he’s rediscovered the mojo he spent much of the latter half of last year looking to reclaim.
An emotional Texter dedicated the race to his best friend and title-winning mechanic, Jon Reid, who passed away last November, and another good friend in Jess Garcia, who died this past Wednesday.
“Last night felt a bonus to me because I knew how badly we were struggling,” Texter said. “And the first couple of sessions out today, we were really struggling again. But I have to say, I just have a lot of confidence in my team and in myself. And with all the hard work we put in, I’m just going to battle all year long. There’s no quit.”