INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler O’Hara responded brilliantly to Saturday’s disappointment with a bounce-back victory in Sunday’s second AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series contest to conclude the Red Bull Indianapolis GP weekend.
The JCR/Srubblade/Bartel’s Harley-Davidson ace took the checkered flag in trademark Superman fashion after escaping to a 1.891-second margin of victory, an advantage he had worked up to nearly four seconds before cruising to his one-sided win.
However, in the race’s opening stages, it looked as if it would be MOB Racing/K Tech/Orient Express/Moroney’s P.J. Jacobsen who earned redemption. The gifted wild card was motivated to score a big result after he was initially believed to be the victor in yesterday’s abbreviated race, only to be dropped down the order after an AMA Pro investigation determined his bike caused the race-ending red flag.
Jacobsen got off to an exceptional start in his bid to win on Sunday, slicing into the lead on the opening lap and opening up a 1.873-second advantage over O’Hara before crashing from the lead and ultimately out of the contest on lap four.
O’Hara took full advantage of Jacobsen’s misfortune and quickly broke free of a pack of pursuers that consisted of yesterday’s winner, Kyle Wyman (KLR Group/Spyke’s Harley-Davidson/Vesrah Racing), Supermoto ace Benny Carlson (Suburban Harley-Davidson), and his teammate, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike standout Bobby Fong, who made a spirited charge just to join the podium fight.
While O’Hara worked up his cushion in first, Wyman, Carlson, and Fong repeatedly swapped positions in a wide variety of ways, from hard braking overtaking to double-drafting maneuvers.
XR Showdown leader Wyman narrowly came out on top for the runner-up spot when the trio’s last-lap tactics were put to the test. Carlson scored the final position on the podium by a scant 0.070 seconds ahead of the fast-learning Fong.
O’Hara’s dominant win came as a much-needed result as he’s facing an early deficit in the $60,000 XR Showdown following Saturday’s crash and subsequent 12th-place finish.
After claiming another victory at the fabled Brickyard where he earned his maiden AMA Pro win one year ago, O’Hara said, “It was really awesome. I felt like yesterday I got a little bit unlucky that we were able to restart the race after the red flag. I had some bad luck, and that’s not a good way to start the chase. So now, my goal is to win every race here on out to stay in the hunt. It’s going to be tough no matter what.
“P.J. was riding awesome, and Kyle and Benny were up there. P.J. tucked the front and crashed, and I just put my head down. I built up a nice gap and was just monitoring the gap through my pit board.
“It’s just awesome. From yesterday and how it went, to rebound like that feels really good. This place is really special to me — I got my first win here a year ago and, ever since, it’s just sort of been a blur.”
Carlson said, “Yesterday was kind of a gift, but today I think we earned the podium position. I think we had the speed to get second place — I just had a little trouble getting off the corners and getting down the straights. Kyle is a bit lighter than me, so he gets down the straightaways pretty good, so the only option I had was to go really deep on the straights, and I did that four or five times. We battled all race, and I had a lot of fun.”
Michael Barnes, who made his debut with the KLR Group/Spyke’s Harley-Davidson/Vesrah Racing squad at Indy, finished a lonely fifth.
The veteran pilot crossed the stripe some seven seconds off the podium and more than 2.5 seconds clear of an intense scrap for sixth behind him.
That spot went to XP Motorsport’s Michael Corbino following a race-long tussle with long-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike hero Steve Crevier (MotoSport Plus Harley-Davidson) and Travis Wyman (Harv’s Harley-Davidson).
Barrett Long (Longevity Racing) edged Shane Narbonne (Teterboro Rams LLC) by 0.016 for ninth while David Estok (Ruthless Racing) finished just 0.378 seconds outside the top 10.