DAYTONA, Fla. - Mikey Rush slipped past Brad Baker to win the AMA Pro Flat Track Presented By J&P Cycles Expert Main Event on Thursday night at the Daytona Flat Track.
Baker seemed to have firm control of the 25-lap, 18-rider event but Rush, who started ninth, soared through the field aboard his Honda and took the lead in Turn 4 on Lap 19. The margin of victory was .945 seconds.
“I love Daytona,” said Rush, whose previous Expert Main Event win came at Daytona in 2007. “This place is special to me.
“I was watching what he (Baker) was doing. I made (the pass) stick. I just tried to put down some smooth laps after that.”
Baker, also riding a Honda, said he was struggling with the front end on entry into the turns
“It was so close but so far away,” said Baker, who settled for second.
Jared Mees, who earned the overall Grand National Championship title as well as the GNC Singles championship in 2012, rounded out the podium on a Honda.
“When I saw Mike, I thought, ‘he’s going to win this thing,’ ” Mees said. “I’m happy for Mike. He deserves that win.”
Rush spent much of last season recovering from racing injuries and only competed in select GNC Expert Singles events.
In a tight battle in the 16-lap, 18-rider Pro Main event, Wisconsin rider Kyle Johnson on a Kawasaki won his first-ever Pro Main event.
Johnson led the final six laps of the race after passing the Honda of third-place finisher Mike Poe.
“I got a descent hole shot,” Johnson said. “He (Poe) got tired a bit. The bike ran great.”
Finishing second was another Honda rider Jason Isennock.
“It was a good old fashion race,” Isennock said.
The six-lap Expert Dash For Cash, featuring the top two riders in each of the Expert Heats, was won by Mees, who pocketed $1,000 for the win.
Riders winning the 10-lap Expert Heats were Brandon Robinson (Kawasaki), Jethro Halbert (Suzuki) and Jake Johnson (Honda). In the Expert semifinals, Matt Weidman (Honda) and Briar Bauman (Yamaha).
The AMA Pro Flat Track Presented by J&P Cycles events at the Daytona Flat Track will be broadcast by SPEED on Sunday, March 17 at 6 p.m.