How to Watch & What to Watch: Lima Half-Mile

How to Watch & What to Watch - Lima Half-Mile [678]

DAYOTNA BEACH, FL 0 June 28, 2024 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – FloRacing is the live streaming home of Progressive American Flat Track. Complete coverage of this Saturday’s Lima Half-Mile at the Allen County Fairgrounds will kick off with the day’s first practice session at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT). Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action live at http://flosports.link/aft. 

FOX Sports coverage of the Lima Half-Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 6, at 10:00 a.m. ET (7:00 a.m. PT). 

Bridgeport Recap

Event Rewind: Bridgeport Half-Mile Main Event Highlights

What to watch

“Whoa, We’re Halfway There…”

Eight rounds down, eight to go. And of a very different composition, there’s little guarantee the second half will politely stay on the rails laid down by the half that preceded it.

Following an opening eight rounds made up of five Short Tracks and three Half-Miles, the second half is constructed like a compact, self-contained Grand National Championship, sporting three Miles, two TTs, two Half-Miles, and one Short Track. As a result, the stretch run will reward all-around skill while magnifying any weaknesses.

But that’s still to come. For now, we’ll use this opportunity to reflect on, and take stock of, what’s transpired to this point.

Rider of the Half: Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750)

Recent bias, you say? Perhaps a touch, but Brandon Robinson certainly made his argument. This is not a claim he has been the best rider (more on that in a bit) thus far in ‘24, but he’s been close. And more than anyone else, he’s used the moment to strengthen his position.

Even on level terms, Robinson stands tall; he’s first in wins, second in points, and tied for second in total podiums.

After years of trying to make the leap up to the top group, a minor regression in ‘23 saw him tumble back into second group. He’s bounced back stronger than ever this season, already equaling his best-ever campaign in terms of victories and kicks off the second half of the season just 14 points out of the Grand National Championship lead.

He’ll need to maintain (and even improve upon) his consistency over the next eight races – a huge challenge even before taking the two TTs into consideration – if he wants to successfully complete an upset bid for the crown. But whatever happens, Robinson has already locked up a successful season, outperforming expectations while just flat-out performing.

Most Outstanding Rider of the Half: Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT)

As good as Robinson has been, it’s Dallas Daniels who has stood on the podium at every round, and it’s Dallas Daniels who now stands atop the points standings.

In fact, his form has been historically great on a couple fronts (as laid out in the ‘By the Numbers’ section below). It’s hard to argue that the Estenson Racing Yamaha star isn’t the best all-around and most consistent rider in the paddock at the moment.

If he has any room left for improvement, it’s as a late-race closer. But that should come with experience and a more nuanced understanding of the line separating fair from foul with the checkered flag on the line.

He’ll likely need to solve Springfield if he hopes to seal his first Grand National Championship, but if he does, it will likely be the first of many.

Rider to Watch in the Second Half: Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750)

With an unprecedented tenth Grand National Championship on the line and the prospect of impending retirement in the air, reigning king Jared Mees will be under the spotlight as the title fight rages to its conclusion.

And it sets up nicely for the champ.

Daniels figures to be the favorite at the TTs, but those tend to be unpredictable, and Mees is certainly good enough over jumps and around right-handers to minimize whatever damage his rival may hope to inflict.

Beyond that, however, the factory Indian ace will be the firm favorite at all three Miles, the two remaining Half-Miles are at venues in which he’s taken a combined nine prior wins, and the finale will take place in the Short Track discipline in which he’s poised to move into a tie for most career victories with just one more triumph.

Mees is a fierce competitor, proven under pressure, and arguably the strongest title fighter the sport has ever seen; he doesn’t just understand that line separating fair from foul better than anyone else, he defines it.

Wild Card: Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke)

Briar Bauman remains a massive talent and has enjoyed fleeting moments of dominance on the KTM. That said, it’s been a season-and-a-half spent on a development rollercoaster, lacking the sort of obvious and steady progress an outside observer would need to accurately gauge if he’ll be fighting for first or fifth when he lines up for any given Main Event.

Once everything does click into place and Bauman is in full control of a more refined mount, he has the same sort of ability as Daniels to land on the podium week-in and week-out regardless of discipline or conditions.

There’s just no telling exactly that will happen. Who knows? Perhaps it’ll be this weekend.

Merits Additional Monitoring: Royal Enfield

Indian, Yamaha, and KTM have all taken wins on the season. Meanwhile, Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Dodge Bros. Racing/Castrol Harley-Davidson XR750), Max Whale (No. 18 Latus Motors Racing/Liqui Moly Harley-Davidson XG750R), Billy Ross (No. 29 Mission Foods/Digitale Kawasaki Ninja 650), and Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson/Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda Transalp) have made sure Harley-Davidson, Kawasaki, and Honda have had their moments in the spotlight as well.

That said, the situation at Royal Enfield is arguably the most fascinating, especially with Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) speaking candidly about the possibility of shifting his focus more heavily to the management side of things, and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650) putting the bike on the box in his first attempt.

Rider of the Half & Most Outstanding Rider of the Half: Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F)

What’s left to say that hasn’t been said ten times over? Kody Kopp is already the most decorated rider in Parts Unlimited AFT Singles history and is currently assembling its single greatest season.

The second half figures to ratchet up the difficulty level for Kopp. That’s fine… he’s probably looking forward to a greater challenge right about now as he begins to prepare to step up a weight class.

Rider to Watch in the Second Half: Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F)

The first eight races of his second full Progressive AFT season has seen Tom Drane rack up six podiums, including a pair of wins. It’s difficult to frame that as anything but a smashing success except when viewed through the lens that compares him directly with Kopp – and that’s the lens that’s most handy at the moment.

That said, Drane could be primed for a huge second half. While Kopp stacked up a massive points lead in an opening eight rounds made up solely of the two disciplines in which he’s historically great, the Australian actually holds a 6-1 career head-to-head advantage over Kopp when it comes to the Miles and TTs.

And with Kopp both tempted to manage his points lead and start considering his premier-class future, Drane could do some serious damage.

Wild Card: Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R)

Chase Saathoff is a major league talent who has delivered strong results yet with room yet to grow.

Still learning to cope with changing conditions and decreasing grip, Saathoff will be a nightmare for any and all class contenders once he figures out how to be as fast at the end of races as he is at the beginning.

Every weekend inches him a little closer to unlocking those secrets.

Merits Additional Monitoring: Evan Renshaw (No. 265 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R)

Heralded rookie Evan Renshaw has enjoyed a solid if unspectacular rookie season. On the one hand, he’s been consistently outperformed by his teammate and training partner, Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), aboard equal equipment. On the other, he’s already collected 69 points, more in eight races than last year’s Rookie of the Year, Declan Bender, accumulated in 18.

But even if he hasn’t set the world ablaze quite yet, it feels like he’s got a flamethrower hidden behind his back. Renshaw has had his moments that make you think he could go from a rider ranked outside the championship top ten with zero career top fives to his name to a Parts Unlimited AFT Singles Main Event winner in as little as eight minutes (and two laps).

by the numbers

By the Numbers: Mission AFT SuperTwins

Milestones in Play

Several significant historical milestones are within reach before the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season concludes.

Jared Mees is actively hunting for an unprecedented tenth Grand National Championship. That quest could also potentially spur him into a tie for first place in career Short Track victories, second place all-time in both overall Main Event wins and Mile victories, while pushing his career Half-Mile wins record further out of reach.

However, if Brandon Robinson were to win the Lake Ozark Short Track finale, he would climb into a tie with Mees and Jake Johnson for third all-time in the discipline.

Here’s a round-up of where things stand in those categories:

Grand National Championships

  • Scott Parker/Jared Mees: 9 
  • Chris Carr: 7
  • Carroll Resweber: 4
  • 7 riders tied at 3

Main Event Wins  

  • Scott Parker: 94
  • Chris Carr: 78
  • Jared Mees: 74
  • Jay Springsteen: 43
  • Ricky Graham: 39

Mile Wins

  • Scott Parker: 55
  • Chris Carr: 29
  • Jared Mees: 27 
  • Bubba Shobert/Bryan Smith: 25

Half-Mile Wins

  • Jared Mees: 37
  • Scott Parker: 35
  • Will Davis: 26
  • Chris Carr: 25
  • Kenny Coolbeth: 23

Short Track Wins

  • Chris Carr/Henry Wiles: 9
  • Jake Johnson/Jared Mees: 8
  • Brandon Robinson: 7

Dallas Daniels has a shot at history himself. He is now seven consecutive top threes away from establishing the longest podium streak in the sport’s modern history (dating back to 2010, the year the GNC was reunified).

Meanwhile, his average finishing position is also on pace to have a strong claim as the best in modern history.

Podium Streak (2010-Present)

  • Jared Mees: 14 (2023)
  • Dallas Daniels: 13 (2023)
  • Jared Mees: 11 (2018)
  • Jared Mees: 10 (2017-2018)
  • Jared Mees (2021)/Briar Bauman (2020)/Jared Mees (2016-2017): 9
  • Jared Mees (2019-2020)/Dallas Daniels (2024 – IN PROGRESS): 8
  • Briar Bauman (2021)/Briar Bauman (2019)/Briar Bauman: (2019 – again): 7

Average Finishing Position (Single Season, 2010-Present)

  • Jared Mees* 1.47 (2017)
  • Dallas Daniels 2.0 (2024 – IN PROGRESS)
  • Jared Mees 2.11 (2023)
  • Briar Bauman 2.26 (2020)
  • Jared Mees** (2020)/Dallas Daniels** (2023): 2.33

*Mees failed to qualify at Lima. When factored in by placing him one position behind last place, it drops his AFP from 1.47 to 2.44.

**Did not win the championship

By the Numbers: Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Milestones in Play

Kody Kopp is in the process of completely rewriting the record books in the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles class. At his current trajectory, he’ll close out the 2024 season with the most titles, Main Event wins, Half-Mile wins, Short Track wins, wins in a single season, and best single-season average finishing position in class history.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles Championships

  • Dallas Daniels/Kody Kopp: 2
  • 11 riders tied with 1

Main Event Wins

  • Kody Kopp: 20
  • Shayna Texter-Bauman: 19
  • Dalton Gauthier/Dallas Daniels: 13
  • Ryan Wells: 9

Half-Mile Wins

  • Shayna Texter-Bauman/Kody Kopp: 11
  • Dallas Daniels: 5
  • 4 riders tied with: 4

Short Track Wins

  • Kody Kopp: 8
  • Dallas Daniels: 6
  • Dalton Gauthier: 5
  • Brad Baker/Gerit Callies/Dan Bromley: 3

Average Finishing Position (Single Season)

  • Kody Kopp: 1.63 (2024 – IN PROGRESS)
  • Jeffrey Carver, Jr.: 2.67 (2010)
  • Ryan Wells: 2.71 (2016)
  • Kody Kopp: 2.81 (2022)
  • Dallas Daniels 3.00* (2020)
  • Kody Kopp 3.44 (2023)

*Daniels failed to qualify for the season-opening Main Event in Daytona. When factored in by placing him one position behind last place, it drops his AFP from 3.00 to 4.00.

Single Season Wins:

  • Dallas Daniels (2019)/Kody Kopp (2023): 8
  • Kody Kopp (2022): 7
  • Michael Avila (2011): 6
  • Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (2010)/Ryan Wells (2016)/Shayna-Texter Bauman (2017)/Max Whale (2021)/Kody Kopp (2024 – IN PROGRESS): 5

championship standings

SuperTwins Standings 8

Singles Standings 8

About Progressive American Flat Track: 

Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on Progressive American Flat Track, please visit us on the web, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on FOX Sports. 

Source: Progressive American Flat Track

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