Mikey Rush strengthened his bid in the AFT Singles title chase with his second-straight podium with the Estenson Racing team at Round 3 of the American Flat Track season on Friday night at the Indy Mile. His young teammate Dallas Daniels charged back from a fourth-row grid position to finish 10th. The AFT SuperTwins team had a tough end to the evening with Kolby Carlile having to come back from a get off in his Semi to finish 15th in the Main Event and JD Beach retiring early with a technical issue.
Rush showed speed straight away with a strong performance in his Semi, leading most of the laps but coming just shy of the win by .028 of a second. In the Main Event, he got a great launch off the front row in second. He moved to the front on lap seven and tried to break away, but then found himself locked in another heated AFT Singles battle and exchanged the lead a couple of times. As the laps wore on in the 10-minute-plus-two-lap race, it became a four-rider drafting war. On the last lap, the rider in fourth drafted to the front in Turn 3, and in the run to the finish line Rush ended the night third in another close finish. The Californian’s result moved him into second in the standings, three points behind the leader.
Coming off of a spectacular victory at the previous round at the Volusia Half-Mile, Daniels got his day off to a great start and was the fastest qualifier going into the evening program. Unfortunately, the track conditions changed from a cushion to a single groove, making for fewer line choices on the track. The 17-year-old struggled with the change and had to work his way back through to eighth so that he could transfer to the Main Event. Knowing what he had ahead of him, Daniels got off to a flying start coming from the fourth row of the grid to 12th. He kept pushing his way forward up to eighth but found himself fighting for position while the riders up front had already extended their gap. The Illinois rider then focused on maintaining a top-10 finish to add to his points tally.
The change in track conditions also presented challenges for the AFT Twins team. On the first lap of the Semi, Carlile went down into Turn 3 to avoid collecting other riders. The “Flying Tomato” was able to restart the race, but his bike was damaged and he had to jump on his backup bike. He managed a seventh-place finish to start the Main next to his teammate on the fourth row and ended the night 15th to score some points.
His teammate Beach got off to a good start in the Main in seventh. From there, the multi-time road race champion started to lose some ground until ultimately having to retire early on lap five.
The Estenson Racing looks forward to another go at the Indy Mile later today for Round 4 of the American Flat Track season at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Tommy Hayden – Estenson Racing Team Manager
“We had a solid day with the 450 team. Both guys were running really well in practice with Dallas qualifying first, but he struggled a little bit after qualifying. We’ll try to figure that out and do better. Mikey had a good semi and came through with the podium in the Main. He rode really well. I know he wants to win one of these, but he’s got good, consistent finishes so far and I think a win is right around the corner for him.
“On the Twins side, it was definitely not the day we hoped for. We struggled more than we expected here. There were a couple of things that kind of caught us off guard a little bit. I hope that we can put our heads together overnight and come up with something a little bit better and make a better show tomorrow.”
Mikey Rush – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“It was one heck of a race, for sure. We went back and forth pretty much the whole time. I led it consistently for a couple of laps. I thought I broke away a little bit, but I didn’t. I was really happy with my motorcycle. I was getting through the corners so well, but it’s a draft battle in the 450 class. It was hard to break away. Overall, I’m just happy. Everyone on the Estenson crew is awesome. They’re working so hard. We have a great group of people and I’m super happy to be a part of it. It was a good start to the weekend, a good start to the year, I should say. We’ve always got tomorrow to improve and try and get that win.”
Dallas Daniels – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“It started out really well with being the fastest qualifier. Earlier today, the track was different from yesterday’s practice. It was a little bit more of a cushion, so you could ride anywhere you wanted to. Then we went out for the Semi and the track was completely different. It was just like yesterday. It just took me too long to adapt to it. I was able to squeak into the Main Event. It sucks with what happened, how the track just changed on us like that, but it’s just something that we have got to deal with.
“We knew what we were getting into for the Main and knew we needed to get a good start and get out front and try to get around as many guys in the first couple laps as possible because they stay bunched up. I got my way up to eighth, but I was struggling a little bit in three and four. At that point in the Main event, we needed to try to salvage as many points as possible. I’m not trying to worry about the championship too much, but we definitely need to work on our Semi game. It would definitely be nice to be up on the first two rows to make it easy on ourselves. We’ll come back tomorrow and hope for a top-five.”
Kolby Carlile – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“It was definitely not what we were thinking going into the whole deal. I finally had a good qualifying today, the first qualifying session today. I felt pretty good and then the track went away. It went to a single-notch groove. Earlier it was more of a cushion where you could ride the whole thing. In the Semi I had a really good start and the guys checked up big time going into three. I had no choice but to lay it down. So that wasn’t very good. I wrecked my A bike, so I hopped on my backup bike and finished the Semi. In the Main Event, I just wasn’t there. We just didn’t have the speed tonight, but we’ll put our heads down and try to come up with a solution for tomorrow.”
JD Beach – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“Today was frustrating. We started the day off decent when the track was kind of cut up and rough. We could get some bite down with the dirt, but just throughout the day as the track got brushed off it just kind of got hard to find grip. We made some big changes and felt like we started getting the bike a little bit better, and then in the Main Event, we had an issue and had to pull in. It’s not what we were wanting. It’s frustrating, but I think we’ve learned some stuff and hopefully, we can apply it tomorrow. The whole team is working really hard to try and make this bike better. We’re throwing everything at it. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”