Progressive AFT returns to the West Virginia Motor Speedway this weekend for the first time in 17 years for the West Virginia Half-Mile. This track has an impressive history, having hosted the Grand National Championship on eight previous occasions with legendary racers like Scott Parker, Ricky Graham, and Will Davis. In 2021, the track was revamped and is now ready for the return of American Flat Track.
Jared Mees raced on West Virginia Motor Speedway back in 2006, and the Indian factory rider and 2022 AFT champ returns in the hopes of adding his 35th Half-Mile win to his record. No other current rider in the Missions SuperTwins class has experience on this track, making it hard to predict who might come out on top.
Briar Bauman will be riding the momentum of his breakthrough victory last weekend at the Lima Half-Mile, earning KTM’s first win in the premier class, but he’ll have to contend with current points leader Dallas Daniels, who has yet to finish off the podium in all 10 races this season. And Mees can never be counted out, especially when he has experience on a track other racers don’t.
Read the press release below for more details about the track, competitors, and how to catch the action.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 27, 2023) – Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, returns to West Virginia Motor Speedway for the first time in 17 years with this weekend’s All Seasons Powersports West Virginia Half-Mile in Mineral Wells, West Virginia, on Saturday July 1.
Renowned for its mountainside setting and high-speed 5/8-mile track, West Virginia Motor Speedway has hosted the Grand National Championship on eight previous occasions, all coming in the ‘90s outside of a return visit in 2006. During that run, a number of iconic riders claimed victory in the event, including the likes of Scott Parker (‘94), Ricky Graham (‘93), and Will Davis (‘92, ‘97, and ‘98). Following a multi-year closure, the track was resurrected, renovated, and reopened in 2021, paving the way for Progressive AFT’s triumphant return.
Despite the race’s proud history, the time between stops means it will be a new circuit on the tour for almost the entire field… but not the entire field.
Reigning Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Rogers Racing/SDI Racing FTR750) finished fourth when the series last visited in ‘06. Back then, he had three Half-Mile victories to his name. Now he returns with 34 and looking to add one more in order to equal Parker for most in GNC history.
That was true this past weekend in Lima as well, and he’ll be facing a similar challenge. Mission SuperTwins points leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) has proven that he should be expected to contend for victory every single weekend as he comes in riding a ten-race podium streak.
Meanwhile, two-time Mission SuperTwins champion Briar Bauman (No. 3 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 790 Duke) is also back in the business of winning. One of the sport’s all-time great Half-Milers himself, Bauman enjoyed a breakthrough ride this past weekend, hustling the Rick Ware Racing KTM 790 Duke to its maiden victory with an inspiring ride at the Lima Half-Mile.
Following a layoff of nearly two decades, not to mention recent track improvements, it’s difficult to predict exactly who’s bikes or styles might mesh best with West Virginia Motor Speedway. What is known is that JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750), Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Indian FTR750) all have what it takes to beat anyone on the planet when everything is clicking in their favor.
The same can be said of Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Fastrack Racing/2 Wheelz KTM 790 Duke), who earned his best finish yet on the Fastrack KTM with a sixth-place finish at Lima. And don’t discount the chances of Kolby Carlile (No. 36 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07), Ben Lowe (No. 25 Rackley Racing/Mission Foods Indian FTR750), Johnny Lewis (No. 10 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650), Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Fastrack Racing/2 Wheelz KTM 790 Duke), all of whom have finished inside the top five already this season.
Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER
Defending Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champion Kody Kopp (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) was less than two years old the last time Progressive AFT came to Mineral Wells, while key rivals Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) and Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) were not even one year old. But now the three rank among the fastest rising dirt track stars in the world and more than capable of putting on a spectacular show.
Kopp put his title defense back in order with a clutch victory at the Lima Half-Mile, despite the best efforts of Drane, who has won two of the season’s most recent four races.
Chase Saathoff (No. 88 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), meanwhile, is still seeking his maiden pro win despite several near misses that came in a run of five-consecutive podium finishes. His motivation was further amped up after that podium streak ended due to a mechanical DNF that left him much work to do in order to claw his way back up to Kopp in the points standings.
This trio of talented teens expect to be joined up front once again by the category’s contingent of more-experienced-but-still-young contenders, including Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F), Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450).
Meanwhile, the class’ most prominent riders old enough to have been alive during the race’s heydays in the ‘90s – namely Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F), Morgen Mischler (No. 13 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), Chad Cose (No. 49 1st Impressions Race Team/Husqvarna Racing FC450), and Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Parts Plus/Jacob Companies KTM 450 SX-F) – all come into the weekend in need of a strong result if only to remind the field exactly what they’re capable of following some relatively quiet showings n recent weeks.
How to Watch Progressive AFT
All Seasons Powersports, which is located just a mile-and-a-half from West Virginia Motor Speedway, will host a Pre-Event Open House Party at the dealership on Friday, June 30, from 4:00 p.m. ET to 7:00 p.m. ET. There fans can meet and greet Progressive AFT stars and partake in food and drinks to get the weekend started off right.
There will be plenty to keep fans entertained at the track on Saturday as well, including numerous vendors, expansive food and beverage options, and extensive motorcycle parking.
General Admission Grandstand tickets are just $40 (kids 12 and under free with a paid adult GA ticket), and Single Day-General Admission Camping Passes can be purchased for Friday and Saturday at $25 per day.
Pit Pass Upgrades are also available for purchase, which provide all-day access to the pits where fans can scope out the world’s fastest dirt track motorcycles and get up close and personal with the stars of the sport.
Click here to reserve your seats today.
Gates will open for fans at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT) with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT).
For those that can’t catch the live action from the circuit, FansChoice.tv is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action starting with Practice & Qualifying and ending with the Victory Podium at the end of the night.
FOX Sports coverage of the All Seasons Powersports West Virginia Half-Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 8, at 11:30 a.m. ET (8:30 a.m. PT).
For more information, visit the Progressive AFT website.