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Hoosier Riders Produce Solid Results in MotoAmerica Support Class Races Saturday

As motorcycle racing returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway with MotoAmerica Superbikes at the Brickyard on the 16-turn, 2.591-mile motorcycle road course, several Indiana natives looked to join an exclusive club of Hoosier winners at the Racing Capital of the World.

Between six MotoAmerica classes, four riders that hail from the state of Indiana competed as they attempted to win their hometown race and join NASCAR Xfinity Series star Chase Briscoe as Indiana natives to win at IMS in 2020.

However, the Racing Capital of the World proved to be a challenging track for the four riders who have never raced at IMS.


Supersport


Indianapolis native Nolan Lamkin was the sole Hoosier to compete in the 16-lap Supersport race, and he had the best finish of any Indiana native competing Saturday at IMS.

Wearing a special Indianapolis-themed helmet that featured the downtown Indianapolis skyline and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, the 19-year-old started 13th and finished 11th on the No. 52 Cycle Gear Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. Lamkin said that while today’s result wasn’t the best, it gives him optimism for Sunday’s second Supersport race of the weekend.

“Today was a lot better,” Lamkin said of the weekend. “We made continuous setup changes, and it worked pretty good. We dropped a second from qualifying to the race, but overall, we’ve been making steps.

“Tomorrow, I’m really excited because we’ve been able to make steady progress. My goal is top five. So, we came up short on that today. I was able to hold on to some of those guys up front. We’re optimistic. I wouldn’t say we’re happy, but we know what we need to do to improve.”

Lamkin said the biggest challenge he felt on the racetrack was in the quick back-and-forth corners throughout the racetrack, often called the “esses.” Most notably, Lamkin struggled to get through Turns 6, 7, 8 and 9, as well as Turns 14, 15 and 16.

“The biggest thing I was having was flicking the bike in the ‘esses,’” he said. “The bike was very lazy. So, when I was behind other people, I noticed that’s where they were gapping me. The gap from first to where I am is really close, so we just need to find a little bit more and we should be pretty good.”


Stock 1000


The Stock 1000 race on IMS’ motorcycle road course featured the most Indiana natives in one race: three.

The group was led by Indianapolis native Christian Guffy, who competed in his first-ever MotoAmerica race. He surged from the 20th starting position to finish 15th in the No. 227 Guffy Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000.

“It went great,” Guffy said. “We were fighting rear grip issue and had a great start. We were up to about 11th and dropped a couple places after bad drives out of corners. Unfortunately, we only have one race. If we had another race, I think we could’ve solved those issues.”

Guffy, a father of five who does not race motorcycles as a full-time job, said his goal was to finish in the top 15. He accomplished that goal and also achieved a dream of racing on the most famous racecourse in the world.

“I’ve been to a dozen “500’s” or so and a bunch of the INDYCAR road races, but coming in on Thursday not as a spectator but as a racer was pretty surreal,” Guffy said. “It was a really cool experience to run down the frontstretch and past the Pagoda. It was one of those ‘pinch me’ moments.”

Corey Heflin, who hails from Kokomo, started 14th and was poised for a top-10 run. But a costly mistake hindered his chances for a solid result, and he finished 22nd riding the No. 21 Heflin Racing Yamaha YZF-R1.

Heflin was penalized for an improper start after he slightly inched forward as he waited for the race to begin. Heflin stopped after his nudge forward, but he was handed a pass-thru penalty on Lap 8 for the infraction while running 11th, ending his bid for a top-10 finish.

“Up to that point we were doing good, fighting for a top 10, which is our goal every weekend,” Heflin said. “Tenth place was right in front of us. I don’t know if he was getting slower or I was getting faster, but I was reeling him in. We definitely would’ve been fighting for it at the end.”

Heflin was competing in the final MotoAmerica event of his career. He expected his goodbye performance to be a better show, but it’s up to his imagination to decide what could have been.

“It’s bittersweet,” he said. “The weekend went really well. I guess I had higher expectations because I’ve been here so long. I think I was naive thinking because (the course) is flat that it would be easier to figure out. We trimmed five seconds from Friday, which was really good.”

Josh Gerardot, from Fort Wayne, started 21st and climbed two spots to 19th by the time the checkered flag waved, riding the No. 999 Josh Gerardot Racing Kawasaki ZX-10R.

While Guffy, Heflin and Gerardot are done for the weekend, Lamkin will take on the IMS road course once again on Sunday as the Supersport class competes in its second race of the weekend at 1:10 p.m. HONOS Superbike, Liqui Moly Junior Cup and Heritage Series classes also will compete again Sunday. Tickets are available at IMS.com.

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