The AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series delivered yet another barnburner -- or perhaps better put, 'Barney burner' -- at Homestead-Miami Speedway as hometown ace Michael Barnes emerged victorious at the conclusion of a race-long multi-rider brawl.
The weekend was pivotal in terms of the developing XR Showdown for a couple of reasons.
The thrilling victory of KLR Group/Spyke's H-D/Vesah Racing's Barnes over Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara has elevated the Boca Rotan resident to a scant two-point advantage lead in the Showdown over Californian O'Hara with just the New Orleans finale to decide the championship.
Secondly, it marked the end of the title bid of season-long standout Kyle Wyman. Barnes' teammate, Wyman, suffered a second concussion in the last couple of weeks, the first coming with his huge crash on the final lap at New Jersey Motorsports Park, and the most recent during a Friday session.
Wyman will sit out the season finale as a result. The unfortunate turn marks a huge turnaround from the doubleheader XR Showdown opener at Indianapolis, where Wyman grabbed a big lead early with his 1-2 weekend as Barnes and O'Hara struggled by comparison.
Besides Barnes' awesome effort to put out the last-lap win over polesitter and laps leader O'Hara, Wyman's brother, Travis, stepped up his game to put himself in the mix in Kyle's absence.
The Harv's Harley-Davidson entry led at one point and ultimately finished a close third to collect his first podium result of the season.
"It's been a real emotional rollercoaster weekend with Kyle getting hurt yesterday," Barnes said. "It affected the whole team but it made us dig that much deeper, and I know Travis was digging deeper for his brother out there too. He was riding hard. It was hard to out-brake him, but I needed to get by Travis in order to get by Tyler. I dug deep for that one."
Suburban Harley-Davidson's Benny Carlson finished with the lead group fourth and remains very much alive in the Showdown hunt. He entered the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince leading the points and leaves displaced to third, albeit just eight points removed from the lead.
With no other rider within 25 points of the XR Showdown lead, it looks like New Orleans will be a three-rider affair for the title -- although if the season leading up to the finale is any indication, the race for the win could be waged by several others as well.
Sunoco "Go the Distance" Award Update:
1. Josh Chisum - 1278.64 mi.
2. David Estock - 1248.98 mi.
3. Michael Corbino - 1200.04 mi.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing will finish the 2012 season at NOLA Motorsports Park with the Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince, scheduled to take place October 5-7. For tickets and event information, please visit www.m1powersports.com.