The Chicago Half-Mile in Joliet, IL was quite the nostalgic track for me. We had not been to Joliet since 2007 where I last won and where my wife Nichole made her first Grand National main event. The track as I remember was in really good condition. After practice and qualifying the knee wasn’t too bad. It had improved a lot since Atlanta.
I got a good start in the Semi and ended up in the lead. The Mission Dash for Cash got dicey really quick and I got shuffled back to 3rd after getting the hole shot. Some of the lines started to change and I wasn’t catching on quickly.
The main event was absolute chaos in the beginning. There were bikes and riders going in all different directions using every line there was. I started using the really low line that I used in the Semi. Briar was using this line and he seemed to be working well on it, so I followed him and picked up on something off turn four that he wasn’t using and started to make my way towards the front of the tight pack.
Brandon Robinson was using a higher line for most of the race so far, but as I kept after Briar’s line going into turn one, I came down hard on my front wheel. I was already into the corner deep and got hooked onto Brandon’s back wheel and couldn’t get off. I thought for sure I was going to high side and all things considering it appeared I should of. Somehow it spun Brandon out like you would spin a Go-Kart out and I stayed upright. It was an unfortunate situation as Brandon was going riding well.
After the red flag we lined back up and went after it again. I was trailing Briar for a good bit of the race trying to not just match his pace, but to gain something and that is where the mistakes came in. The harder I tried to gain something the further I would drop back to the point where Jarod Vanderkooi came around me putting me in 3rd, where I would stay for the remainder of the race. I was okay with the result, especially after the weeks I had prior to this with the knee injury. I knew that a couple weeks off before OKC was the key to moving forward.