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Pegram Completes First Sweep in Topeka

TOPEKA, Kan. (August 2, 2009) - Larry Pegram (No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R) scored his first career weekend sweep in AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited competition Sunday in the Tornado Nationals presented by BriggsAuto.com at Heartland Park Topeka.В  All of Sunday's action from Topeka can be seen in a two-hour show on SPEED tonight at Midnight ET (9 p.m. PT).В 
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As he did in Saturday's final, Pegram led every lap from the start for a convincing win that was his third victory of the season.В  Unlike yesterday's race when the Ducati was the clear class of the field, a persistent Tommy Hayden (No.В  22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) chased Pegram to the finish on Sunday.
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"I was sweating and Tommy was all over me, he was an animal," Pegram said. "I could hear him back there, I could feel him.В  The last three laps I was riding fairly defensive.В  I was still trying to set a good pace but in the places where I knew there were opportunities to pass, I wasn't giving any room there.В  My hats off to him, I rode as hard as I possibly could and he was there the whole race."
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Hayden crossed the finish line .333 of a second behind Pegram and he has now been on the podium for half of this year's 16 races.В  Josh Hayes (No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) finished third for his third podium in the last four races after scoring a weekend victory sweep of his own one race ago at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
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"I was a lot stronger than LarryВ through two of the corners," Hayden said.В  "I didn't want to try a move until I thought I was close enough to make it.В В I tried the one spot and he got back by and I never really got close enough again through that area.В  He picked it up a bit there.В  It's kind of frustrating to keep getting this close and not get a win, but I feel like I'm learning a lot in the races.В  I have to keep doing what I'm doing, it can't be too far away."
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Hayes kept in touch with the leaders in third for the entire race and joined several other riders in giving high praise to Heartland Park Topeka owner Raymond Irwin and his staff for implementing a series of safety improvements to the 2.5-mile circuit in preparation for the first major motorcycle event in Topeka in nearly 20 years.
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"The track put in a lot of effort to help us out and I'm very thankful for the work that they did," said Hayes.В  "The bike actually worked really well.В  Somewhere in Lap 5 or 6 I made a go at the guys and kind of closed everything up and I got close.В  Even if I caught them I didn't know if I could make any moves.В  They were pretty strong everywhere that I could pass.В  I knew both of these guys want the wins really bad, just like I do.В  I just didn't have the pace to run with them there at the end.В  I'm up here on the podium.В  I think this is my first Superbike podium where I didn't win a race, so I hope we're making some in roads.В  Hopefully we'll be good at Virginia."
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Pegram also showed some appreciation for the Heartland Park officials.
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"Personally, I love this place now," Pegram said.В  "I think Heartland Park has the potential to be a really, really good race track as far as safety goes."
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The top five was completed by a pair of riders that turned in career-best results.В  Jake Holden (No. 59 Holden Racing Honda CBR1000RR) finished a solid fourth and was followed across the line by an equally impressive Taylor Knapp (No. 44 Taylor Knapp Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) who finished fifth.
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Several regular American Superbike front runners encountered a variety of problems Sunday.В  Ben Bostrom (No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) was running fourth with less than two laps to go when he pulled off course with apparent mechanical problems.В  Blake Young (No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) was in second place at the end of the opening lap but fell to an eventual eighth place finish after contact with Aaron Yates (No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000).В  In the same incident, Yates lowsided in Turn 8, the same corner where his Jordan Motorsports teammate Geoff May (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) later took a spill 10 laps later.В  Neither rider was injured.
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Mat Mladin (No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) continues to lead the American Superbike championship standings with 390 points, Hayden remains second with 307 points while Pegram has jumped from fifth to third in the standings after the Tornado Nationals with 286 points.
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Next up for American Superbike is the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at Virginia International Raceway (VIR), August 14 - 16.В  The races will be featured in a pair of same-day, two-hour telecasts on SPEED on Saturday, August 15 at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) and Sunday, August 16 at Midnight ET (9 p.m. PT).