How to Watch & What to Watch: Yamaha Senoia Short Track

FloRacing is the live streaming home of Progressive American Flat Track. Complete coverage of this Saturday’s Yamaha Senoia Short Track at Senoia Raceway will kick off with the day’s first practice session at 4:00 p.m. ET (1:00 p.m. PT). Sign up now and catch every second of on-track action live at 

FOX Sports coverage of the Yamaha Senoia Short Track, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, March 31, at 12:30 p.m. ET (9:30 a.m. PT).


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2024 Progressive AFT Season Resumes with Yamaha Senoia Short Track

The battle for the Grand National Championship picks back up this weekend with the Yamaha Senoia Short TrackRead More

“It's Like Déjà Vu All Over Again”

Last year’s inaugural Yamaha Senoia Short Track served as a fine overture for the operatic Grand National Championship that was to come. It effectively foreshadowed and previewed the back-and-forth Mission SuperTwins title fight that was set to be waged between living legend Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750) and emerging superstar Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT).

And on that night – as in the season at large – Mees narrowly won over Daniels in the end, while the rest of the field battled for third in their wake.

This weekend’s rematch has similar potential with its key pieces arranged in a not dissimilar fashion. That said, each race is unique, with its own particular variables and conditions. No matter the outcome, there’s no certainty that this year’s trip to Senoia will serve as a retroactive summary of the eventual 2024 championship. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look for trends and clues.

For example, if Daniels comes out and dominates the event, it could provide evidence that his continued ascent has sent him into the next stratosphere, and that Mees will be facing a steep climb on his path to an unprecedented tenth Grand National Championship. (Although even if that were to transpire, you have to figure Mees would once again find a way to elevate his game yet again).

Or if, say, Mees were to leave Daniels behind with relative ease, that could provide evidence that the factory Indian ace truly is a rider of destiny and no talent no matter how bright is going to stand in the way of history. (Although, even if that were to transpire, you have to figure Daniels would respond as he’s done so consistently throughout his relatively brief professional career).

Besides, it’s not as if Mees and Daniels are the only riders who will have a say…

Escape Velocity

For a few seasons, Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) seemed to exist in a tier of his own… free and clear of the next group of podium chasers yet not quite on par with the full-blown title threats who duked it out atop the points standings.

Rather than bridge that gap to the championship fighters as hoped, in 2023, Robinson was instead absorbed back into that second group. While he managed to earn a handful of podiums, his four-year run with at least two wins and a top-five championship ranking came to an end.

One can point to multiple reasons he’s not yet reached escape velocity, including the rebalanced rules package, Daniels’ arrival, and a more specialized skillset that’s limited his points potential at the TTs.

However, Robinson has shown in the past that he is capable of stringing together a title bid given a bit of luck, momentum, and a favorable schedule. 2024 might just juice those variables in his favor with an early-season slate that plays to his strengths.

Again, one night at the track isn’t enough to predict a full season, but it’ll be interesting to see how the Mission Roof Systems pilot parlays his victorious double-podium opener at Senoia.

Parallel Development

It’s easy to forget sometimes, but Progressive American Flat Track is very much a team sport. Quite often when we speak of “Jared Mees,” it’s shorthand for Jared Mees, Kenny Tolbert, Jimmy Wood, Craig Rogers, and company.

The combination, coordination, cohesion, and collaboration of a collection of individuals that have worked in unison for more than a decade would be Mees’ secret superpower if it wasn’t so widely known… a fact Mees himself reminds the world of every time he’s interviewed following his regular trips to the podium.

One of the very few teams that has proven capable of defeating Mees and co. in a championship tilt no longer exists as a unit. Seeking a fresh start and in search of a new level, Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke) separated from long-time collaborators Dave Zanotti and Michelle Disalvo, as crew chief and mechanic, respectively.

Together since 2017, they won a pair of Grand National Championships with the Indian Wrecking Crew and scored 20 victories on three different makes of machinery (Kawasaki and KTM in addition to Indian).

Continuing with Rick Ware Racing and of unquestioned natural talent, Bauman is still expected to make his presence felt at the front, early and often in 2024.

And while it may take just a bit longer to regroup, Zanotti and Disalvo should find their way back up on the podium before too long as well. Prior to Bauman, Zanotti won championships with Jake Johnson and races with Kenny Coolbeth (ironically, both Johnson and Coolbeth are now key cogs at Rick Ware Racing).

And now post-Bauman, they have another prodigious rider at the controls in Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Mission Foods/Zanotti Racing KTM 790 Duke), whom they hope to groom and help develop in a similar fashion.

Both should continue to find success, but exactly the form it takes will be interesting to track. The divergent groups are still fielding KTM 790 Dukes, but the development paths have split cleanly in two, with Bauman now riding a heavily revised package designed by Ricky Howerton.

Other Odds and Ends

Max Whale (No. 18 Latus Motors Racing/Liqui Moly Harley-Davidson XG750R) won here quite handily on a 450. How will he fare on the Latus-tuned Harley in his first attempt at the track in the premier class?

Also of interest is the continued progress of the Honda Translap powered race bikes of Dan Bromley (No. 62 Big Red Twins sponsored by Memphis Shades & Vinson Boring) and Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Big Red Twins sponsored by Jerry Stinchfield & Vinson Boring) with a bit more time and data at the team’s disposal.

“It's Like Déjà Vu All Over Again, Again”

Over the final two-thirds of the 2023 season, Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) was every bit the match for reigning Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champion Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus/Latus Motors KTM 450 SX-F).

During that span, Drane logged 223 points, four wins, and ten podiums to Kopp’s 214 points, five wins, and seven podiums. The problem for the Aussie was the early 50-point advantage he gifted Kopp in the opening third of the ‘23 campaign.

Daytona proved that the Estenson Racing ace has picked up right where he left off in terms of form, splitting wins with his KTM-mounted rival. Unfortunately, his clean slate has already been dirtied, as a last-lap crash in Round 1 allowed Kopp to work up a quick 16-point lead over Drane headed into Senoia.

16 is not 50, nor is it too much to possibly make up with 14 rounds still in play. However, giving Kopp even the slightest margin for error is not especially beneficial for one’s title hopes.

Look Elsewhere

As in the premier-class, even if recent history makes us want to zero in on a two-horse race, there’s opportunity for others to have their say.

With that in mind, this is a big weekend for ‘23 Senoia ST podium finishers James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team Husqvarna FC450) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Racing/Certified KTM 450 SX-F), not to mention expected title contenders Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R) and Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R).

Rookie and Veteran

This weekend could also shed more light on what we might expect from a pair of big names representing opposite ends of the experience spectrum – Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) and Evan Renshaw (No. 265 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R).

Texter-Bauman finished inside the top ten at Senoia a year ago and with the winner not entirely out of sight. While now running a partial season as she takes on more of a managerial role in overseeing husband Briar Bauman’s Mission SuperTwins efforts, Texter-Bauman still flashes the sort of pace that suggests she hasn’t yet stood atop her last podium.

Rookie Renshaw is yet to stand on his first podium in the pro ranks, but his potential suggests it could come quickly and with little warning. His debut in Daytona was more solid than spectacular (11th and 9th), but his pedigree suggests the spectacular is coming.

It’s Been ̶F̶o̶u̶r̶t̶e̶e̶n̶ Two Races Since Last Podium Streak 

Jared Mees’ podium-less double opener did not only mirror his ‘23 Daytona experience, it also marked the end of the longest podium streak in modern Progressive AFT history (dating back to the 2010 season in which the Grand National Championship was reunified).

Last season, Mees was forced to perform with relentless pace and consistency to meet the challenge of Dallas Daniels. As a result, their championship showdown was fueled by the two best podium runs during the aforementioned time span:

  1. Jared Mees: 14 (2023)
  2. Dallas Daniels: 13 (2023)
  3. Jared Mees: 11 (2018)
  4. Jared Mees: 10 (2017-2018)
  5. Jared Mees: 9 (2021)
  6. Briar Bauman: 9 (2020)
  7. Jared Mees: 9 (2016-2017)
  8. Jared Mees: 8 (2019-2020)
  9. Briar Bauman: 7 (2021)
  10. Briar Bauman: 7 (2019)
  11. Briar Bauman: 7 (2019 – again)

As a result of Mees’ 6-5 opener, the active podium streak lead is now shared by Daniels and Brandon Robinson at a less awe-inspiring tally of two apiece following their alternating first and thirds in Daytona.

There’s certainly potential for those streaks to expand; Daniels’ 13 straight top-threes in ‘23 were kicked off in Daytona and continued in Senoia and well beyond.

Short Track Short List 

The career Mile and Half-Mile wins records are stacked with gaudier numbers, and the TT wins list carries a certain prestige of its own due to its unique nature and celebrated masters.

However, those facts provide the Short Track career wins record with a certain approachability, as no rider has even broken into the double digits in the discipline.

A historic relative infrequency has played into the rather low totals, but a ST-heavy 2024 calendar provides considerable room for a record book overhaul.

As it stands, both Mees and Robinson – who are currently tied in fourth place on the career order – can move all the way up into a tie with Chris Carr and Henry Wiles for the all-time lead as early as May with a sweep of the remaining STs.

At the same time, both Mees and Robinson are in danger of being dropped down a spot on the order by young Daniels – who has quickly put himself alongside some of the sport’s titans on the ST list – if he were to pull off the same feat. (It’s worth noting the same holds true for Briar Bauman, who is one of said titans).

Short Track Wins

  1. Chris Carr 9
  2. Henry Wiles 9
  3. Jake Johnson 8
  4. Jared Mees 6
  5. Brandon Robinson 6
  6. Kenny Roberts 5
  7. Steve Eklund 5
  8. Sammy Halbert 5
  9. Gary Nixon 4
  10. Terry Poovey 4
  11. Jay Springsteen 4
  12. Will Davis 4
  13. JR Schnabel 4
  14. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. 4
  15. Briar Bauman 4
  16. Dallas Daniels 4

First to Fall

It’s been pointed out several times in this space that Kody Kopp is in line to capture the most high-profile career records the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles category has to offer in 2024, specifically the career championships and wins marks.

But before that happens, he’s likely to lay claim to some component records along the way.

While the Half-Mile mark is a realistic goal (he’s currently just two back of Shayna Texter-Bauman in that discipline), the ST record might be the first to fall.

In fact, Kopp could grab a share of the lead this weekend with a victory, equaling the all-time mark posted by Daniels at six.

But even if Kopp fails to win this weekend, Daniels is not guaranteed to retain sole possession beyond this weekend because Dalton Gauthier boasts five himself.

Here’s where we stand with three STs remaining on the slate yet this season:

Short Track Wins

  1. Dallas Daniels 6
  2. Dalton Gauthier 5
  3. Kody Kopp 5
  4. Brad Baker 3
  5. Gerit Callies 3
  6. Dan Bromley 3