Jake Johnson isn't chasing legends. He's still chasing his first victory of the 2012 season.
On Saturday night at Cal Expo, the New Jersey rider couldn't quite run down Bryan Smith, who won his second consecutive Sacramento Mile. Smith held off Johnson at the line to win by .037 seconds.
"We've been consistent all season," Johnson said. "But we've been consistently second or third. Hopefully, we can make a move up another spot."
Series points leader Jared Mees finished third. Brandon Robinson and Sammy Halbert rounded out the top five.
Smith and Johnson traded the lead for much of the 25-lap race. Johnson, who dominated his heat race and won the dash, found success in Turn 3, but Smith and his Kawasaki were able to regain the lead on the front stretch.
Johnson, the two-time defending American Motorcyclist Association Flat Track champion, is the only rider of the top five in points through seven rounds of 16 without a victory. No rider has more than one win, though, and Johnson is starting to make a move for his third title.
The consistency is working. He shaved four points off of Jared Mees' season points lead Saturday. Mees still leads Johnson 141 to 130.
Another season title a three-peat would put Johnson in the same conversation of "best ever" with flat-track legends Scotty Parker (nine titles), Stockton native Chris Carr (seven), Jay Springsteen (three) and more recently Ken Coolbeth who had a three-peat from (2006-2008).
"I'm not chasing Springer or Carr or any of those guys," Johnson said. "What those guys did is just incredible. Nine titles. Man, that's a lot. I've only been racing on this level (Grand National Championships Expert Twins) for 10 years, which is an accomplishment itself. So if I win another title and people put me on the same level as those guys, that would be an honor."
That first season on the highest level of flat-track racing Johnson was named Rookie of the Year. Parker, Carr and Springsteen accomplished the same.
Pro singles Shayna Texter became the first female rider to win an AMA event last season in Knoxville, Iowa. She became the first woman to win two after taking the Pro Singles race Saturday.
Texter, from Willow Street, Pa., rode her Honda CRF450 to a heat race win earlier and led for the first six of eight laps Saturday before Stephen Vanderkuur reeled her in on Turn 3 on the seventh lap. But Texter battled back through a four-rider pack over the last half-mile on the final lap to post the win by .037 over Vanderkuur.