Mike Rush – Ricky Graham AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year

Mike Rush, of Gilroy, Calif., earned the 2007 Ricky Graham AMA Flat Track Rookie of the Year by virtue of a stunning performance at the season opening AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship doubleheader at Municipal Stadium in Daytona Beach, Fla., in March.
Rush continued in the fine tradition of surprise winners at the Daytona Short Track National. The 19-year-old, who was in his first full season as a pro, took the lead on the first lap aboard his Dave Burks Motorsports Suzuki and pulled away to a dominating 7.296-second margin of victory over eventual AMA GNC Singles champ, Ken Coolbeth in the second night at Daytona Beach.
The victory for Rush, combined with his runner-up finish in the first leg of the Daytona doubleheader, meant that the youngster from Gilroy, Calif., left Daytona the championship leader.
“I can’t believe it,” said the jubilant Rush after winning the race. “I was up above the groove at the start and tried squaring off the corner and shot out of there like a rocket. This is a dream come true. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was four and started riding. I started racing when I was five.”
Rush qualified for only one other national, but his Daytona victory and runner-up finish were good enough to earn him 11th in the final AMA GNC Singles standings and the Rookie of the Year honors. He injured his left knee, had surgery and missed most of the season rehabbing.
“I’m starting to race locally again,” Rush said of his comeback. “I won some regional races at the Cow Palace and I’m getting back to training. I want to come back and make a serious bid to win the (AMA GNC) Singles Championship next year.”
Rush follows in the tradition of other AMA Flat Track Rookies of the Year such as Jay Springsteen, Scott Parker, Chris Carr, Ken Coolbeth and Jared Mees; just a few of the greats among the past winners of the award. The award is named after the late AMA Grand National Champion Ricky Graham, one of the all-time fan favorites who passed away in 1998.