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Kailub Russell Comes Out on Top at X-Factor Whitetails GNCC

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Kailub Russell Comes Out on Top at X-Factor Whitetails GNCC
X-Factor Whitetails Peru, IN X-Factor Whitetails GNCC Racing

PERU, Ind. — The 2018 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country ( GNCC ) Series, an AMA National Championship, continued on Sunday, May 13, with the second annual X-Factor Whitetails GNCC. Partly sunny and dry conditions welcomed the 1 p.m. race, which was a complete turnaround from last year's race conditions. At the conclusion of the seven-lap race, it was FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Kailub Russell who took home the win in Peru, Indiana.

Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Steward Baylor Jr. jumped out to the early lead, grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. AmPro Yamaha's Ricky Russell accompanied S. Baylor Jr. as they headed out of the first turn and into the woods.

Russell made an early pass on R. Russell for the second-place position, and after coming through timing and scoring on lap one, S. Baylor Jr. remained first with a seven-second lead. Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Thad Duvall came through in the fourth-place position after starting at the back of the pack. 

Halfway through the second lap, news came that K. Russell had moved into the first-place position, with Duvall making the move into second just 13 seconds behind the leader. As lap three began, K. Russell, Duvall, and R. Russell checked in, with S. Baylor dropping back to fourth and JCR/Honda's Trevor Bollinger coming through in fifth.

Thad Duvall battled back to earn second overall after a dead last start to the day.
Thad Duvall battled back to earn second overall after a dead last start to the day. Ken Hill

As the front of the pack made their way around, it was Tely Energy Racing/KTM's Grant Baylor moving up and into the second-place position, but after pitting for gas on lap three, Duvall would make the move around him. R. Russell and S.Baylor Jr. continued to battle for the fourth-place position; however, S. Baylor would make the pass stick and continue to push on for the remaining three laps.

When the white flag flew, it was K. Russell leading Duvall by ten seconds, with G. Baylor behind them in third. S. Baylor Jr., followed by Bollinger and R. Russell, were battling with Rockstar Energy/Factory Husqvarna Racing's Josh Strang, who sat in the seventh-place position during the last lap.

Russell earned his fifth win of the season, as he crossed the finish line six seconds ahead of Duvall. G. Baylor had his best finish of the season, earning him a spot on the podium in Indiana. S. Baylor held on for fourth, while Bollinger came through in the fifth spot. Strang made the pass for the sixth-place position, putting R. Russell back to seventh at round six. KR4/Husqvarna's Cory Buttrick finished eighth while teammate Layne Michael rounded out the top ten. GasGas/FAR's Andrew Delong earned his best finish of the year with a ninth in the XC1 Open Pro class. 

Josh Toth earned the win in the XC2 250 Pro class in Indiana.
Josh Toth earned the win in the XC2 250 Pro class in Indiana. Ken Hill

In the XC2 250 Pro class, FMF/KTM Factory Racing's Josh Toth would take his third win of the season, but not without some intense battles throughout the three-hour race. When the green flag flew, it was Fun Center/MSR's Joseph Ferraro who took the $100 XC2 250 Pro Holeshot Award. However, as the XC2 pack came through on the second lap, it was M&E Honda/Fly Racing/Alpinestar's Austin Lee leading the way, followed by Toth and Coastal Racing/Husqvarna's Craig Delong. After a mid-pack start, Trail Jesters/KTM's Ben Kelley made his way through into the fourth-place position before picking off riders and making his way to the second-place position.

Toth would make the pass on Lee and remain in the lead until taking the checkered flag on lap seven. Kelley would come in eight seconds behind Toth, followed by C. Delong rounding out the podium. Lee would hold on for fourth, while Beta USA and Indiana-native Mike Witkowski had his best finish with a fifth in the XC2 250 Pro class. 

The FMF XC3 125 Pro Am class saw Raines Riding University/Atlas Sales/Yamaha's Jason Raines take his first win of the season after battling with FMF/Maxxis/RPM KTM's Jesse Ansley throughout the day. Ansley would finish runner-up, but still remains in the points lead for the class. MCS Racing/Kenda Tire/Moose Racing's Cody Barnes rounded out the FMF XC3 podium at the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC.

Conner Smith took the Open A class win and Top Amateur honors at round six.
Conner Smith took the Open A class win and Top Amateur honors at round six. Ken Hill

Conner Smith took the win in Open A and finished 35th overall to earn the Top Amateur honors, along with Jojo Bowden taking the win in 250 A, followed by Brewer Cawley's second-place finish in 250 A.

Chris Bach returned to the races and took the overall win in the 10 a.m. race. In the WXC class, it was KR4/Husqvarna's Tayla Jones who took her fifth win of the season in Indiana on Sunday morning at the conclusion of the 10 a.m. race. KTM/Bonaza Plumbing/Trail Jesters Mackenzie Tricker battled through for a second-place finish, followed by The Motorcycle Shop/Tely Energy's Brooke Cosner rounding out the WXC podium.

The youth riders took to the track at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning, where Tyler Palmer took the YXC1 Super Mini Sr. and overall win. Max Fernandez came away with second, followed by Joseph Cunningham earning the YXC2 Super Mini Jr. win and third overall.

The 2018 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country Series will heads to Millfield, Ohio on May 26 and 27 for the Wiseco John Penton GNCC.

Kailub Russell (center), Thad Duvall (left), and Grant Baylor (right) rounded out the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC podium.
Kailub Russell (center), Thad Duvall (left), and Grant Baylor (right) rounded out the X-Factor Whitetails GNCC podium. Ken Hill

The 1 p.m. race was broadcast live in its entirety on RacerTV.com and can be viewed as an archived video online by visiting the  GNCC Live  page. A highlight show featuring the event will air Saturday, June 9, at 6:00 p.m. EDT.

X-Factor Whitetails of Indiana is a privately owned and operated hunting ranch that offers guided hunts for groups of all sizes. The Indiana preserve has over 1,200 acres and one of the most beautiful lodges in the country. If you are looking for a challenging whitetail hunt for some of the biggest deer in the country, you have found the right place. To find out more about the X-Factor Whitetails Hunting Ranch, click  here

For more information on the GNCC series, visit the official website at  www.gnccracing.com  or call (304) 284-0084. Join the conversation on the series  Facebook  page, follow us on  Twitter  and  Instagram , and be sure to always hashtag #GNCC.

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