Danny Eslick wins 73rd Daytona 200
March 17, 2014
The following is an industry press release...
Photo by AMA Pro Racing/Brian J.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March
15, 2014) - Danny Eslick's return to the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
class couldn't have been more spectacular. The native of Broken Arrow, OK, and
a two-time series champ won pole and then outlasted the competition to take the
73rd Daytona 200. Eslick, aboard a Riders Discount Racing Triumph, won
Triumph's first Daytona 200 since 1967 by 10.975 seconds.
"That was a lot of fun. That
first stint was pretty incredible. We were knockdown, drag-out like it was a
sprint race. Even after the pit stop, me and Dane (Westby) and (Jason) DiSalvo
hooked up and that was a lot of fun. The last stint seemed like forever, but
that was literally like the shortest 200 miles of my life."
Eslick's ride survived a serious
challenge along the way, but "Slick" had cleared away by the end. One
of the most spectacular riders in the field avoided the pitfalls of 200 miles
at Daytona International Speedway. The last few laps were classic Danny
histrionics like waving to the crowd, spurring his bike like a horse, and
riding wheelies, even while he expanded his lead. Then Eslick topped it off
with the longest victory lap ever, one that saw him stop to celebrate with fans
in the infield.
"Hats off to the crew. (Crew
chief) Richard Stanboli is the guy I worked with like ten years ago in my first
year in the AMA. So in a big, roundabout way, this is payback for that first
year," said Eslick. "It's awesome. I've gotten the pole before and,
my very first 200, I got fourth. So there's been a lot of hard work and a lot
of years passed by to get this victory. It really means a lot. There's been a
lot going on at home, losing people close to me. This one is for Tommy Aquino
and some good friends from home. So it means a lot.
For Triumph, the British brand
capitalized on their last chance to win Daytona for the immediate future with
the Daytona 675. Next year, the class returns to the parlance of the SuperBike
class. "It's been what? Since 1971 since they were on pole and (Gary)
Nixon was the last one to win it," said Eslick. "That's pretty cool
RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Jake
Gagne took second, earning his best Daytona result in the process. "To
start off on the podium, especially at the Daytona 200... I'm stoked for the
whole RoadRace Factory/Red Bull crew. These guys worked so hard in the
offseason and to pay them back with a podium is great," said Gagne.
"It was a pretty big pack like we expected, and I just wanted to stay
there. I figured once we got to the first pit stop, it would separate a little
bit. After the first pit stop, it was like five or six guys. I was definitely
struggling in the infield, and it was everything I had all the time just to
hang onto the back of these guys. Luckily, the boys built me a fast bike
because I could pull with these guys on the banking."
Jake Lewis was third for
Motosport.com Meen Yamaha. "There's nothing to be disappointed about,
being in victory circle after 200 miles, 57 laps," Lewis said. "That
was a really long race. I would have liked to have been holding up that big trophy,
but Danny was riding great all weekend. I got off to a really great start. The
whole pack was at the front at the beginning of the race, but I was just having
a few issues, and I lost the draft."
The first stint was the classic
Daytona drafting festival, with ten riders breaking away. Garrett Gerloff
(Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha) led immediately after
the first stop but soon crashed.
Four riders broke away, with
Eslick, Yamalube/Westby Racing's Dane Westby, Castrol/Triumph/SportBike Track Time's
Jason DiSalvo and Gagne battling the entire stint. Just before the second fuel
stops on the 38th lap, Westby lost control in the first turn. He was unable to
ride it out and he crashed. DiSalvo went wide trying to avoid Westby and fell,
too. In an instant, two of the contenders were out.
Gagne had closed to within two
seconds with 10 to go, but Eslick got the message and kicked up the pace to run
away. The gap went back to six seconds.
Latus Motors Racing's Bobby Fong
earned fourth, 48.659 seconds behind Eslick. Gerloff rebounded from his crash
to take fifth. Kyle Wyman finished on the lead lap on his Kyle Wyman Racing
Yamaha. British rider Luke Stapleford finished seventh for Profile Racing,
ahead of GEICO Motorcycle Racing's Jake Zemke.
AMA Pro SuperBike
The AMA Pro SuperBike pilots who
have managed to claim a race victory in their rookie season belong to an
extremely short list.
On Saturday at Daytona
International Speedway, Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier not
only joined that exclusive company, he did so in his debut weekend as a
And 'contender' may just be the
key word, as the '13 Daytona SportBike champ has gained an early advantage in
this year's SuperBike title fight on the strength of today's win and
Beaubier successfully applied the
lessons learned during Friday's third-place ride and orchestrated his victory
with impressive tactical acumen. Caught up in a three-way dogfight to the
checkered flag, the 21-year-old perfectly set up the contest's decisive strike.
He took full advantage of his Yamaha YZF-R1's superior top-end hit and
overhauled Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammates Roger Hayden and Martin
Cardenas on the race's final lap to win by a narrow margin.
The Californian stormed to the
checkered flag 0.090 seconds ahead of Hayden, who repeated Friday's runner-up
result, while second Yosh pilot Martin Cardenas was just another 0.044 seconds
adrift in third.
Beaubier's stunning performance
was in stark contrast to the demoralizing result of his decorated Yamaha
teammate, three-time series king Josh Hayes. The Mississippian appeared to have
put last year's disastrous Daytona opener behind him with his Friday win.
However, last year's poor luck returned today, as Hayes was forced to retire
with another mechanical issue while fighting for the lead, sitting up as the
riders took the stripe to open lap 9 of 15. He was officially credited with
21st and took no points on the day.
Hayes once again finds himself in
an early hole in the championship fight. While not nearly as deep as last
year's post-Daytona deficit, this season he faces the added difficulty of a
shorter race season and the absence of the bonus points for pole position and
laps led he so frequently used to pad his tally in year's past.
After claiming his breakthrough
victory, Beaubier said, "This means everything. I've worked really hard to
get to where I am. I can't thank Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha enough for giving
me this opportunity on the R1.
"It was a little bit
smoother of a race than yesterday -- I didn't go off the track or anything,
which I was happy about. I was a little more consistent. We made a little bit
of a spring change -- we went stiffer on the rear shock, which was better when
the tire was fresh but when it went off I was sliding pretty good. I couldn't
drive off the corners quite as well as everyone else. But I'm really lucky my
bike had some steam on these guys -- they were riding really well. Now I'm
looking forward to going to some road courses."
Hayden sits just a single point
out of first with his pair of second-place runs. His opener marks an excellent
start to the year for the Kentuckian, who has traditionally started slow and
worked up to speed as the year has taken shape.
Hayden said, "It's a little
disappointing to come so close to winning both races but coming in second. But
it's a good start to the year and that was a fun race, battling at the end.
Everybody was kind of swapping around.
"It's a good start for me --
I usually start the season really slow and then by the third or fourth race I
get going. So I'm glad to start strong. I can't thank the whole Yoshimura team
enough for this opportunity they gave me. I didn't know I had a job this year
until Christmas Eve so to get two seconds at Daytona... I can't complain."
Cardenas successfully rebounded
from yesterday's crash with a close third. The Colombian was in contention
throughout the affair but just missed out in the final shuffle at the stripe.
"Today was much better than
yesterday," Cardenas said. "Yesterday I could not ride the bike as I
wanted to and had a little crash. But today I bounced back. I was hoping for
maybe a little better -- first or second -- but it wasn't possible. I didn't
make the best of the last part of the race so third is good enough for
The tussle for fourth was a
virtual repeat from Friday with Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Chris Clark,
ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony and KTM/HMC Racing's Chris
Fillmore running in tight formation.
And, again, it was Clark who came
out on top -- this time handing Yosh a 2-3-4 result -- while Anthony and
Fillmore matched yesterday's respective fifth and sixth.
That trend continued down the
order as Cusanelli Motorsports Argentina's Diego Pierluigi, TOBC Suzuki's
Taylor Knapp, and Team AMSOIL Hero EBR's Cory West replicated their Friday
seventh, eighth, and ninth. In fact, the only change in Saturday's top-ten
order outside of the podium placings was the tenth-position run of GEICO
Motorcycle Road Racing Honda's Chris Ulrich.
Following the completion of this
year's opener, young Beaubier leads the way with 51 points. Hayden is second at
50, followed by Clark (36) and Anthony (32). That leaves Hayes and Cardenas
even with Fillmore at 30 and with some work ahead of them.
AMA Pro SuperSport
Corey Alexander churned out
another dominating performance in the second AMA Pro SuperSport race of the
weekend. Alexander won by 6.884 seconds, but he didn't actually lead the entire
race on the Celtic/HVMC Suzuki from flag-to-flag. After Miles Thornton ran wide
on the first lap, Alexander motored away. The New Yorker had a big lead by the
time he made it through the chicane the first time.
"Again, hats off to my whole
team," said Alexander. "My bike was just as good as it was yesterday
if not a little better... Obviously we're happy to be on top again."
All the action was behind
Alexander. Numerous riders battled for the podium in epic fashion, with five
riders within a second of each other. Wyatt Farris on the second Celtic/HVMC
Racing entry earned second, having run a perfect infield section the last time.
Hayden Gillim (TOBC Racing) was
able to rebound from a bad start deep in the field to run to the front. Gillim
turned the fastest lap of the race (1:52.906) in his charge to the pack
trailing Alexander. Gillim made the podium a Suzuki sweep.
Armando Ferrer (RacersPrice.com)
topped Macedon, NY's Cody Wyman (Harv's H-D) by just 0.001 in that pack.
Dustin Dominguez (Houston
Superbikes) battled for the podium but was shuffled back on the tenth and final
Six more riders followed in a
second group within a second of each other. J.C. Camacho (House of Paint
Designs) and Mark Miller, Jr, (Mar Del Racing) led that bunch to the line.
The 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing
season will pick back up on May 30-June 1 with Round 2, the Subway SuperBike
Doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.