Jason DiSalvo was a top Daytona SportBike rider this season and led the class in qualifying with six poles. He scored six Daytona SportBike podium finishes, including third place in the season-opening Daytona 200 by Honda at DIS in March.
The 8 Hour race starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday and at least one AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT title will be on the line in the season-ending event. The division features two classes of motorcycles and teams of riders competing at the same time for overall and individual class honors. The faster GT1 class is home to a diverse lineup of motorcycles that includes big-bore bikes from Buell, Aprilia, Triumph, Ducati, Kawasaki and Suzuki and more. The slightly smaller GT2 class features bikes from Kawasaki, Buell, Suzuki and Ducati and others.
The strongest threat for the overall and GT1 class win is two-time defending 8 Hours At Daytona winner Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki. The team has put together a potent rider lineup that includes Chris Ulrich, Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo on the No. 18 Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600. Cardenas was also part of last year’s winning effort.
Mark Crozier (No. 14 Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675) and his potent Triumph team clinched the 2009 GT1 class championship one race ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park. With the title wrapped up, Crozier and his co-riders Scott Jensen, Dave Estok and Michael Barnes, who joined Ulrich on the second-place bike in the inaugural 2006 race,
Chris Ulrich was an anchor rider on the winning bike each of the last two years and was also part of the second-place team in the inaugural 8 Hours At Daytona in 2006.
can race for the all-out win at Daytona. A victory this weekend would be a series-leading third of the year for Crozier and the team after a pair of wins at Barber Motorsports Park and Virginia International Raceway earlier in the season. Crozier also won the GT1 and overall pole for the SunTrust Moto-GT opener at Daytona last March.
The only other two-time GT1 winners this season are young upstarts Dane Westby and Dustin Meador and the No. 13 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6. The Westby team won in its debut at Mid-Ohio and was victorious again one race later in Topeka. The 8 Hours At Daytona will be the new team’s major endurance racing debut but they are expected to be in contention from the drop of the green flag.
Other 2009 GT1 winners likely to challenge in the 8 Hours At Daytona include the Road Atlanta winning No. 69 TeamHurtByAccident.com Suzuki GSX-R600 and lead rider Rodolfo Ramirez, the Road America winning No. 70 James Gang/Hoban Bros. Racing Buell 1125R of Paul James and Jeff Johnson and the No. 20 El Rey Beer for Kings Ducati 848 and primary rider Calvin Martinez, who won overall and in GT1 during the SunTrust Moto-GT Daytona opener.
Top GT2 team Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati has also entered a GT1 class Ducati 848 for Ryan Elleby, Hawk Mazzotta and Matt Lynn.
Two more teams to watch are currently second and third in the GT1 championship standings. The No. 14 Crozier team sealed the title with 165 points but the No. 37 Old Pros Racing Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R of Paul Schwemmer and Dave
Martin Cardenas scored a series-leading seven wins while contending for the 2009 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL championship.
Aldana is second in points with 130. The No. 41 Liberty Waves Racing Buell 1125R team of Eric Pinson and Eric Haugo is third in the championship with 129 points. Old Pros finished second in season-opening race at Daytona while Liberty Waves crossed the line in third after leading the most race laps.
The 8 Hours At Daytona will run between 1 – 9 p.m. ET this Saturday, October 17, with official practice and qualifying on Friday.
GT2 Title Battle
The GT2 battle in AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT will be a race for the 8 Hours At Daytona class win and season-long title honors.
The class leading No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE team was in a position to clinch the GT2 crown at New Jersey only to retire when rider Huntley Nash crashed out in the race’s first 30 minutes. Springsteen and teammate Scott Ryan won the New Jersey GT2 race for the team’s second victory of the year after Springsteen and Nick Cummings won the Daytona opener. Heading back to Daytona, the No. 77 has 203 points but the No. 9 squad has closed to within 14 points with 189 markers. A maximum 32 points are available to a team at the Daytona finale. Taylor Knapp, who impressed in Daytona SportBike and AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited in 2009, will co-ride with Springsteen and Ryan at Daytona.
A crash suffered by Huntley Nash granted the win of the GT2 race to former SunTrust Moto-GT class champs Jay Springsteen and No.9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 team.
Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati is stacking its championship deck with not only the No. 77 but also its Mid-Ohio-winning No. 38 Ducati PS1000LE. Pete Friedland, Brad Phillips and a returning Corey Rech will be tasked to seal the title on the No. 77 while team owner/rider Frank Shockley, Dario Marchetti and Brian Stokes will go for the all out win on the No. 38. Rech is recovering from a mid-August right femur fracture in the SuperSport race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) but is ready to ride this weekend. The day before his accident, Rech co-rode the No. 77 with Elleby to its fourth and most recent win of the season. In total, the No. 77 team has the four victories, three second-place finishes and lone DNF (Did Not Finish) in New Jersey in eight starts this season.
The No. 64 TeamHurtByAccident.com Ducati PS1000LE of John Linder and Robert Fisher is out of contention for the title race but is third in the championship standings with 140 points. They finished second in New Jersey for the team’s first podium since winning at Barber Motorsports Park in May and are also expected to be a factor at Daytona. The team has also entered its No. 59 Ducati PS1000LE GT2 class bike for Daytona. In addition to Ramirez, Linder and Fisher, the full stable of TeamHurtByAccident.com riders for its total of three GT1 and GT2 entries includes Santiago Villa, Justin Filice, Tomas Puerta, Aaron Frank and Russ Wikle. Exact rider assignments will be declared prior to the race.
The No. 10 East Coast Powersports Suzuki SV650 of lead riders Kenny Rodriguez and Trey Yonce is another team to watch. The East Coast group finished third for the team’s fourth consecutive top-three finish at New Jersey and could be on the box again at Daytona.
Sunday’s AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei National Championship Shootout is expected to be a highly anticipated battle between 2009 SuperSport Champions Josh Day (No. 4 Team E.S.P. Yamaha YZF-R6) and Ricky Parker (No. 96 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6). The lucrative non-points race is open to any rider that has run at least one SuperSport race this season, with the winner earning the title of SuperSport National Champion.
Day won the 2009 SuperSport East title while Parker took SuperSport West honors. The pair of young guns gave a preview of what may be in store on Sunday one race ago in New Jersey. The duo waged a thrilling SuperSport shootout of its own with Day ultimately winning the race by .460 of a second over Parker. Day was credited with leading 16 of the SuperSport race’s 19 laps but the number of unofficial lead changes within laps was almost impossible to follow.
Day’s unmatched four-race win streak came at Mid-Ohio, Topeka and VIR, in addition to New Jersey. Parker has won this year at Infineon and Laguna Seca. The only other 2009 multiple race winner is Leandro Mercado (No. 92 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R), who would love nothing more than to get in the middle of the Day and Parker battle. Tyler Odom (No. 46 Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR) is the only other 2009 winner entered in the Shootout and his victory came right here at Daytona in the season-opening race last March.
Wikle (No. 5 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600) and Nash (No. 15 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) have each hit the podium at least once this season in SuperSport and could factor into the action in Daytona. Nash is part of a strong four-rider entry from LTD that also includes Puerta (No. 12 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6), Joey Pascarella (No. 25 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) and team newcomer Jacob Gagne (No. 45 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6), who finished sixth in his SuperSport debut in New Jersey. Pascarella and Wikle battled to the line just behind winner Odom in the Daytona opener with Pascarella taking second place over Wikle in a photo finish.
Pascarella, who finished second at the spring race at the Speedway, was quick from the beginning of the weekend and showed his aggressive style early on. He was able to lap at 1:52.952 on the 3.51-mile configuration of the circuit.
“Tomy” Puerta has raced well at Daytona in the past and earned another second-row start with his performance on Friday. He was just 0.004 behind Joey to take fifth place with a time of 1:52.956.
Huntley Nash qualified eighth with a mark of 1:54.257 as “Hunt” set his best time in the closing moments of the session after he improved his lap times throughout the first day of official practice at DIS.
Jake Gagne set the eleventh-fastest time in qualifying, the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup racer making his Daytona debut on the LTD Racing Yamaha R6. Gagne performed very respectably in his second-ever race weekend on a 600cc machine, posting his lap of 1:55.106 on Friday.
Sunday’s SuperSport race will start at Noon for 12 laps/40 miles.