(L-R) Brad Baker, Sammy Halbert and Johnny Lewis celebrate on the Daytona podium after Friday night’s race.
Slammin’ Sammy Halbert will not soon forget the white limestone of Daytona after wrapping up a perfect start to the AMA Pro Flat Track season by winning his second consecutive race. Halbert ran underneath Honda’s Jake Johnson when he went out wide on Lap 3 and never looked back as he opened up a gap on the pack to grab the checkers by a 5.034-second margin. Halbert hugged the inside line all night long and seemed to have better traction than the other riders in posting the victory.
“I had to work for it a little bit, the track was really slick and technical,” Halbert said.
The Woody Kyle Racing/Fredericktown Yamaha racer also won the Dash for Cash, repeating his feat of last night while wrapping up a perfect two-days of racing.
In the AMA Pro Grand National Singles main event sponsored by Harley-Davidson Insurance, Honda’s Brad Baker grabbed the holeshot when the flag dropped but Kawasaki rider Henry Wiles went down in the first corner, bringing out the red flag. On the restart, it was Johnson who would shoot out to the lead with Baker and Halbert in hot pursuit. After Halbert moved into the lead, Johnson and Baker would dice it out for much of the race, but it was Honda’s Johnny Lewis who would power past both to capture second place. ‘Bullet’ Baker ended up earning the final spot on the podium by 0.862 seconds over Johnson. After the race, Baker announced that he will be riding the Lloyd Brothers Ducati this season and is excited about the opportunity to ride the 100 hp Twin.
Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. rounded out the top five on his Kawasaki KX450F. Coolbeth finished second in the Expert Heat 2 race but just didn’t quite have the speed needed to keep up with the frontrunners this night.
Honda’s Gerit Callies jumped out to the holeshot and ran a smooth race to win the AMA Pro Singles race by 2.213 seconds.
Crowd favorite Chris Carr made his last race on the Daytona short track, finishing back in 11th place. Carr did claim second place in the Dash for Cash, though, and elicited a big cheer from the crowd when suggested they build a permanent half-mile track in Daytona. The grandstands for the races were full and fans lined the fences, many who came to see Carr’s final hurrah in their town. The veteran racer first competed at Daytona back in 1984.
In the AMA Pro Singles finale presented by Motorcycle-Superstore.com, Honda’s Gerit Callies jumped out to the holeshot and ran a fluid race to win by 2.213 seconds. Callies looked strong while winning the Pro Heat 2 race and carried that momentum into the main event to post the victory. After finishing second in last night’s race, Callies leaves Daytona tied with Michael Avila for the early lead in the championship point standings with 42.
Avila, the Round 1 victor, would ride his way to a second place finish Friday night. The Honda rider tracked down Joseph Ratz to move into second place, but by then Callies had opened up an insurmountable lead. By Lap 10, Avila was firmly in second while Ratz would finish behind him to grab the final spot on the podium.
New York’s Jake Quick made Ratz earn it though as he crossed the line a scant 0.074 seconds back to earn fourth place. Jacob Constantine was also on the pace to make it a clean sweep of the top five by riders on the Honda CRF450R.
During the second intermission, the crowd received a treat from recent AMA Pro Singles sponsor Motorcycle-Superstore.com when it was announced that ten $25 certificates to the Superstore had been taped at random spots underneath the grandstands. The crowd almost rose in unison as people reached under their seats to see if they were the lucky winner.
The next round of AMA Pro Flat Track Racing will take place on the DuQuoin Short Track at the Southern Illinois Center in DuQuoin, Illinois on April 16.
2011 AMA Grand National Singles Daytona II Results:
1. Sammy Halbert (Yamaha)
2. Johnny Lewis (Honda)
3. Brad Baker (Honda)
4. Jake Johnson (Honda)
5. Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. (Kawasaki)
6. Matt Weidman (Honda)
7. Jared Mees (Honda)
8. Chad Cose (Honda)
9. Henry Wiles (Kawasaki)
10. Jeffrey Carver, Jr. (Yamaha)
11. Chris Carr (Honda)
12. Brock Schwarzenbacher (Honda)
13. John Wood (Honda)
14. J. R. Schnabel, Jr. (Kawasaki)
15. Bradley Hazel (Honda)
2011 AMA Pro Singles Daytona II Results:
1. Gerit Callies (Honda)
2. Michael Avila (Honda)
3. Joseph Ratz (Honda)
4. Jake Quick (Honda)
5. Jacob Constantine (Honda)
6. Travis Wyman (Honda)
7. Michael Martin (Honda)
8. Kinji Eto (Honda)
9. Hayden Gillim (Honda)
10. Cody Johncox (Honda)