Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin (8) managed to win a squeaker over PJ Jaobsen (9) at Miller. The Daytona SportBike class contest was one of the best races of the year.
Yamaha rider Josh Herrin took the checkers in a thrilling 16-lap Daytona SportBike race at Miller Motorsports Park. Herrin claimed the victory by 0.161 ahead of the leader for much of the race, Celtic Racing’s PJ Jacobsen. DSB rookie Cameron Beaubier took the final podium position, winning a fierce three-rider battle for third. Points leader Jason DiSalvo finished sixth.
Jacobsen got off to an early lead, piloting his Ducati 848 EVO down the front straight for the holeshot. But the front position would be swapped continually throughout the action-packed race. In the opening lap Jacobsen was followed by Herrin, DiSalvo and M4 Suzuki’s Dane Westby and Vesrah Suzuki’s Cory West.
Westby started charging up through the ranks, dispatching DiSalvo and then Herrin, his sites on Jacobsen. The Suzuki rider moved into the lead on Lap 4. The running order up front would jumble repeatedly, however, as the front four jostled for position. West took a turn at the front, then Jacobsen.
With five to go the front quartet of Jacobsen, West, Herrin and Westby were running four wide. Heading down the start-finish straight many riders would search for lingering puddles of standing water to cool tires, allowing plenty of room for riders to shuffle position heading into Turn 1.
The next lap the front group was five wide, as Beaubier joined the party up front. Eventually in the closing laps Jacobsen and Herrin separated themselves, the Ducati leading the Yamaha. Beaubier made his move to defend third in a battle with West and Westby.
Fast by Ferracci Ducati’s PJ Jacobsen jumped out front with the holeshot, but the lead was up for grabs until the very end.
Herrin and Jacobsen exchanged positions, with the Yamaha rider taking the lead for good with a half-lap remaining. Jacobsen was pressing for a final move, but couldn’t make it happen and had to settle for second place. Beaubier managed to hold third, earning his first DSB podium.
“It was awesome to be going back in forth with all these
guys in the pack,” explained Jacobsen. “I was able to hold on against some really great racers. I knew from the morning qualifier that my team had the perfect set-up for my bike. It feels great to come out of this on the podium, and to get some more points for my team.”
The win is critical for Herrin’s title hopes, climbing up to third in the points ahead of Beaubier and Danny Eslick. The Suzuki-mounted Eslick was a non-factor at the front, finishing seventh. The same could be said of the points leader, Jason DiSalvo, who finished sixth, but still owns a commanding 35-point advantage over second-placed West.
It was blanket racing for much of the Daytona SportBike race. The podium saw Herrin on the top step after besting Jacobsen, with Beaubier getting his first career DSB podium.
“The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha was working really well, and I’m really grateful we’re on such good tires-the rains were phenomenal,” said Herrin. “We haven’t used them since Road America last year and they were perfect. These guys rode a really good race, everybody did, and I’m just glad to be up here. It’s a relief after having such a tough time this year, and I look forward to continuing on with the season with some more-consistent results.”
2011 Daytona SportBike Miller Results:
1. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
2. PJ Jacobsen (Ducati)
3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
4. Cory West (Suzuki)
5. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
6. Jason DiSalvo (Ducati)
7. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)
8. Josh Galster (Yamaha)
9. Paul Allison(Yamaha)
10. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)
11. Dalton Dimick(Yamaha)
12. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha)
13. Santiago Villa (Suzuki)
14. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)
15. Huntley Nash (Yamaha)
2011 Daytona SportBike Points:
1. Jason DiSalvo, 109
2. Cory West, 74
3. Josh Herrin, 67
4. Cameron Beaubier, 63
5. PJ Jacobsen, 62
6. Danny Eslick, 60
7. Tommy Aquino, 56
8. Paul Allison, 47
9. Dane Westby, 37
10. Taylor Knapp, 36