Project 1 Atlanta’s Joey Pascarella claimed victory in the 2012 Daytona 200. The 71st running of America’s most prestigious road race saw a four-rider scrap for the checkers, with Pascarella besting 2011 D200 winner, Jason DiSalvo, by a bike length. YES Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier claimed third in a dead heat at the finish with 2010 Daytona SportBike champion Martin Cardenas.
Pascarella ran up front early in the 57-lap contest, joined in the lead group by Beaubier, Cardenas, SGA Racing/YCRS Yamaha’s Tommy Aquino and M4 Broaster Suzuki’s Dane Westby. Lurking back in a second pack were DiSalvo, Ducshop Racing’s Jake Zemke, RoadRace/Red Bull Yamaha’s Jake Gagne and Vesrah Suzuki’s Benny Solis.
By Lap 14 there was a six-rider lead group, with Zemke moving up. The second group featured Vesrah’s Corey West and the Yamaha trio of Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports), Gagne and JD Beach (RoadRace/Red Bull).
Twenty two laps in the first round of pit stops started to roll out, though DiSalvo had pitted much earlier, thinking he’d had an issue with the bike. When the dust in the pits settled, Pascarella was back out in the lead with Beaubier tracking right behind the Project 1 Atlanta rider. Cardenas also joined the lead group, while Westby was six seconds off the leaders. Aquino was 13 seconds back and Zemke lost a massive 25 seconds, yielding positions to DiSalvo and West.
Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier logged a noteworthy Daytona 200 performance, spending a lot of time at the front and getting on the steps with a third-place finish.
Westby chipped away at the leaders until rejoining the front group, making it a four-rider race. DiSalvo rode a lonely fifth – 14 seconds back, with Aquino, Zemke and West trailing.
The second round of stops started on Lap 36, first with DiSalvo and then the other leaders filtering for quick stops. After the second wave through the pits, Pascarellla and Beaubier emerged up front in a two-man fight. Cardenas was six seconds back, with DiSalvo in turn six seconds behind the Colombian rider. Westby dropped 30 seconds off the pace with Zemke far off down in ninth, having lost position to Tommy Hayden, the emergency YES Graves replacement rider moving into seventh.
As the laps wound down Cardenas carved into the leaders to rejoin the front group, with DiSalvo also wiping out his deficit to get within shot of the podium runners. With two laps to go it was a four-rider fight for the D200 checkers.
The quartet diced right up to the line as Pascarella nipped DiSalvo for the win by 0.048. Beaubier took third in a virtual tie with Cardenas, the scoring listing a 0.000 gap for the pair. Westby claimed a lonely fifth, with Zemke edging Hayden for sixth.
“Winning any Daytona SportBike race for me would be a big deal,” said the 19-year-old Pascarella. “This is the biggest one of them all. It’s the opener, the 200. This is probably the biggest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I’m in shock, I still can’t believe it.”
MotoUSA’s own Frankie Garcia had an eventful 200, the R6 pilot finished 36th dispite engine troubles.
2012 Daytona 200 Results:
Pascarella claimed the Daytona 200 win aboard the March of Dimes-sponsored Project 1 Atlanta R6..
Leading at various points of the 2012 Daytona 200 Cardenas got the short end on the four-rider draft to the finish.
1. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha)
2. Jason DiSalvo (Triumph) +0.048
3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) +0.112
4. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) +0.112
5. Dane Westby (Suzuki) +44.354
6. Jake Zemke (Ducati) +47.418
7. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha) +47.531
8. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) +47.547
9. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) +47.643
10. Cory West (Suzuki) +58.335
11. JD Beach (Yamaha) +01:22.2
12. Robertino Pietri (Yamaha) +01:43.4
13. Michael Beck (Yamaha)
14. Bobby Fong (Yamaha) +23.704
15. David Gaviria (Yamaha) +35.474
2012 AMA Daytona SportBike Points:
1. Joey Pascarella, 31
2. Jason DiSalvo, 25
3. Cameron Beaubier, 21
4. Martin Cardenas, 19
5. Dane Westby, 16
6. Jake Zemke, 15
7. Tommy Hayden, 14
8. Jake Gagne, 13
9. Tommy Aquino, 12
10. Cory West, 11