Steve McQueen once said, “Racing is life… anything before and after is just waiting.” In the 2013 AMA Pro Racing Series there seems to be a bunch of guys, well, waiting. But what exactly are these guys waiting for? Money? A worthwhile TV Package? A rebound in the economy? Racing stars such as former AMA Superbike Champion Ben Bostrom and 2012 Superbike Championship runner-up Blake Young are both left without legitimate rides for this season. Young has secured a limited ride with Attack Performance for the three American MotoGP rounds, but it’s not really enough to make a living. There is obviously something wrong here.
Almost on the sidelines for 2013 was 2012 Daytona 200 winner Joey Pascarella, who recently found some support with Triumph Motorcycles and Riders Discount. Just about a month ago the 20-year-old was left ride-less and in preparation to make a full privateer effort heading into Daytona after winning the prestigious race last year.
“It’s crazy to think that less than a year ago I won the, I’d say, biggest Daytona SportBike race of the year, the Daytona 200,” explained Pascarella during the off season. “Now I’m here without a ride heading back to Daytona this year, it doesn’t make any sense to me why I wouldn’t have a ride.”
It’s obvious that AMA Pro Road Racing has seen a downfall in all categories from the fan base to rider turnout. In just one year’s time (2013 vs. 2012) we have seen a collapse on the DSB grid as the entry list for this year’s 200 has fallen to 31 riders compared to last year’s 46. Without fans or a TV deal it’s next to impossible for teams and privateers to find support for a full season in such an expensive sport.
Over the off season we got together with Pascarella at Round 1 of the 2013 WERA West series event at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California to talk to him about the difficulties and struggles of a top racebike as he prepared for the 2013 Daytona 200. Before Triumph and Riders Discount stepped up less than two months before Daytona, Joey was left on his own riding his own motorcycle with his own money, a true privateer.
“Last year was a great and bad year for me with all the ups and downs and musical chairs situation I was put in riding for three different teams by the time the year was over,” Joey explained. “I won the 200 with the P1A (Project 1 Atlanta) team on a Yamaha R6, then didn’t have a ride after that. As we headed into the second round I found a temporary spot with the SGA team, also on a R6, and managed to get another podium at Infineon. After that I was left without a ride once again until I secured a spot on the Rider’s Discount Suzuki, which I just struggled on for the rest of the season. The year started great but ended bad.”
Replacing Benny Solis on the Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki team looked to be a calling for Pascarella, or so we thought. But the California native had some struggles after hopping aboard the Suzuki GSX-R600.
“I wasn’t comfortable on the bike, I wasn’t comfortable with the people I was working with. It was just hard. I finally realized if you’re not comfortable with your bike and surroundings it’s really hard to perform but I had no choice, that’s where I was at and I had to tough it out even though I was struggling.”
“I’m a normal, average person. I wake up every morning and go to work. I could only imagine the things I could do if I could dedicate myself to racing full time and not have to go to work. But racing isn’t like it used to be. There aren’t many spots on teams and definitely no money. Luckily, I’m pretty naturally fit because without that I would struggle. I am limited to workout time.”
Recently things changed for Pascarella as Triumph came together with his current sponsor, Riders Discount, to field him on a pair of Daytona 675R race bikes. After having smashed his previous track record at Las Vegas Motor Speedway aboard the British machinery, Joey is going to be a force to reckon with this weekend.
Make sure to catch all the AMA Pro Road Racing action from Daytona this weekend. Tune in Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET to catch Pascarella and the rest of the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class compete in the 72nd running of the Daytona 200. Race fans can also get up-to-date results here as MotoUSA has its Associate Editor Byron Wilson on scene. For TV times on the National Guard SuperBike, Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport, and Vance & Hines XR1200 classes click here.