It was a fight to the finish for Leandro Mercado and his Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki who battled with Team E.S.P.'s Josh Day at the Shoei National Championship Shootout held this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Mercado passed Day on the final turn of the AMA SuperSport Shootout, taking the checkers by 0.148 of a second.
Leandro Mercado was presented with the No. 1 plate after beating out Josh Day at the AMA SuperSport Shootout.
LTD Racing's Tomas Puerta took an early lead before Mercado and Day took their battle to the front on Lap 4. The young Argentinean passed Day in the chicane at the homestretch. Mercado, who was presented with the SuperSport National Championship No. 1 plate, said, "It was a really good race. I really had to work hard to catch him. The only place I could pass him was in the second horseshoe as I was a little faster there. I was afraid to do it because the bike moved a lot and I didn't want to leave a final draft for him. I didn't have any other opportunities to pass, but on the last lap I had a really good run out of the chicane."
This marks the third SuperSport East division race win of the year for Mercado, including Road Atlanta and Road America. The Kawasaki pilot, who missed two races due to problems with his visa and a chance at the regular points chase, commented, "In the middle of the year I had a problem with my visa so I couldn't make it to the races. So to finish the year like this, winning the SuperSport National Championship, is so awesome."
Day, who won the 2009 SuperSport East Championship, was the local favorite for the win after dominating qualifying on Friday. The 20-year-old reiterated, "Like I said after qualifying, I knew Leandro was going to be fast because he got quite a bit of practice on this track in March when he did the Daytona 200. I was hoping he would try to pass me because it is a tough position to be in at the start/finish line for the checkered flag. I tried my hardest to put in a fast lap on the white flag lap since he wouldn't come by me. I really wanted him to lead going into the chicane so I could do the same thing that he did to me. We ended up with second today and it's a good way to end the season. At least we were there at the finish."
Rounding out the rostrum was Puerta in third, who crossed the line over seven-seconds later, with teammate Joey Pascarella right on his heels and SuperSport West Champion Ricky Parker getting fifth.
AMA SuperSport Championship Shootout Results:
1. Leandro Mercado (Kawasaki)
2. Josh Day (Yamaha) +0.148
3. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) +7.906
4. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha) +7.985
5. Ricky Parker (Yamaha) +8.588
6. Tyler Odom (Honda) +8.703
7. Travis Wyman (Suzuki) +9.108
8. Kris Turner (Suzuki) +22.432
9. Huntley Nash (Yamaha) +22.478
10. Russ Wikle (Suzuki) +30.654