If there's a guaranteed barnburner to be found anywhere in the world of motorsports, the AMA Pro Vance & Hines
Harley Davidson Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway would certainly seem to fit the bill.
In the contest's three-year history, the combined margin of victory stands at just over two tenths of a second. And last year's dogfight saw ninth position take the checkered flag less than eight tenths removed from the victory.
Each previous contest has developed into a full-blown drafting war, with the class' evenly matched machinery testing the tactical acumen of its pilots as they negotiate the high banks within inches of one another.
The 2014 edition of this annual spectacle looks to be the most compelling yet, featuring an absolutely loaded field. Nine of last year's AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series top ten are back on a grid that will also be highlighted by the return of the class' original champion and a two-time winner of this race.
Leading the charge is none of than defending king Steve Rapp (No. 1 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200). This will be the first time in Rapp's 16-year AMA Pro Road Racing career that he will carry the No. 1 plate into battle. He earned that honor in dominant fashion last season, winning six of nine races en route to the crown.
However, he has some unfinished business at Daytona. In last season's contest, he completed just a single lap, forcing an uphill climb to last year's triumph. And in his previous attempt to claim victory in the Daytona AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series opener, he started from pole but missed out on the win by a scant 0.136 -- and still fell short of the podium.
Despite those disappointments, Rapp does have some serious Daytona history in his corner; the Californian reigned supreme in the 2007 edition of the prestigious DAYTONA 200.
The Californian is expected to have his hands full with a deep and talented field of contenders.
Last season's championship runner-up and Daytona winner Tyler O'Hara (No. 29 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200) returns. O'Hara has finished in the class' top-three for three consecutive seasons and is motivated to finally claim the title for himself in 2014.
Also back is the class' 2012 champ, Michael Barnes (No. 34 Arai
/Taichi/Sidi/D.E.A.D. Cycles/Wheeler Racing Inc. Harley-Davidson XR1200), who is seeking redemption following an up-and-down '13 title defense.
Rapp will also be tested by a pair of ultra-talented riders who didn't challenge him for last year's crown. Kyle Wyman (No. 33 KWR/Millennium Technologies Harley-Davidson XR1200) triumphed in the first two runnings of the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series Daytona opener and came within 0.075 seconds of making it three straight a year ago.
Additionally, former AMA Pro SuperBike superstar and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley Davidson Series' first-ever champ, Danny Eslick (No. 69 Ruthless Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200) will be gunning for victory this weekend as brings his thrilling style back to the class once again.
The stacked field offers up several other potential winners, with Ben Carlson (No. 45 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200), Shane Narbonne (No. 64 Six Four Motorsports Harley-Davidson XR1200), David Estok (No. 123 Thrashed Bike Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200), Nick Hansen (No. 97 Aerostar Global Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200), Josh Chisum (No. 10 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200), and Barrett Long (No. 2 Longevity Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200) chief among them.
The seven-lap AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series opener will take place on Friday, March 14 at 2:15 p.m. EST.
How to Watch
will be the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site will also provide coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series. Complete details about FansChoice.tv will be released in the coming days.
About AMA Pro Road Racing
AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.