Confusion in Daytona, Florida lead many race fans, and racers with some doubt as to who won, and whether not a full race had in fact occurred for this year’s Daytona 200. In a press release issued by the AMA, the sequence of events that led to the 6-lap sprint to the finish are as follows:
The lighting system that illuminated the chicane that leads into NASCAR turn 3 experienced a failure on or about lap 36, which brought out the “safety” (AKA pace) car. During this caution an unnamed rider collided with Graves Yamaha’s Tommy Aquino, causing Aquino to go down, which brought out the red flag, idling the field for nearly a half-hour. After a few warm-up laps behind the safety car, racing resumed only to to go back under caution when M4 Suzuki’s Kris Turner went down in the Horseshoe. Racing resumed in earnest on lap 49 and did not go back to yellow for the remainder of the race.
AMA race director Colin Fraser said that the discrepancy was a mistake and would not make excuses for the foul-up.
Lastly, Paradigm Racing’s Barrett Long, after a post-race protest, was given credit for a lap that was not counted during the red flag period which elevated him to 6th place ahead of Chaz Davies. Continue reading for the racing results.
37 laps into the scheduled 57 lap race, Bostrom’s Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Hayes had pulled out to a 5 second lead and looked to be well on his way to erasing the bitter memory of last year’s race disqualification that robbed him of his 1st 200 win. Then, Tommy Aquino went down in the chicane as the apparent end result of a lighting snafu which had brought out the pace car. The race was subsequently red-flagged which left 70-plus racers cooling ther heels on pit road for approximately 30 minutes.
On the restart, the order was Josh Hayes, Bostrom, Martin Cardenas, Jason DiSalvo and Jake Zemke. A couple of crashes and pace car deployments later, Bostrom pits, apparently losing almost a full lap in the process. Still on track, the pace car waves everybody by and they all take off at top speed. But when Bostrum comes up behind the pace car he is held until the rest of the pack catches back up.
After yet another restart, Josh Hayes eventually passes Bostrom to re-take the lead but crashes out on lap 52 of 57. Ben Bostrom took the lead from M4 Suzuki rider Jason DiSalvo on the run through Daytona International Speedway’s tri-oval on Lap 53 and then joined young teammate Josh Herrin in scoring a one-two finish for Team Graves Yamaha Friday in the Daytona 200 by Honda AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL race.
Starting first on the grid on his No. 1s Yamaha YZF-R6 after winning the pole in Thursday’s single-bike Superpole qualifying, Bostrom became the first rider since Miguel Duhamel in 2005 to win America’s premier motorcycle road race from the top starting spot. He won his first career Daytona 200 victory in his fifth start and had a previous best finish of second in 2003.
“I’ve tried to win this thing,” Bostrom said. “We have been on the pole here twice now and I have lost the race here by two-thousandths of a second. I know what it’s like in the heart when you take second at Daytona. It hurts. Now I know what it’s like to win.”
After Bostrom took the lead for good, Hayes was in hot pursuit only to lose control of his Yamaha exiting the infield’s east horseshoe section. Hayes was uninjured after the tumble but will have to wait another year for his next shot at what is becoming an elusive Daytona 200 victory. He led a race high 27 laps, Bostrom led 22 laps, Cardenas – who finished eighth – was in front for four laps and DiSalvo and Herrin each led a single lap.
“It was a really awesome race and really eventful and probably one of the most exciting races I have been in,” Herrin said. “For being my first 200, actually for my first race over 20 laps, I think I did really good and I am really happy with it. We got a Yamaha one-two finish and that might be the first time that has been done in the 200.”
Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) and Shawn Higbee (No. 11 Higbee-Racing.com Buell 1125R) rounded out the top five to make it four different manufacturers represented in the top-five finishers.
Next up for AMA Pro Road Racing is the AMA Pro Suzuki Superbike Challenge, Round 2 of 2009’s schedule at Auto Club Speedway, March 20 – 22.
Finishing Order for the Daytona 200:
1. Ben Bostrom
2. Josh Herrin
3. Jason DiSalvo
4. Jamie Hacking
5. Shawn Higbee
6. Chaz Davies
7. Dane Westby
8. Martin Cardenas
9. Leandro Mercado
10. Steve Rapp