DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 29, 2008) – Motorcycle legend Scott Russell is back at Daytona International Speedway.
Known as “Mr. Daytona,” Russell, who is tied with Miguel Duhamel with a record five Daytona 200 By Honda victories, is competing in this year’s Daytona 200 Week By Honda events aboard an orange Yamaha R1 for Jamie James.
Russell made his first return to DIS last October competing in the season-ending 8 Hours At Daytona SunTrust MOTO-ST race with the Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki team. Prior to that, he hadn’t raced professionally since the 2001 Daytona 200 By Honda when he suffered significant injuries.
The Conyers, Ga. native is using this weekend’s CCS/ASRA activities to shake down his bike for next week’s AMA events. He is getting used to the 2.90-mile road course, a layout he has never raced before here at DIS.
“It was the first time on the new configuration for me,” Russell said after participating in Friday’s Team Challenge race. “It was interesting. This bike is faster than anything I’ve ever rode here. I’ve got to get my head up to speed after being gone for that long. It was a big deal, kind of scary at first. I’m working into it slowly, trying not to run anybody over or get run over.
“(The Team Challenge) was a great practice session for us. I never intended to race with anybody. I just wanted to get by myself and do my own thing. Changed a lot on the bike and went from A to Z on the suspension. Now we got a little direction and know where we’re going, or at least we hope we know where we’re going.”
Russell says he plans to compete in Thursday’s Superstock 13-lap race and Saturday’s opening round of the AMA Superbike Championship 15-lap race.
“We’re promoting the Jamie James production bikes,” Russell said. “Jamie takes an R1 and puts his little twist on him and sells them to the public. He beefs them up as well as we’re also promoting his riding school. We’ve got a Jamie James Champions School at Barber in April. It’s his school and I’ll be one of the instructors. We’re using this whole thing as a promotional tool and just come and have some fun. It gave me opportunity to get back and it’ll help him promote his thing too.”
Russell dominated the Daytona 200 By Honda, America’s prestigious motorcycle race, in the 1990s winning five times (1992, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998).
Russell’s credentials also include an AMA Superbike Championship in 1992, the World Superbike Championship (1993), three AMA 750cc Supersport titles and the Suzuka Eight Hour endurance race. He was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.
After the long layoff, Russell knows he faces a steep challenge racing against AMA competition in next
“We’ve had only a month to get ready for this,” Russell said. “I knew a month ago we were going to do this. We’ve not tested once. I’ve been training for a full month solid getting ready. We’ll see where we stack up. I’ve definitely got a lot of work to do before I can run with those guys.”
Team Vallely Wins Team Challenge: The 52-lap Team Challenge kicked off nine-days of motorcycle racing at DIS on Friday. Team Vallely of Flagler Beach swept the top two overall spots with the team of Mark Crozier and Matt McBride taking the victory aboard the No. 3 Suzuki.
Finishing second overall was the No. 33 Vallely Racing entry with Frank Trombina and Kevin Vacumbe.
“The race went really well and really smooth and uneventful,” said Crozier, who rode the first shift on the bike. “Awesome start and started on the second row, going into the first turn we were in second. I sat on the guy for the first lap and passed him coming across the start/finish line. I kept my head down for the first few laps and started gapping. We ended up pulling toward a big lead and I was just out there for a Sunday afternoon ride.
“I knew we were fast. We were fast this morning in practice. We were fast yesterday in practice. I felt we had a really good shot at being the top team. Five or six laps in I radioed back to the crew and asked them how we were doing. They told me I had a five- or six-second lead. I knew if I could put my head down for a few more laps we could gap them even more. We got up to a 12 to 15 second lead and I just started cruising and just set in a pace.”
Tickets for all Daytona 200 Week By Honda events are available at 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.racetickets.com
Team Challenge Overall: 1. Mark Crosier, Matt McBride, Valley Racing; 2. Frank Trombina, Kevin Vacumbe, Valley Racing; 3. Calvin Martinez, Marco Martinez, Jasone Temme, Scott Barwood , Serpent Racing; GTO: 1. Roberto Pletri, Suzuki; 2. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki; 3.Blake Young, Unknown; Amateur GTO: 1. Dennis Espinosa, Suzuki; 2. Gustavo Sanchez, Yamaha; 3. Seth Baumann, Suzuki; Expert GT Lights: 1. Jason Edmonds, Bimota;2. Garrett Rice, Ducati; 3. Kevin Mendez, Bimota; Amateur GT Lights: 1. Joel Spalding, Buell; 2. Jorge Arana, United Motors; 3. Fernando Barbosa; Amateur GTU: 1. Robert Clouter, Kawasaki; 2.Rafael Ferrer, Kawasaki; 3. Larry Karpinsky, Yamaha; Expert GTU: 1. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki; 2. Cory West, Suzuki; 3. Garrett Carter, Suzuki