DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Tuesday, March 4) – With AHRMA wrapping up their second and final day of racing at historic Daytona International Speedway, AMA activities are scheduled to begin on Wednesday with Superstock, Supersport, Superbike and Formula Xtreme practice as well as Superstock and Supersport qualifying.
Here’s a look at AMA races on tap for the reminder of Daytona 200 Week By Honda:
AMA Superbike Opening Round and AMA Formula Xtreme 67th Daytona 200 By Honda
The prestigious Daytona 200 By Honda will go green on Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. and will feature a competitive field of riders including five-time Daytona 200 By Honda champion Miguel Duhamel.
Duhamel, currently tied with Scott Russell with five Daytona 200 By Honda wins, will attempt to win his sixth in the 69-lap motorcycle event. Duhamel is the winningest motorcycle rider at DIS with 12 wins.
But there are plenty of fellow Honda riders standing in his way including teammate Neil Hodgson and Erion Honda riders Josh Hayes and Jake Zemke, the 2006 Daytona 200 By Honda winner.
Said Hodgson: “The Daytona 200 is the most important race of the year. For me, I always think it’s a fair representative of what happens on the race track does happen on the street. You don’t just ride on the street for 30 minutes, you can ride for two hours. The race is two hours long. You need reliability. Honda is famous for the fastest and most reliable bikes out there hence the success in this race over the past 67 attempts. I hope everything stays the same. I can’t see why anything would be any different. Honda definitely has a fast motorcycle for me and I’m going to turn the throttle.”
In last year’s Daytona 200 By Honda, Honda riders ran into fuel problems right before their first scheduled pit stops opening the door for Attack Kawasaki’s Steve Rapp to pull off the stunning upset.
“It’s going to be hard,” Rapp said during tire testing at DIS. “It’s going to be a lot of competition. I feel good. I think we’re going to have a better setup and a better package. We came in last year, it was my first year on the Kawasaki, my first year on the Pirellis, my first race (with new team). It was a lot of new stuff.
“Now we have a year together. The bike I think is set up better. I think I’m riding better and the tire should develop a little bit too. I think it has the potential to be a great Daytona again.”
Before the Daytona 200 By Honda goes green, two-time defending AMA Superbike champion Ben Spies of Yoshimura Suzuki will look for a Daytona repeat in the 2008 AMA Superbike Opening Round.
All eyes will be on Yoshimura Suzuki’s Spies and Mat Mladin, who have combined to win the past four Superbike events at DIS (including the Daytona 200 By Honda in 2004).
Other riders in the 15-lap, 70k-race to keep an eye on include Duhamel, Hodgson, Eric Bostrom, Jason DiSalvo, Jamie Hacking, Tommy Hayden, Aaron Yates, Roger Hayden and Chris Ulrich.
Motorcycle legend Scott Russell, known as “Mr. Daytona” for his five Daytona 200 By Honda wins, will also be competing in Saturday’s Opening Round of the AMA Superbike Championship as well as the AMA Superstock on Thursday, March 6.
AMA Superstock and Supersport
On Thursday, March 6, DIS will host an exciting doubleheader of motorcycle racing with the Superstock (3:50 p.m.) and Supersport (4:50 p.m.) events.
Roger Hayden, who captured his first AMA title last year, will shoot for a record third straight Supersport victory in the 22-lap, 100k-event. Hayden, who will be running the No. 1 plate for Kawasaki, joined Miguel Duhamel as the only back-to-back winners in the Supersport event after last year’s win.
In Superstock, Ben Spies, last year’s Superstock Daytona winner, will not participate in this year’s race as he focuses on his Superbike efforts. Top contenders in the 13-lap, 60k race include Michael Jordan Motorsports riders Aaron Yates and Geoff May, Team M4 EMGO Suzuki’s Blake Young and Corona Honda’s Jake Holden.
Daytona Supercross By Honda
The competition in the prestigious Daytona Supercross on Friday night, March 7 at historic Daytona International Speedway is going to be wide open.
With 2007 Daytona Supercross by Honda winner James Stewart sitting out with a knee injury, the action is going to be unpredictable with the top contenders such as Yamaha’s Chad Reed – a two-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion – as well as Honda’s Davi Millsaps and Kevin Windham and Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry.
Millsaps, who finished ninth in the 2007 Daytona Supercross by Honda, will be competing with his first Supercross victory under his belt after winning the recent Atlanta Supercross at the Georgia Dome.
Ricky Carmichael, who retired from competition last year and owns a record five Daytona Supercross by Honda victories, is designing the track, which is staged in the tri-oval area of Daytona International Speedway. Former Supercross Champion and three-time National Champion Mark Barnett is constructing the course.
AMA Flat Track
The 2008 AMA Flat Track Championship Series will kick off Wednesday, March 5, and Thursday, March 6 with two National Singles races at the nearby Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium. The defending 2007 winners, Suzuki’s Jake Johnson and Suzuki’s Mike Rush, will look to score victories once again in the tough and unpredictable Flat Track at Municipal Stadium.