DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 27, 2009) – The only thing that wasn’t new for Jason DiSalvo during Friday’s Team Challenge race at Daytona International Speedway was his podium finish.
DiSalvo, rider of the No. 40 Suzuki for the Team M4 Suzuki, kicked off his 2009 racing season riding a new bike for a new team and managed to take the checkered flag in the Solo Division of the Team Challenge.
“Based on lap times from this morning I felt pretty comfortable about it,” DiSalvo said. “When (Celtic Racing’s) Michael Laverty came by me, I figured that I really didn’t have much chance to stay with him but thankfully my team made up the time difference exponentially in the pits.”
While the Team Challenge was only DiSalvo’s second time ever on the Suzuki 600, he was able to dominate the rest of the competitive field.
“I’ve learned the bike, but I haven’t perfected it yet,” DiSalvo said. “The bike and I are still in the early stages of our relationship.”
The 24-year-old DiSalvo finished third in overall points in 2008 AMA Superbike championship standings and finished third in the opening round at Daytona. However, after the 2008 season, DiSalvo and his factory Yamaha YZF-R1 team parted ways and DiSalvo was without a ride until early January.
“Usually we’re signing a deal by at least November,” DiSalvo said. “I remember spending Christmas at my wife’s parent’s house and thinking, ‘you know, it’s Christmas time and we don’t have a ride.’ ”
DiSalvo was able to pull out a win Friday afternoon that will hopefully set the tone for his remaining races during Daytona 200 Week By Honda, which includes the 68th Daytona 200 By Honda on Friday night, March 6th.
He’ll continue competing during this weekend's CCS and ASRA events before the AMA Pro Racing portion of events kicks off on Wednesday.
“It’s good,” DiSalvo said. “I still have a couple more races tomorrow that I have to get behind me and try and get some wins in those. We’ll just try and go for a clean sweep the week before the 200.”
Tickets for Daytona 200 Week By Honda events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Amateur GTU: 1. Hunter Propst, Suzuki 600; 2. Sean Cassell, Honda 600; 3. Robert Cloutier, Kawasaki 600
Expert GTU: 1. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki 600; 2. Jeff Wood, Yamaha 600; 3. Eric Wood, Honda 600
Amateur GT Lights: 1. Chris Anderson, Ducati 900; 2. Steve Grujic, Suzuki 650; 3. Michael Sabourin, Suzuki 650
Expert GT Lights: 1. Danny Bilansky, Buel 1200; 2. Kevin Mendez, BIMO 1000; 3. Joseph Rozynksi, Buel 1169
Expert GTO: 1. David Loikits, Suzuki 1000; 2. Jean Paul Tache, Suzuki 1000; 3. Alan Schmidt, Buel 1125
Amateur GTO: 1. Jordan Richardson, Buel 1125; 2. Javier Vazquez, Suzuki 750; 3. James Cohrs, Yamaha 600
Team Challenge GTL: 1. Kevin Mendez, Chris Bly, Bimo 1000; 2. Eric Helmsbach, Eric Wilson, Suzuki 650; 3. Tomas Puerta, Ferrando Perreyra, Suzuki 650
Team Challenge Overall: 1. David Sadowski Jr., Matt Sadowski, Yamaha 600; 2. Ryan Patterson, Matt McBride, Suzuki 1000; 3. Paul Schwemmer, John Ashmead, Kawasaki 600
Team Challenge Solo: 1. Jason DiSalvo, Suzuki 600; 2. Russell Wikle, Suzuki 600; 3. Michael Laverty, UNK
Team Challenge GTO: 1. Ryan Patterson, Matt McBride, Suzuki 1000; 2. Steve Wilkening, Matt Graham, Honda 999; 3. Chris Weakly, Mikal Pechota, UNK
Team Challenge GTU: 1. David Sadowski Jr., Matt Sadowski, Yamaha 600; 2. Paul Schwemmer, John Ashmead, Kawasaki 600; 3. Alex Shaw, Eric Helmbach, Kawasaki 636