DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — On Friday afternoon, AMA Supercross stars Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey and Trey Canard as well as course designer and five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion Ricky Carmichael participated in media day at Daytona International Speedway and got their first taste of the course for Saturday’s Daytona Supercross By Honda.
The Daytona Supercross By Honda, which traditionally features one of the toughest and most challenging layouts of the season, was designed for the fourth straight year by Carmichael, who owns 150 AMA wins and 15 championships.
New to the Ricky Carmichael Signature Design this year is the placement of the starting gate, which is now located on pit road and will provide fans with a great view of the first turn.
“It’s exciting,” said American Honda’s Trey Canard of the starting gate. “I think it’s going to be really cool for the fans – to be coming right at them and looking right at them before we take off.”
“It opens up the first turn to a 90 degree instead of a 180 and gives everybody a chance at the shot no matter where they are at the gate,” said Dungey, who rides for Rockstar Makita Suzuki.
Carmichael, who now competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, can’t wait to see the action in Saturday’s Daytona Supercross By Honda.
“The racing has been epic this year,” said Carmichael, whose nickname is the G.O.A.T – the Greatest of All-Time. “I’m excited for these guys to get on this track tomorrow. It’s going to be a great race. That’s what we’re here to do and what we’re looking forward to happening tomorrow.”
The Daytona Supercross By Honda is unique on the schedule, and with the course being an outside venue, it’s known for being the most physically demanding race on the circuit.
Chad Reed, a three-time winner of the Daytona Supercross By Honda, is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s just a special race,” Reed said. “I think what’s unique about it is we’ve done eight races and we’ve been concentrating on that style of (indoor) racing since September. So this is like a blessing. It’s like, ‘Wow, we’re outdoors.’
“It’s kind of nasty and pretty gnarly. It’s brutal for us. It’s very physically demanding but it breaks up that rhythm at least for me and I like that. It’s a different challenge. It’s a blessing and comes at the right time of the season for me.”
Said Dungey: “It’s always fun coming here. It’s one of the one-off races of the supercross season. It’s kind of got a more outdoor feel. The rhythm is really busy, the track is going to get pretty physically demanding. But it’s exciting to be here, you know there’s a lot of history in this place -- Daytona International Speedway. To have the opportunity as a rider to come here and race dirt bikes is a great position to be in. It’s always fun coming back. It’s something new, it’s something exciting, it’s something different.”
The race is also going to highlight a tight championship chase. Entering Saturday’s race, defending race winner Ryan Villopoto owns a 10-point lead over James Stewart with Reed sitting in third 21 points behind. Rounding out the top five are American Honda’s Trey Canard (25 points back) and Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey (26 points back).
For more information and tickets for the Daytona Supercross By Honda, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.