Briar Bauman, riding the No. 14 Honda, led all 25 laps to capture the AMA Pro Grand National Expert Singles Main Event on Thursday night at the Daytona Flat Track.
Bauman, of Salinas, CA, held off Yamaha’s Sammy Halbert to secure the 1.951-second victory in the 25-lap, 18-rider event. The victory was Bauman’s first career AMA Pro Grand National Expert win at Daytona.
“I can’t feel my arms right now,” Bauman said. “I usually don’t get tight but when I saw the cross flags (halfway), I thought I better hold onto this.”
Rounding out the podium was Yamaha’s Halbert, who has three wins at the Daytona Flat Track, and Kawasaki’s Brandon Robinson, who was a winner at last year’s second night of racing action.
“It was a good race,” Halbert said. “I thought I was going to have something for him in the middle of the race but second was the best I could do.”
Kenny Coolbeth Jr., riding third behind Bauman and Halbert, put down his Honda in Turn 3 on Lap 8 and had to settle for a 17th- place finish.
In the 18-rider Pro Singles Main event, Ryan Wells of Albion, NY, riding the No. 94 KTM, dominated the event leading all 16 laps on his way to a 3.009-second win. Rounding out the podium were Justin Jones and Brandon Wilhelm, both on Hondas.
“First day at Daytona, I usually struggle so this is huge for me,” Wells said. “The goal was to get out first and stay out.”
“He had us dialed in today and checked out,” Jones said.
In the six-lap Expert Dash For Cash, featuring the top two riders in each of the Expert Heats, was won by Halbert.
“It feels great to get the first Dash win of the year,” said Halbert, who led every lap.
Riders winning the 10-lap Expert Heats were Bauman, Matt Weidman and Chad Cose. In the Expert semifinals Brad Baker and Jay Maloney captured the victories.
Action will conclude at the Daytona Flat Track on Friday night. For more information and tickets for the remaining Daytona 200 Week events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.
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