Chad Reed is back at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona Supercross By Honda. Not all that long ago he spent weekends here chasing Ricky Carmichael. This weekend, he’s chasing history.
Reed, an Australian native who lives in nearby Dade City, Florida, once was a fierce rival of the now-retired Carmichael, a five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion and generally considered the greatest of all Supercross riders. Times have changed, partially. Carmichael now designs the challenging Daytona course. Reed rides still, at the age of 32, and will try to win Daytona for the fourth time Saturday night. Only two others have reached that air: Jeff Stanton and Ryan Villopoto. Carmichael holds the event’s all-time victory mark.
Reed, coming back from shoulder surgery last year that shortened his season, won the 450 SX class main event two weeks ago at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, aboard the No. 22 Discount Tire Kawasaki 450F.
“I want to keep going [as long as I] feel like I’m competitive and when that drops out, I’ll want out,” Reed said Friday during the Daytona Supercross By Honda annual Media Day.
Reed won the Daytona Supercross By Honda in 2004, ’05 and ’09.
“Daytona is a special place for me … I grew up in the Ricky Carmichael era and around here, he was one bad-ass dude,” Reed said. “I think in all the years here I was one of only a couple guys who were able to take him down; 2005 is a memory I’ll take to the grave. We battled and I ended up getting the win.
“[For me] there are a lot of memories here. Just the heritage here. And, it’s such a brutal race. It’s an event I come to with a lot of enthusiasm.”
The Daytona course offers competitors a different sort of challenge. Outdoors … under the lights … the dirt surface that is clay with a sandy component – and some speedway infield grass on the fringes, for good measure.
“What’s unique about Daytona is you have to have a unique setup with the bikes,” Carmichael said. “You have a lot of Supercross-style jumps but also with the corners being on grass and natural dirt, it really gives you that outdoor Motocross feel which takes a lot different set-up a, softer feel. Typical Supercross set-ups are a lot stiffer to absorb the huge jumps. Here, you kind of have to have a hybrid set-up, you have to meet in the middle.
“It’s unique but that’s what makes it Daytona. Only the strong survive here.”
“Daytona is definitely … what’s the word … nostalgic I guess,” said Team Honda HRC rider Trey Canard. “This is a very prestigious race, one we all want to win and add our name to the list of some really great people [who have won Daytona].”
For more information and to purchase tickets for the Daytona Supercross By Honda, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.Fans also can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.