Ryan Dungey, so close to winning the Daytona Supercross By Honda so many times, finally got the career-defining breakthrough victory Saturday night.
Dungey came to Daytona International Speedway this year with a strong history: four podium finishes since 2010, including two runner-up efforts. After his victory, he admitted to some past frustrations about coming up short at DIS.
“Tonight was awesome,” said the KTM 450 SX-F rider from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had never won this race and it’s really special. We need to really enjoy these wins. To be able to finally win here … I’ve been here so many times.”
He took the lead on Lap 8 of the 20-lap 450SX event, with a well-timed pass of Andrew Short’s KTM. Short had ridden the hole shot to a solid lead until Dungey closed in. Dungey finished the grueling ride 4.271 seconds ahead of Honda CRF 450 rider Eli Tomac; Blake Baggett finished third on a Suzuki RM-Z450.
Dungey and three-time Daytona champion Chad Reed (Kawasaki KX 450F) won the two 450SX class six-lap heats that automatically advanced the top-four finishers to the 450 final. The 450 semifinals were won by Weston Peick (Yamaha YZ450F) and Mike Alessi (Suzuki RM-Z450); the class’ “last-chance” qualifier was won by Nicholas Schmidt (Suzuki RM-Z450).
Dungey got his fourth win of the season – and his second-straight, after last week’s triumph in Atlanta – to further boost his quest for a second Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series championship. His first title came in 2010.
“These wins are important right now,” Dungey said.
The 15-lap 250 SX final was won by Marvin Musquin of Corona, Calif., on a KTM 250 SX-F, with Honda CRF 250 rider Justin Bogle second and Yamaha YZ250F rider Jeremy Martin third. It was the third victory of the season for Musquin.
Musquin and RJ Hampshire (Honda CRF 250) took the two six-lap 250SX heats. The four-lap last-chance sprint was won by Gannon Audette (Kawasaki KX 250F).
Musquin also won the 250 class at Daytona in 2013.
“This is like a dream and today it comes true for the second time,” Musquin said.
RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki Factory Racing rider Ken Roczen, one of the pre-race favorites and one of the top competitors in the 450 class, withdrew after re-injuring his left ankle in Saturday afternoon’s opening 450SX practice. Roczen came into the event third in the series point standings, with two event victories.
For the eighth-consecutive year, five-time Daytona Supercross By Honda champion Ricky Carmichael returned as the course designer; Bomber Built, owned by three-time AMA 125cc national Motocross champion Mark Barnett, constructed the course. Carmichael retired from Supercross in 2007 as the most decorated rider in history with 15 AMA championships and 150 victories. The course had a new look with the starting gate moved from pit road to the west end of the tri-oval grass and competitors raced in a clockwise direction.
The sixth annual Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross is set for Sunday and Monday (March 8-9) followed by the inaugural FLY Racing ATV Supercross on Tuesday (March 10). Daytona 200 Week wraps up with the Daytona Flat Track doubleheader on Thursday and Friday nights (March 12-13); and the 74th running of the historic Daytona 200 will be next Saturday (March 14) on the speedway’s famed 3.51-mile road course.
For more information and to purchase tickets for Daytona 200 Week events, 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.