Mar 16 | 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona Scheduled for January 26-27, 2013

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DIS and GRAND-AM Road Racing officials today announced that the next edition of America’s most prestigious sports car race – the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona – will take place on January 26-27, 2013.

2012 Rolex 24 champions
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona International Speedway and GRAND-AM Road Racing officials today announced that the next edition of America’s most prestigious sports car race – the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona – will take place on January 26-27, 2013.

“We’re still riding the wave of excitement from the historic 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 and we expect to keep that great momentum going as we head into next year’s twice-around-the-clock challenge,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III.  “This past January, we hosted one of the largest crowds in Rolex 24 history and all of those fans can look forward to another unforgettable weekend of world class sports car action at the ‘World Center of Racing.’ ”

“This year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona raised the bar for sports car racing in North America,” GRAND-AM President Tom Bledsoe said. “Next year, expectations for the Rolex 24 will be higher than ever. Everyone at GRAND-AM is ready to meet and exceed those expectations.”

The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 as well as the international motorsports calendar, showcases the world’s best drivers competing against each other lap after lap for 24 hours on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging and demanding 3.56-mile road course.

Tickets for the 51st Rolex 24 At Daytona will go on sale May 26, 2012. 

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Mar 16 | Update on Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway

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President Joie Chitwood III provides an update on Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The following statement can be attributed to Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III:

“We’re looking forward to a successful Daytona 200 on Saturday.  Since the jet dryer incident occurred on Feb. 27, we have washed and cleaned the affected area of the racetrack in Turn 3 multiple times, and applied street bond.  We have worked closely with AMA Pro Racing officials and we’re both very confident it will not present any issues during the Daytona 200.

“Once we complete our motorcycle events, we are going to conduct long-term repairs to that area of the asphalt, which will include removing and repaving the affected areas.  Lane Construction, the team who worked on the track repave in 2010, will handle the repave project.  Once this work is complete, we expect to have no further issues related to the jet dryer crash and we’ll be ready to go for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola in July.”

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).


Mar 15 | Honda’s Johnny Lewis Captures Opening Night At Daytona Flat Track

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Honda’s Johnny Lewis of Coatesville, Pa., opened up the first night at the Daytona Flat Track with a victory in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert Main Event.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Honda’s Johnny Lewis of Coatesville, Pa., opened up the first night at the Daytona Flat Track with a victory in the AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship Expert Main Event.

Lewis led every lap of the 25-lap, 18-rider main event on Thursday night for his first career victory at the “World Center of Racing.” Lewis held off fellow Honda rider Matt Weidman for a margin of victory of .696 seconds.

“I took the right starting spot,” said Lewis, who finished second on both nights at last year’s GNC Expert Main Events at Daytona. “I couldn’t do it without my team. This is cool. This whole weekend means a lot to get a win.”

Yamaha’s Sammy Halbert, who swept both nights of the Daytona Flat Track last year, rounded out the podium.

“It was a really tough race,” Halbert said. “It was a very competitive start. I did my best. It took me a long time to get up third.” 

In a tight battle in the 16-lap Pro Main event, Gerit Callies of Hartford, S.D., riding aboard a KTM, outlasted Kawasaki’s Hayden Gillim by 1.198 seconds. Rounding out the podium was Alex Wood.

“I had some good hole shots,” Callies said. “It’s good to start the season on top of the box.”

The six-lap Expert Dash For Cash, featuring the top two riders in each of the Expert Heats, was won by Halbert, who slipped past Jared Mees on the final lap. Halbert pocketed $1,000 for the win.

The AMA Pro Flat Track Grand National Championship events at the Daytona Flat Track will be broadcast by SPEED Channel on Saturday, March 17 at 10:30 p.m.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Mar 15 | Josh Hayes on the provisional pole for AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike At Daytona

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Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes kicked off the 2012 season on the right note by taking the provisional pole for this weekend’s opening rounds of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes kicked off the 2012 season on the right note by taking the provisional pole on Thursday for this weekend’s opening rounds of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike at Daytona International Speedway.

Aboard the No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, Hayes toured the 2.91-mile road course with a fast lap of one minute, 38.385 seconds, 106.114 mph.

The Gulfport, Miss., native will try to hold onto the top spot during the final SuperBike qualifying session on Friday morning. The 15-lap Round 1 of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with the second round set for Saturday at 11 a.m.

“I’ve worked pretty hard (training) in the offseason,” Hayes said. “I feel really good on the bike. I’m doing lots of laps. I’m comfortable. I’m having a lot of fun riding the motorcycle. I didn’t ride very much in the offseason. I have tested only four days since riding a GP bike in November. All in all, I’m really happy.”
If Hayes retains the pole Friday morning, he will earn a point toward the season-ending championship.

“Every time I get on the motorcycle, I want to be the best guy riding around the race track,” Hayes said. “If you strive for that, I think success comes along with it. I’m going to keep doing that. It works for me.”

Rounding out the top five in provisional SuperBike qualifying were Blake Young (Suzuki), Roger Hayden (Suzuki), Josh Herrin (Yamaha) and Ben Bostrom (Suzuki).

On the 3.51-mile road course in n provisional AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport qualifying, Corey Alexander aboard the No. 5 Suzuki took the pole with a speed of 112.093 mph. In the Vance & Hines XR-1200, Kyle Wyman captured the pole with a speed of 99.782 mph.

Both Vance & Hines XR-1200 and SuperSport will have final qualifying sessions on Friday morning prior to their afternoon events. Also on tap Friday is Daytona SportBike qualifying for Saturday’s 71st running of the Daytona 200 where the fastest rider will earn the coveted Rolex watch.

For more information on activities during Daytona 200 Week, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Mar 13 | Daytona 200 Preview: Jason DiSalvo To Defend Title Against Competitive Field

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Daytona 200 pits man against machine in a demanding battle on Daytona's 3.51-mile road course.

Jason DiSalvo
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The 2012 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season kicks off this weekend from the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, with 47 competitors entered to take part in the 71st running of the historic DAYTONA 200.

America's longest-running endurance motorcycle road race, the DAYTONA® 200 was first held on the shores of Daytona Beach in 1937. Today, the 200-mile, 57-lap race pits man against machine in a demanding battle on the 3.51-mile traditional motorcycle course at the famed speedway. Practice and qualifying for this year's event will be held on Thursday, March 15 and Friday, March 16, with the start of the race scheduled for Saturday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m.
 
In last year's contest, fortune was looking down upon Jason DiSalvo as the always-impressive Team Latus crew persevered during a red-flag situation to repair the No. 40 Ducati 848 and get the Batavia, N.Y. native back in the show for the race's final laps. DiSalvo didn't disappoint, earning victory as the sun began to set on the high banks. For 2012, DiSalvo returns with the same team and a different brand to begin his 2012 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike title fight. Paying homage an American motorcycle racing legend, DiSalvo's helmet, leathers and Team Latus Motors Racing Triumph Daytona 675 will feature a one-off design scheme for Daytona in the style of the classic, championship-winning No. 9 Triumph Triple ridden by the late Gary Nixon.
 
Grid positions for the DAYTONA 200 will be determined by the combined results of two timed qualifying sessions scheduled for Friday, March 16 at 8:45 a.m. and later that same day at 1:10 p.m. The DAYTONA 200 Pole Award, and the accompanying Rolex Daytona Cosmograph, will be given to the pole position winner at noon on Saturday, March 17 during opening ceremonies for the 71st running of the historic 57-lap, 200-mile race.
 
Jake Zemke, winner of the 2006 DAYTONA 200 and of last year's DAYTONA 200 Pole Award, will also be back at Daytona on a new brand. The Californian led the majority of the 2011 DAYTONA 200 before finishing the race in third and has joined forces with Ducshop to compete aboard the No. 98 Ducshop Racing Ducati 848 in the 2012 season. Italian Dario Marchetti will compete aboard the team's No. 23 Ducshop Racing Ducati 848 entry.
 
The importance of the team component to success in the DAYTONA 200 is often underestimated. As the only event on the calendar that requires pit stops, with all of the intricacies of quick tire changes and safe refueling, it's easy to overlook the fact that the race is often decided by just fractions of a second - last year DiSalvo had an official margin of victory of just 0.029 seconds over Vesrah Suzuki's Cory West. West will be looking to improve by one position this year and top the podium on the No. 57 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600, racing with and against new teammate and GoPro Daytona SportBike rookie Benny Solis (No. 35 Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki Team Suzuki GSX-R600) for the duration of the season.
 
Following a successful bid in AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, 2010 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Champion Martin Cardenas returns to the class aboard the No. 36 GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600. Cardenas' last result in the DAYTONA® 200 came in 2009, when he finished ninth. That ninth place finish isn't indicative of the Colombian's innate ability however, which becomes apparent when noting the 17 victories he earned over three years in the top tiers of AMA Pro Road Racing competition, including a rare maiden victory in his debut National Guard SuperBike season last year. Dane Westby, riding the No. 5 M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki GSX-R600, poses an equally-significant threat and both riders' teams stem from the same racing DNA, well-known for being some of the paddock's most experienced endurance racing teams.
 
Another team with a strong history in endurance racing is Graves Yamaha. This year, the team's impressive two-rider stable of debut-race winners includes Cameron Beaubier (No. 6 Yamaha Extended Service, Graves, Yamaha YZF-R6) and Garrett Gerloff (No. 8 Yamaha Extended Service, Graves, Yamaha YZF-R6). Beaubier is no stranger to victory at Daytona, having earned a victory in his first AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race in the 2010 season, and Gerloff's Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport debut race likewise ended in victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park last year.
 
The recently-created RoadRace Factory Red Bull Team also has a solid two-rider GoPro Daytona SportBike roster which is sure to be at the front when the checkers fall. JD Beach (No. 95 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6) led two laps of last year's contest and finished the race in fourth, and the 2008 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Champion has been training hard in the offseason with new teammate Jake Gagne (No. 123 RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha YZF-R6). Gagne is a GoPro Daytona SportBike rookie whose accolades also include a Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship, earned two years after Beach in 2010.
 
LTD Racing's Huntley Nash (No. 75 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) earned two Top 10s last year and now has a full season of GoPro Daytona SportBike under his belt. Beginning at Daytona, LTD Racing's second Yamaha will be piloted by 2011 SuperSport West Champion and GoPro Daytona SportBike rookie David Gaviria (No. 700 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6). Gaviria's last-lap victory in 2011's SuperSport Race 2 at Daytona is a clear indication of the Colombian's riding skill and LTD Racing's two-rider force will be one to be reckoned with in 2012.
 
Another SuperSport West Champion will be back at Daytona in 2012, with 2010 SuperSport West Champion Joey Pascarella slotted to ride the No. 52 Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha YZF-R6. The combination of Project 1 Atlanta and Pascarella is sure to be fast; The Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha earned pole position and led 25 laps of last year's contest with Zemke at the controls and Pascarella has already demonstrated his winning ways at Daytona with a 2010 victory in SuperSport Race 2.
 
Tommy Aquino (No. 827 SGA Racing/Yamaha Champions Riding School Yamaha YZF-R6), who finished third in the 2011 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Rider Championship, will be racing in the DAYTONA 200 round of AMA Pro Road Racing before heading overseas to race in the CEV Moto2 Spanish National Championship for Wilmax Racing.  Aquino's teammate on the SGA Racing squad is Robertino Pietri (No. 16 Katra/SGA Racing Yamaha YZF-R6), who returns to full-time AMA Pro Road Racing competition following two seasons of racing in the Moto2 Championship.
 
Yamaha will be well represented at Daytona, with 28 of the 47 GoPro Daytona SportBike riders entered on the Yamaha YZF-R6. The most recent Yamaha added to the fold is the No. 50 Meen Motorsports Racing entry, which combines the riding talent Bobby Fong with some of the industry's best tuners.
 
The largest team entered in this year's contest, Triple Crown Industries will host a four-rider lineup consisting of Paul Allison (No. 20 Triple Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6), Michael Barnes (No. 34 Triple Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6), Austin Dehaven (No. 56 Triple Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6) and Sam Rozynski (No. 175 Triple Crown Industries Yamaha YZF-R6). Allison finished 10th in last year's DAYTONA 200.
 
Fan-favorite Melissa Paris recently inked a deal that will see her competing aboard the No. 13 Sea Miracle Yamaha Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 during the 2012 AMA Pro Road Racing season. Paris, the wife of two-time, reigning AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes, holds the record for the highest finish for a female rider in the 71-year history of the DAYTONA 200 with her 2009 finish of 21st place.
 
The bar was raised for the DAYTONA® 200 mileage record in 2011 and both the current record holder and one of his only close contenders will be at it again in 2012. Heading into last year's contest, Ricky Orlando (No. 12 Ricky Orlando Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R) was nine miles behind Rick Shaw's record of 3,728 miles but finished the race on top with 3,857 miles. 1989 DAYTONA 200 winner John Ashmead (No. 37 Peter Brady Racing Kawasaki ZX-6R) now sits in third place with 3,679 miles, and is still mathematically within reach of claiming the record for his own if the chips fall in his favor this weekend.
 
AMA Pro Fan Walk sessions will take place on two occasions over the race weekend, during which fans will be able to circulate on pit lane to visit with their favorite riders and teams from AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series. There will be a host of additional fan-specific activities and events during the DAYTONA 200 Week at Daytona International Speedway, including demo rides, vendor offerings at the Daytona Motorcycle Marketplace and live entertainment, games and bikini contests at Thunder Alley. Another experience not to miss is the seventh-annual "Spring Dash Around Daytona" - the chance to take two laps around Daytona International Speedway's 3.56-mile road course on Saturday, March 17 immediately after the DAYTONA 200.

Mar 10 | Stewart Rolls to Second DAYTONA Supercross By Honda Victory

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James Stewart, riding the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha, captured his second career Daytona Supercross By Honda victory on a muddy rain-soaked course Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart 325

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – James Stewart, riding the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha, captured his second career Daytona Supercross By Honda victory on a muddy rain-soaked course Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., slipped past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Davi Millsaps on Lap 3 and dominated the rest of the 16-lap event to win by a margin of 7.572 seconds.

“It means a lot,” said Stewart, whose previous Daytona Supercross win came in 2007. “I felt good all day. I was fastest in practice. Once I got in front, I was just trying to survive.”

Rain showers throughout the day made for a muddy course. Due to the course conditions, AMA shortened the Supercross Main Event by four laps and the Lites Main Event by three laps.

Rounding out the podium were Millisaps in second and Honda’s Kevin Windham in third.

Ryan Villopoto, the two-time defending Daytona Supercross champion and current AMA Supercross points leader, fell during the first corners of the race and salvaged a fifth-place finish.

Villopoto maintains a 29-point lead in the AMA Supercross championship standings over KTM rider Ryan Dungey, who sat out the race after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone.

“That finish is a lot better than what it could have been,” Villopoto said.

In the 12-lap Lites Main Event, Honda’s Justin Barcia stayed unbeaten in 2012 by holding off Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett by a margin of 2.537 seconds.

Barcia led from the start but received a challenge for the lead from Baggett in the final laps.

“It was such a tough race,” Barcia said.

“I gave it everything I had,” said Baggett, who won last year’s Lites Main Event at Daytona.

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