AMA: Eslick Wins Barn Burner in Day Two at Mid-Ohio
AMA Pro Racing Press Release
Danny Eslick's No. 9 GEICO Powersports RMR Buell 1125R came out victorious in a battle that went down to the wire with the eventual second-place No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R of Jamie Hacking in the second of two AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL races at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Six official lead changes came between the riders that claimed the top two spots over the course of the 21-lap sprint race that opened Sunday's races at the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tires.
The excitement began on the sighting lap, with Jake Zemke's No. 1X Erion Honda CBR600RR losing power in Turn 4. Last season's Formula Xtreme champion was forced to run back to the pits and start from the rear of the grid on his backup bike. A clean start followed and Eslick led the field through the first set of turns before being passed by Hacking in Turn 6. Eslick regained the top spot in Turn 1 on the following lap. That set of passes would set the tone for the two riders, occurring in the same fashion on Laps 14 and 15. Hacking recaptured the lead in Turn 6 on Lap 16 and was able to hold off a rushing Eslick for four more laps.
On the final lap, Eslick took a page from the Kawasaki rider's book and looked to the inside in Turn 6, but was unable to complete the pass. This set him up for an inside line through the Esses and the pair leaned on each other as they made their way through. The No. 9 Buell emerged as the leader and led the field to the finish.
"Jamie was real strong out of the keyhole," said Eslick. "He was strong out of it and strong into it, and I was good through the middle. We went back and forth a couple times. (The last lap pass) was the cleanest pass I could definitely make. There was some contact, but it was good. Jamie would have stuck it in there just as hard as I would have."
Josh Herrin's No. 8 Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 also presented a challenge, passing Hacking on Lap 3 and taking the lead from Eslick on Lap 7. Herrin officially led two laps, although he and Eslick traded the lead twice on Lap 8 before Eslick was able to take the lead from the Yamaha for the final time on Lap 9. Herrin finished 12th after an off-course excursion on Lap 13 allowed Hacking to challenge Eslick for the final portion of the race. In all, Hacking led for seven laps and earned his sixth podium and fifth second-place finish of the Daytona SportBike season.
"The race today was great," said Hacking. "We were pushing hard the entire race. I was stronger on this side of the race track and Danny was stronger back there in the back and it just made out for a really good race, close racing. I put everything I had into the last couple laps there and I thought I had the door closed enough. He muscled his way in there and made a clean pass. I had made that pass before and there were no hard feelings. He rode a great race, and we pulled away from everybody else this weekend."
Martin Cardenas recovered from a crash in Saturday's Daytona SportBike race to run clean and consistent, claiming the final spot on the podium aboard the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600. The Colombian now leads the Daytona SportBike standings by 10 points over Eslick, 285-275. Hacking is close behind in third with 241 points.
"It was a hard race for me because my confidence wasn't very good after two races, two crashes," said Cardenas. "So today that was the best I could do. These guys were a little bit faster than me, and I tried to stay with them, but five laps from the end I made a mistake and almost crashed and so I decided that third place was good enough for today."
Fourth place went to the No. 54 Latus Motors Racing Buell 1125R of Taylor Knapp, who pulled double-duty this weekend racing, where he also earned a top-10 finish on the No. 44 Taylor Knapp Racing Buell 1125RR in the final American Superbike race of the weekend. Roger Hayden encountered electrical problems in Saturday's race, but had a strong showing Sunday to complete the top five on the No. 95 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Zemke climbed 11 positions on the first lap and powered through the field to salvage a 10th place finish.
Next up for AMA Pro Daytona SportBike is a doubleheader at the Tornado Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka on the weekend of July 31-August 2.