2018 Daytona Bike Weeks in the Books

March 29, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The start of the 77th annual  bike weeks started off on a great note at Daytona International Speedway. There was lots to do in Thunder Alley with all the demo rides, vendors and live music.  The weather was great with sunny skies in the mid 70’s making it that much better. The Rally and Thunder Alley was on the outside of the Speedway while Qualifying for the AMA Supercross was getting under way its on the inside the 2.5 mile speedway on the infield where NASCAR’s #3 Austin Dillon was doing celebration donuts after his win of the Daytona 500 and carving the number 3 into the grass 20 years to the weekend of the horrible passing of Dale Earnhardt Sr.

So how appropriate would it be if Kawasaki’s #3 Eli Tomac took his machine to victory circle? In my mind I think that would be completely awesome! because of the history at Daytona of the #3 Dale Earnhardt and now Austin Dillon.
Racing and family go a long way at this track. Austin Dillon bringing a cherishable win for his Grandfather Richard Childress. Dale Sr and Dale Jr celebrating together at this venue that will always live on. Oh yeah can’t forget the Petty’s either as the list could go on.

Growing up, the family past time  was go to Supercross  events as a family, it was a way to bond with cooking food, playing games in the parking lot , watching some good racing and enjoying each other. Times like these as a kid are priceless as we get older.

As the day went on during qualifying we were able to catch up to a couple privateers , Jet  Renu’s Justin Ashburn #455 , Jet Renu’s David Pulley #608.

Justin Ashburn has been a warrior on the start of this AMA Monster Energy East Coast tour battling injury and still competing . In talking with him, his goals for the 2018 season is getting ready for the Outdoor Nationals tour. For Justin, family and racing go along way. His father always gave him lots of support when younger, they would travel to the races as a team in order to compete. The help he received from his Dad when younger made it possible for him to be at the pro level now.
David has been a trooper as he has started from the first round in Anaheim, CA and has battled through adversity to have the commitment to do 99% of the AMA Monster Energy Supercross tour. This year for the tour David has made the transition from Yamaha to Honda. In speaking with him, the switch has been rather smooth because the Honda fits more of his riding style than the Yamaha. Learning more and more everyday with the Honda allows him to improve each and every week. Unfortunately, mechanical issues plagued David at this round. He too, said family and racing go along way. This was their past time with him growing up. His parents would support David as much as possible to cheer him on at the track when he was racing. As to date, he would fly his father out to come watch him for the East Coast rounds. “Family is a great aspect of the sport and it brings us closer together. Making it great."
Everyone that is into racing loves Daytona! The atmosphere , the action & the people!
The racing was on point all night long in the heats and in the mains. Starting with 450 Heat 1 as the gate dropped the riders headed into the first corner with KTM rider Marvin Musquin #25 hitting a tough block, making it come out onto the track, where right behind him was points leader , Husqvarna rider Jason Anderson #21 had nowhere to go , hitting it , sending him and his bike flying, dropping him to last! Meanwhile, giving the holeshot to the Honda rider Justin Brayton #10. The race continues with the #10 and the #25 battling bar to bar with about a second in-between them. Anderson finding himself in a hole with time on his side having to finish 9th or better to make the main; picking slower riders off one by one , eventually finishing 9th transferring to the main event. On the last lap, #25 battling with the #10, Musquin goes down in the sand, allowing Brayton to take the win in 450 Heat 1.
The drama continues to unfold in 450 Heat 2, the gate drops with a clean start and Yamaha’s #2 Cooper Webb takes the hole shot with Honda’s Christian Craig #32 in a close second. Soon after the first lap Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac #3 would come into the mix with all three riders less than a second apart. Heading into the sand the  #3 would make his move on the #32 and passing him for second! The race continues as now the #3 starts to reel in the #2 going fender to fender with less than 1/2 a second in between the two riders. The # 3 is patient to make his move as they head down the Tri-oval  crossing the finish line heading into the sand turn where the #3 makes his move running into the leader and taking both himself and #2 out. They both go down in the sand as the #32 in the cat bird seat  passes them both, leaving the # 2 into 4th and the #3 into 7th with 2 laps to go!   The #32 takes the his first ever win of the 450 Heat 2. The #2 finishes 4th and the #3 battles back to take 6th with a close finish with the #22 of Chad Reed to take 5th. After the race, I thought there was gonna be a fight in between the #3 and #2 like the classic NASCAR days! Things calmed down though!

The Mains are approaching , the track is getting knarely with the deep ruts and

the sand slowly deteriorating throughout the night.

The riders line up for the 450 Main Event and the gate drops with the #32 of Christian Craig taking the holeshot with the #10 Justin Brayton closely behind him passing #32 right after the finish line heading into the sand turn. Kawasaki's #3 Eli Tomac would go down after the first lap clipping #34 Weston Pieck's back tire in the turn pushing #3 to last. Luckily, with time on his side, a couple mistakes of Anderson and Musquin going down, the #3 would  not be able to catch up to the #10 finishing 2nd and Brayton would take his very first Supercross win after 131 career starts while dominating the whole day.



 


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