DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Triumph rider Danny Eslick dominated Saturday’s 73rd Daytona 200 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Daytona International Speedway, winning from the pole and leading 44 of the 57 laps.
Eslick, riding the No. 69 Triumph Daytona 675, became the first rider to win the Daytona 200 aboard a Triumph since the late Gary Nixon in 1967.
The Broken Arrow, Okla., rider won by a margin of 10.975 seconds.
“It’s awesome,” Eslick said. “I’ve gotten the pole before. My very first 200 I got fourth. There’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of years have passed by to get this victory. It means a lot.”
While Eslick had some fierce racing with riders Jason DiSalvo and Dane Westby during the race, pit stops from his Riders Discount Racing Triumph team proved to be the difference.
Pit stops for the Daytona 200 are the most important thing,” Eslick said. “You can’t have bad stops and we had great pit stops.”
After taking the checkered flag, Eslick put on an enthusiastic celebration that included a victory lap with the checkered flag.
“This one was pretty nerve-wracking,” Eslick said. “This is one of the biggest races in the world. Obviously the biggest one I’ve ever won. Laguna Seca was pretty special a couple of years ago. But anything involved with Daytona is pretty incredible. This trophy is going to sit up loud and proud right in the middle of my house.”
Rounding out the podium were Yamaha riders Jake Gagne and Jake Lewis.
AMA SuperBike Round 2
The AMA Pro SuperBike Race 2 came down to a four-bike shootout between Graves Yamaha riders Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes, and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden and Martin Cardenas.
With six laps remaining, Hayes ran off the course in Turn 1 due to mechanical issues on his No. 4 Yamaha.
On the final lap, Beaubier drafted past Hayden coming out of the chicane to win by .090 seconds.
“I knew it was going to be close if I let everyone onto the banking. It all just kind of worked out,” Beaubier said. “Roger had to stretch it out coming out of the chicane, which was good for me because he kind of pulled me back in the draft. Then I was able to get him across the line and I’m really happy.”
Beaubier, who won last year’s Daytona 200, led 11 of the 15 laps aboard his No. 2 Yamaha.
AMA Pro SuperSport Round 2
For the second straight day, Corey Alexander and Wyatt Farris led a 1-2 Celtic/Hvmc Racing finish in the 10-lap SuperSport race.
“The past three years I’ve been on the podium and I hadn’t gotten a win,” Alexander said. “I kind of lucked out every time. I’m really happy to come here and pull off the double and just give them a good show.”
Hayden Gillim on a Suzuki finished third.