Eslick Repeats as Daytona 200 Champion!

| 15 March 2015 1:20 pm

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Daytona International Speedway

Courtesy of Daytona International Speedway

TOBC Racing Suzuki rider Danny Eslick won the Daytona 200 for the second straight year on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, outdueling 2010 Champion Josh Herrin with a dramatic last-lap pass coming off the 57-lap, 200-mile American SportBike Racing Association event’s final turn.

It was the 12th time in the race’s 74-year history that a rider has won the Daytona 200 in consecutive years; the most recent repeat had been Mat Mladin in 2000 and 2001.

Eslick pitted for fuel on lap 54 while leading, but he retained the lead coming out of the pits. Herrin then closed in quickly, and when the final lap began, his number-two Yamaha was within a second of Eslick’s number-69 Suzuki. In the high-banked turns one and two, Herrin apparently grabbed control. When the riders emerged from the 3.51-mile road course’s chicane – both having had to deal with the untimely obstacle of a slower, lapped bike – and began climbing onto the speedway’s turns three and four, Herrin had a seemingly secure advantage.

That was a mirage.

Eslick tucked in and drafted off Herrin’s bike and then nudged by him on the outside coming out of the famed “NASCAR 4.” He held on to edge Herrin by eighty-six-thousandths of a second.

“It was a textbook draft-pass at Daytona,” said Eslick, who hails from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. “Those last couple laps were pretty crazy. I thought I was all by myself. I was able to set him up [at the end].”

Added Dublin, Georgia’s Herrin, “I thought I was going to be able to hold him off.”

Geoff May, a long-shot veteran rider from Gainesville, Georgia, started a Yamaha from the pole and ran up front for much of the afternoon, eventually finishing third.

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The Daytona 200 has its own tradition-rich legacy that has run parallel to the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. The event is America’s most historic motorcycle race, dating back to 1937, when Ed Kretz Sr. rode an Indian motorcycle to victory on a 4.2-mile shoreline course that utilized both the beach and State Road A1A in Daytona Beach. The race moved to the Speedway in 1961, two years after the facility opened. Saturday’s running featured four former champions: Eslick, Herrin, Steve Rapp and John Ashmead.

In addition to Eslick, here are the other Daytona 200 repeat champions: Ben Campanale (1938-39); Dick Klamfoth (1951-52); Joe Leonard (1957-58); Brad Andres (1959-60); Roger Reiman (1964-65); Cal Rayborn (1968-69); Dick Mann (1971-72); Kenny Roberts (1983-84), Scott Russell (1994-95 and 1997-98); and Mladin.

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Category: Endurance, National, Road Racing

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