Daytona Race Report
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The No. 13 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 of Dane Westby, Dustin Meador, Jeff Wood and all-star addition Josh Hayes prevailed in a race-long duel with the No. 18 Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600 of Chris Ulrich, Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo to win Saturday’s fourth annual AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT 8 Hours At Daytona. The victory was the third in a partial season of just five races for the new Westby team that raced in SunTrust Moto-GT for the first time just this past June at Mid-Ohio.Dane Westby Speaks…"It’s a great feeling to win at Daytona," said Westby, who had the honor of riding the No. 13 Yamaha for the final 11 minutes of the race. "I thought it was going to be a battle until the end but we’ll take it this way. I’d like to thank the addition of the ‘J’s’ – Josh Hayes and Jeff Wood – they really helped us out. I don’t think we could have done it without them."
After swapping the lead repeatedly with the No. 18 Suzuki for most of the first half of the race, the No. 13 Yamaha team and riders steadily opened up in the final hours of the event. They put the No. 18 one lap down with two hours remaining and all but wrapped up the victory when the Roadracingworld.com team was forced to replace a right foot peg on its Suzuki in an extended pit stop just over 50 minutes from the finish. The Westby team went up two laps and Hayes got on the Yamaha for a final stint to seal the victory with 45 minutes remaining before handing off to Westby.Josh Hayes Speaks…"Everybody seemed pretty excited to have me on the team and I was excited I was able to come out and ride with these guys, but this was not by any means about me," Hayes said. "We had four good racers today and everybody did their fastest lap within a half a second of each other. So many people that were part of the crew came together for this event. Eight hours is a long race and everybody on the team did a fantastic job."
Team Roadracingworld.com came up just short in its bid for a third-straight 8 Hours At Daytona victory but has never finished lower than second in each of the four races run to date. The team led 67 laps in the first half of the race but began slightly losing ground to Westby in the final four hours.Chris Ulrich Speaks…"The Westby team ran a mistake free race, they did a fantastic job and their rider line up was great," said Ulrich, who is the only rider to finish on the overall podium in all four runnings of the 8 Hours At Daytona since 2006. "We made mistakes that got us behind but, no matter what, those guys rode so well today. They beat us, they beat us fair and square and, you know what, it is actually kind of fun to have some competition. Who knows, maybe next year we can come back and see if we can regain the crown. I feel good and I am proud of Team Roadracingworld.com Suzuki. To be on the podium at Daytona for four years straight in the eight hour is pretty good. It was close today but not close enough."
The final overall and GT1 podium spot went to the debuting No. 49 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati 848 of Ryan Elleby, Hawk Mazzotta and Matt Lynn that crossed the line nine laps behind the winners. The team ran in third place for nearly the entire race and the solid first-time result was just part of the Touring Sport Ducshop team’s great day. The team also clinched the GT2 Championship with the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE that scored a series-leading fifth win of the year with riders Pete Friedland, Brad Phillips and Corey Rech.Pete Friedland Speaks…"It feels great, and I’ll tell you, I’ve been racing with the Touring Sport Ducshop team for four years now and we couldn’t have a better group of guys and gals," said Friedland, who also scored a class win with the team in the 2007 8 Hours At Daytona. "This race tonight was very nerve wracking. After we had a little problem with the 38 bike, we knew the 77 would have to take it home. We were pretty nerve wracked right down to the end."
The No. 77 ran in second place behind its sister No. 38 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE for most of the race but moved up to the front when their teammates were forced to the pits for an extended stop with one hour to go. The No. 38 fell from the lead and lost 10 laps before a faulty ECU was discovered. The No. 23 KRM Racing by Motocorse Ducati PS1000LE of Chris Boy, Barrett Long and Fernando Ferrer finished second after slipping past the stricken No. 38 in the final hour. Despite the late disappointment, team owner/rider Frank Shockley, Dario Marchetti and Brian Stokes recovered to finish third on the No. 38 Ducati as the Italian manufacturer swept all three podium spots in GT2.Frank Shockley Speaks…"With this race, it’s not over until it’s over," said Shockley, who was on the No. 38 on Saturday. "We had the issue where the ECU went bad, but we were able to win the race and the title with the 77 so it all worked out good in the end. We’ve won a championship three years in a row, right here at this race in Daytona. It always comes down to the end, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Three-peat!"
The No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650 of Jay Springsteen, Scott Ryan and Taylor Knapp came into the race as the only other team still alive in the GT2 championship battle. The team overcame an early-race spill and was beginning to mount a challenge on the leading Ducatis only to have its Kawasaki slow with engine trouble just before the five-hour mark. The Pair-A-Nines team replaced the engine in less than 45 minutes and came back to finish fourth in GT2 despite never really being able to mount a challenge for the championship in the finale.Jay Springsteen Speaks…"It was great racing with the Ducati guys all year long," Springsteen said. "They had the pressure on us and we had the pressure on them. It made it exciting throughout the whole year. We had fun and it was great racing with those guys all year long. Our guys did a great job today, we didn’t quite get it done, but we just love being able to race."
The Touring Sport Ducati team and the GT1 title winning Crozier Motorsports team were honored for their respective championships in post-race ceremonies. Crozier and his team clinched the GT1 title one race ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park and finished a solid fifth in the 8 Hours with teammates Scott Jensen, David Estok and Michael Barnes.Crozier Speaks…
"It was a less stressful weekend, for sure, because we didn’t have to worry about a championship," said Crozier. "We already had that taken care of, so we were here to do the best we could and try to win but it just didn’t work out. The season started out really slow, but it worked out halfway through and we prevailed. We were consistent on the podium. We won two races, but we were on the podium almost every weekend so that helped out for the championship. I’m absolutely looking forward to next season. We’ve got a lot of new things coming, new bikes, new sponsors, a lot more to come."