Saturday at Fontana
After a blustery morning which delayed the start of track activities by one and a half hours, racing for the day began and ended with a flurry as Larry Pegram, Martin Cardenas and Joey Pascarella all brought home victories in the Suzuki AMA SuperBike Challenge at Auto Club Speedway Saturday.
Pegram, who crashed early in the race in 2009, earned his AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike win after trailing for most of the 21-lap event. He took over the race lead from series points leader Jake Zemke with two laps to go.
On his Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R, Pegram earned the win for his family racing team. Pegram rode the lone Ducati in a field filled with Suzukis and Yamahas. The winning race time was 29:56.178 and the margin of victory a mere 0.094 seconds.
"My Foremost Ducati was so good," said Pegram. "I could tell the sound (of his bike behind him) was bothering Jake (Zemke) so I just wanted to get in front of him so it wouldn’t bother him anymore."
"The wind was a factor with it blowing out there. It was hairy at times. I need to take my hat off to our crew. Our crew is a small, family run team. They work so hard to beat Factory Yamaha and Factory Suzuki."
Series leader Zemke led most of the race on his National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, but wasn’t able to hold off Pegram’s late charge. Top qualifier and Zemke’s teammate Aaron Yates finished third on his Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000.
In the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class, Cardenas riding his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki GSX-R600 brought home his first Auto Club Speedway victory, all the while in a heavy riding battle with Danny Eslick, who won both races here in 2009.
Cardenas lead the most laps (10) but only after being out of the top five for much of the early going. Eslick made a last ditch effort at the beginning of the last lap, but Cardenas closed the door throughout the 21-turn, 2.36-mile road course.
"We all three had a great battle," said Cardenas. "All the race we were battling; me, Danny and Dane (Westby). I thought on the second lap Danny was going to go away, and was behind Steve Rapp and finding it difficult to pass him. As soon as I was able to pass him, I pushed really hard and connect with the lead group. From then on I battled to the end."
Rounding out the top three were Eslick on his GEICO Powersports/RMR/Suzuki GSX-R600 and Dane Westby riding the Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha YZF-R6. Cardenas’ winning time was 30:55.459, edging Eslick by 0.679 seconds.
The SuperSport class was dominated by Joey Pascarella. Starting from the number one position Pascarella on a Yamaha YZF-R6 took the lead and never looked back as he rode to the win. His 13.209 second margin of victory was indicative of the whole race when he led by over 12 or more seconds. His winning time was 25:52.610. Running second was Scott Gilbert on a Yamaha YZF-R6 and Huntley Nash on a Yamaha YZF-R6.
"I got out front early, squished the first couple of laps and was really smart from there," said Pascarella. "I can’t doubt anybody and people can always get faster. Hopefully, tomorrow I can get my second."
The Suzuki AMA Pro SuperBike Challenge will be back at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday with opening ceremonies starting at 12:30 p.m.
Top 10 results of Saturday’s qualifying in all three classes show finishing position, name, motorcycle and time completed around the 2.36-mile, 21- turn road course:
AMA Pro SuperBike Race Results
1. Larry Pegram (Ducati 1098R), 1:25:053; 2. Jake Zemke Suzuki (GSX-R1000), 3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:25.068; 4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:24.862; 5. Blake Young (Suzuki GSX-1000R), 1:25.925; 6. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:25.221; 7. John Hopkins (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:25.268; 8. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha YZF-R1), 1:25.965; 9. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki GSX-R1000), 1:26.430; 10. David Anthony (Suzuki GSX-R1000) 1:26.456.
AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Race Results
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:27.450; 2. Danny Eslick (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:27.804; 3. Dane Westby (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:27.610; 4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:27.663; 5. Cory West (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:28.292; 6. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:28.547; 7. Steve Rapp (Ducati 848), 1:28.029; 8. Chris Fillmore (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:28.768; 9. Bobby Fong (Ducati 848), 1:28.959; 10. Clinton Seller (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:28.744.
AMA SuperSport Race Results
1. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:30.438; 2. Scott Gilbert (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:31.197; 3. Huntley Nash (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:31.678; 4. Tyler O’Hara (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:33.455; 5. Eric Stump (Honda CBR600RR), 1:34.842; 6. Chris Sromalla (Suzuki GSX-R600), 1:34.663; 7. Michael Corbina (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:34.795; 8. Robert Tinagero (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:35.273; 9. Paul-Michael Patterson (Kawasaki ZX-6R), 1:36.172; 10. Bruce Bleecker (Yamaha YZF-R6), 1:37.719.