Motorcycle Racing News AMA Pro Racing Previews 2011 Daytona 200

AMA Pro Racing Previews 2011 Daytona 200

Daytona 200

Fifty entries have been filed for the 70th running of the legendary Daytona 200 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race.

The 57-lap contest will go green this Saturday afternoon on the 3.51-mile Long Course that combines Daytona International Speedway’s high banks with its twisting infield course. This year, the classic race will be televised live on SPEED from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 12.

Dating back to 1937, when Ed Kretz won the fist Daytona 200 on an Indian, this world-class race has served as the opening event of the American road race season.

In keeping with tradition, the 70-year-old contest will again kick off the current AMA Pro Road Racing season, and with 2010 class champion Martin Cardenas having moved to AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike this year, the field is wide open.

Headlining up the 2011 competitors is 2010 Daytona 200 winner Josh Herrin, who finished third in last season’s final points standings with five wins to his credit. Back with his long-time Graves Motorsports crew and fielding a newly liveried Monster Energy Graves Motorsports Yamaha, Josh’s 2011 bid for title redemption begins now.

Last year’s Daytona 200 Pole Position winner, Danny Eslick, finished second in the 2010 class championship and also returns with his 2010 squad, GEICO Powersports RMR Suzuki. The eternally hard-charging Eslick claimed three Daytona SportBike victories last year and can be expected to be high up in the mix come Saturday.

Taking over the 200 reins for Team M4 Suzuki in Cardenas’ absence will be Dane Westby, who stunned many by claiming second in last year’s Daytona 200 contest after leading twelve laps.

Jake Zemke, who won both Daytona AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike races last year, will return to middleweight competition with the Project 1 Atlanta team, the talented Californian representing a big unknown for other riders in the class.

One of the bigger storylines in this year’s Daytona 200 is the return of Kawasaki to the storied event, the green machines piloted by Team Cycle World Attack Performance’s Eric Bostrom and 2010 AMA Pro SuperSport East Division Champion J. D. Beach. Eric will be doing double-duty this weekend, representing in the SuperBike class as well, while J.D. will be making his Daytona SportBike debut after a tremendous 2010 season that saw him earn eight victories.

Several other very fast SuperSport graduates will join J.D. in their first Daytona 200 on Saturday, including LTD Racing’s three-time 2010 winner Huntley Nash, whose team now enjoys support from Yamaha Extended Service; Cameron Beaubier, who won last year’s Daytona SuperSport Race 1 by .001 of a second; 2010 West Division Champion Joey Pascarella; and 2010 AMA Pro Top Gun Champion Tyler O’Hara.

As if the field wasn’t yet deep enough, Jason DiSalvo returns to AMA Pro competition this year after running several 2010 World Supersport events, having joined the very capable Team Latus Motors Racing (which took third in last year’s Daytona 200 event).

P.J. Jacobsen remains with Celtic Racing for 2011 but will roll out on new machinery, the team having re-formed as a Fast By Ferracci-supported Ducati effort. And in addition to his SuperBike duties, Geoff May will be representing Erik Buell Racing in the 200.

The Vesrah Suzuki team returns with Cory West – a consistent Daytona SportBike frontrunner last year – and new team member Taylor Knapp, who finished seventh in last year’s SuperBike championship as a privateer. Joining Herrin and others in the Yamaha attack will be Tommy Aquino, now with support from Yamaha Extended Service and Pat Clark Motorsports, and the HT Moto- and Yamalube-sponsored Melissa Paris.

Other riders returning to the 2011 Daytona SportBike class included Roadracingworld.com Suzuki’s Santiago Villa, Barnett Performance Suzuki’s Russ Wikle, the Kawasaki-mounted Fernando Amantini, and 1989 Daytona 200 winner John Ashmead (aboard a Peter Brady Racing Kawasaki).

Daytona 200 practice begins Thursday, March 10, with final qualifying on Friday. The Daytona 200 will kick off at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, March 12; visit speedtv.com for details of the live broadcast.

Joining the AMA Pro road race lineup at the famed Daytona International Speedway will be a host of fan-specific activities and events including demo rides, offerings in the Daytona Motorcycle Marketplace (located in the Midway, D5X, and Lot 1 display areas), live entertainment, games, contests, and more. AMA Pro Fan Walk sessions will also take place on two occasions over the race weekend, during which fans will be able to circulate on pit lane to visit with AMA Pro riders and teams from every class.

Between the races, stay connected with Daytona International Speedway via Twitter and Facebook; keep up with AMA Pro Road Racing at Twitter and Facebook.

For tickets and additional event information, visit daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP. For information related to AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit amaproracing.com.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide First Look (6 Fast Facts)

The 2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Road Glide is here, and it’s louder and sleeker than ever—plus it has some wild new wheels. Here’s what’s new...

2021 Houston 3 Fantasy Supercross Tips (11 Fast Facts)

The 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series is off to a mind-boggling start. The playing field is so level that the bubble is right...

2021 Harley-Davidson Street Bob 114 First Look (6 Fast Facts)

When the Softail Standard was released last year and functionally the same motorcycle as the Street Bob, we knew something had to be afoot...

2021 Harley-Davidson Road King Special First Look: Hot Rod Bagger

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Road King Special is a Touring model that The Motor Company puts in a sub-category—Hot Rod Bagger. To earn that title,...

2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally Coming To America

We told you all about the new 2021 Honda CRF300L and CRF300L Rally last month. Although we fully expected the pair to be imported...

2021 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy 114 First Look (Specs, Photos, Prices)

The distinctive Harley-Davidson Fat Boy is back for 2021, with the Milwaukee-Eight 114 powerplant and machined solid cast aluminum Lakester wheels. We tested the...