2011 AMA Daytona SportBikeDanny Eslick flirted with a podium finish before settling for a hard-fought, fourth-place result Saturday at Road America in the first of two AMA Daytona SportBike races at the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader.
Eslick and the rest of the SportBike pros will do it all over again at 2:15 p.m. Sunday.Danny Eslick (GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600 SportBike) says: "That was a great race. You could tell it was action-packed by the response from the fans. They are pumped up all the way around this racetrack."The fourth-place SportBike finish will look bigger than normal in the championship standings as runaway points leader Jason DiSalvo wrecked early in the 13-lap main event and was unable to continue. Eslick saw DiSalvo’s sporbike going end-over-end in front of him and knew he had a great chance to make up ground.Danny Eslick says: "I would never, ever wish bad on anyone, and I’m happy to hear Jason’s okay, but when you see the guy that’s been taking it to us all year go down you know the race becomes that much more important. "It’s like you’ve been given a gift of points. It really helps all of us and now we’ll see the points bunch back up quite a bit."Eslick reduced his deficit to DiSalvo by 17 SportBike points and is now fifth in the overall rankings, 32 markers behind.After DiSalvo’s wreck, the race leaders divided into two distinct clusters — the front-running trio of Josh Herrin, P.J. Jacobson, and Cameron Beaubier, and Eslick’s chase pack of five riders. At one point, the gap between the two groups grew to a couple of seconds but Eslick’s gang never lost sight of its target and began slowly reeling in the leaders. Near the end of the race, things got interesting as Beaubier dropped off the back and was swallowed up by Eslick’s group. Then a lapped rider held up Jacobson and a fight for second and third developed as Herrin pulled away. Eslick had his chances, and even moved into third by the last turn, but Jacobson was able to pull-draft his way by for third.Danny Eslick says: "We waited a little too long. Three or four bikes working together can go a lot faster than one or two but we never really organized a good chase. Fortunately, the front three never got together either so we were able to track them down the hard way. Another lap would have made things awfully interesting, but it was still a good result."Eslick will use the knowledge gained today for Sunday’s second AMA Daytona SportBike main event.Danny Eslick says: "We made a couple mistakes with the set-up of the A and B bikes and we didn’t get it figured out until after the morning practice session. That kept us from being able to fine-tune what we had, although we still ran well. We won’t do that again and tomorrow will be better. All we needed was a fraction of a second more and I think I know where to find it."Photo credit: Geoffrey Siehr