When MotoAmerica – North America’s new road-racing series spearheaded by three-time GP Champion Wayne Rainey – could not reach an agreement in October with Daytona International Speedway (DIS) to sanction the Daytona 200, the confusion began.
Who would sanction the Daytona 200? And would this organization use literbikes as was originally planned by the former sanctioning body of the Daytona 200, AMA Pro Racing?
By December the answer arrived – the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASSR) reached an agreement with DIS, and the 74th edition of the Daytona 200 was a go, set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14.
But no literbikes; once again the Daytona 200 would feature 600cc sportbikes. The last time the Daytona 200 used literbikes was in 2004; that year, Mat Mladin won the 200 aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000.
And this week, DIS announced the rider-entry list for the 2015 Daytona 200, which will take the grid 57 laps around the longer 3.51-mile road course.
Fifty riders are included on the final entry list, including five Daytona 200 Champions – Danny Eslick (2014), Josh Herrin (2010), Steve Rapp (2007), John Ashmead (1989) and Dave Sadowski Sr. (1990). For the full list, click here.
Herrin, a former Moto2 rider who will pilot a Meen Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6 in the Daytona 200, spoke with DIS ahead of the race:
“Whenever we found out it was going to be (held), it was really important to me,” Herrin said. “Not only because I won it before, but I also want to be like some of my heroes like Scott Russell and Miguel Duhamel who have won it multiple times. I think that’s a really big accomplishment.”
DIS says Herrin is not only looking to become a multiple winner of the Daytona 200, eh’s also after the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona – once presented to the pole sitter but this year will go to the winner.
“I’ve never been a good qualifier so getting the Rolex has always been out of reach for me,” Herrin said. “Now that it goes to the race winner, that’s something I’d like to get. It would be really important to me.”
Herrin also spoke of the challenges ahead: “The most important thing is going to be staying calm. It’s definitely the longest race that any of us do in our career. I’m working with the same crew chief that I won the DAYTONA 200 before so that’s a big thing for me. I know good decisions are going to be made in the pits and our pit stops are going to be really fast. It’s going to be exciting for sure.”
This year’s Daytona 200 will feature a purse of $175,000, and will be supported by Championship Cup Series (CCS) racing. Qualifying will take place Friday, March 13. As of this writing, there is no TV coverage or online streaming services listed.
2015 Daytona 200 Tickets:
Reserved grandstand tickets for the Daytona 200 are $45, unreserved grandstand/infield tickets are $45 and unreserved grandstand tickets are $35. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas.
Tickets for all motorcycle racing events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online.