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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (September 25, 2010) - Today's action at Barber Motorsports Park delivered three memorable races where some of the championship pieces began to fall into place as the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season draws to a close.
In the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race, Tommy Hayden took his fifth victory of the year with a very determined ride chasing down early race leader Josh Hayes. Hayden, riding his Rockstar Makita Suzuki started the race in fourth position and quickly worked his way to second place and then reeled in the race and points leader Josh Hayes. Hayes started second and passed pole position winner Blake Young before the end of the first lap and rode off to a comfortable lead.
Josh and his Team Graves Yamaha went on to lead the most laps and gained another valuable point in pursuit of his first AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship. But slowly but surely,Tommy Hayden began to track Hayes down. At one point, Tommy passed Hayes but almost as quickly as he got by, Josh went right back by Tommy. But as the race wound down, Tommy was able to get by Josh and pulled out a small gap. Now it was Hayes' turn to become the hunter and he was able to close the gap to finish just 0.053 of a second behind Hayden at the line. This result was what Hayden needed to keep his championship hopes alive, the points difference is now down to eighteen with a maximum of 31 points available in tomorrow's second race of the weekend.
"I accomplished what I needed to today, I wanted to win the race and make Josh ride hard and I was able to do that," said Hayden after the race. "Tomorrow, I will need a bit of luck but I will try to win again and then we'll see what happens."
Behind the two championship contenders, John Hopkins continued his run of strong results as he took another podium finish on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki with third place.
Polesitter Blake Young took fourth on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki and Taylor Knapp finished a surprised fifth after a last lap incident between Eric Bostrom and Brett McCormick. The two had been running together for most of the race after Bostrom had a truncated start that saw him move prior to the green light but after he regained his proper position relative to his starting position, he began a nice ride up to fifth place on his Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki. He and McCormick, riding his Jordan Suzuki had been battling together from about the fourth lap and unfortunately they got together on the last lap and Eric suffered an injury to his left leg that will prevent him from competing in tomorrow's race.
Geoff May and his Erik Buell Racing Buell also benefitted and he took sixth ahead of Jake Holdenwho is substituting for Ben Bostrom on the Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha. Jeff Wood took eighth on his Vesrah Suzuki. Shane Narbonne was ninth and McCormick was just able to finish the race in tenth.
Once again, tomorrow's SuperBike race will be a battle of wits and speed between Josh Hayesand Tommy Hayden. If Tommy wins and takes the extra point for most laps led, Hayes will have to finish ninth or worse for him to lose the championship. But if this year is to finish on form, anything can happen in tomorrow's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike season finale.
In Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL, Martin Cardenas rode one of his most measured and complete races of the year in capturing his series high eighth race win of the season and in the process, he took over the points lead from Danny Eslick. Martin and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki now lead the Daytona SportBike standings by five points over Eslick and his GEICO Powersports Suzuki by eight over Josh Herrin going into tomorrow's final race of the Daytona SportBike season.
Taking a surprise second place was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Clinton Seller. He has been quick all weekend and he pretty much attached himself to the back of Martin's Suzuki and stayed there for the entire 21 lap race. Clinton tried on more than one occasion to pass Martin but using excellent judgment and skill, Clinton raced Martin hard but fair and at the end, he was only 0.127 of a second behind at the checkered flag. It was Danny Eslick that had the most eventful race, he grabbed the early lead but just as quickly, the race was red flagged due to a couple of incidents,Paul Allison went down in turn one and three more motorcycles went off together later on the same lap necessitating a red flag.
On the restart, Cardenas got a much better start and he and Sellers pretty much rode off into the sunset. It was Eslick and a number of other riders including the third contender in the points chase, Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Herrin who captured much of the focus of the race. As the bulk of the field was battling early, Herrin and Eslick got together and Herrin was pushed back to seventh place but he recovered well and put his head down to work his way right back up through the field. He re-passed Eslick on lap six, worked his way up to third and then began chipping away at the first two, at one point he seemed to be making slight progress but at the end, the leaders encountered a big group of slower riders and as Martin and Clinton were able to slice through, Josh was delayed just enough to end his slight chance at victory.
Eslick battled all day and even though he might not have had the outright speed needed to win, as usual he never gave up and finished fifth behind Seller's Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha teammate,Dane Westby. With Martin's win, he moves to the top of the standings with 375, Eslick now is in second with 372 and Herrin is in third with 367. Again, all bets are off for tomorrow's race with 31 points up for grabs. As it has all year, the Daytona SportBike race will be a thriller and go right down to the wire.
The two part AMA Pro SuperSport race for the National Championship in the Young Gun and Top Gun categories was another absolute classic race in this exciting class. LTD Racing Yamaha riderHuntley Nash delivered his best ride of the season yet in taking his third SuperSport victory over West Division Young Gun champion Joey Pascarella.
Joey actually led late in the race after another one of his heroic rides but Huntley was able to re-pass Joey's DNA Energy Drink Yamaha with half a lap to go to take a well deserved win, setting him up for tomorrow's finale. Poleposition winner and East Division Young Gun champion J.D. Beach had the most disappointing day. After Nash grabbed the lead at the start, J.D. was back by Huntley before the end of lap one but in a blink of an eye, J.D. was down in the Alabama corner, his Rockwall Engineering Yamaha cart wheeling into the gravel trap.
J.D. was up quickly and tried to continue but his Yamaha was too badly damaged to continue. With Moto Style scoring for the two races, his hopes of the National Championship are gone but J.D. will be back going for the win tomorrow and he can look back on his five wins and East Division championship with tremendous pride. Another on-form rider had a tough day, New Jersey winner James Rispoli ran in second until he had a fall on lap nine, ending his day for his ANT-Racing.com Suzuki team.
Although Huntley's LTD Racing Yamaha teammate Tomas Puerta was keeping the leaders honest in third, it was down to Huntley and Joey. Joey looked faster at times but every time he got close, Huntley was able to hold him off. On lap fifteen Joey made his move and he was able to pull out a small gap but Huntley, on his newly painted pink Yamaha, in recognition of his Cancer Awareness campaign in honor of his late Mother, closed the gap and made the race winning pass with less than half a lap to go.
Tyler O'Hara was the highest finishing Top Gun rider, he finished ninth on his GP Bike Parts Radio Medics Yamaha. Austin DeHaven took fourth ahead of Elena Myers on her Lucas Oil Roadracingworld.com Suzuki with Miles Thornton sixth. Tomorrow's SuperSport finale will determine the National Champion in both Young Gun and Top Gun classes and as with today's thrilling race, it will be another can't miss race.
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