Long and Team Paradigm Ready to Continue Success at Fontana
NEWS March 21, 2009
Handling the No. 29 Paradigm Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, Long rode through a tough battle to post the strong result in the historic first ever Daytona 200 night race. Starting from the 21st position, Long was able to make his way through the field and also benefited from some quick pit-side decisions by the Paradigm crew.
An early contact incident left the No. 29 with a broken plunger in the front brake master cylinder that created a front brake lever that had too much forward travel. Long was able to overcome the issue to progress through the field and he ultimately crossed the finish line only 14 seconds behind race winner Ben Bostrom.
Crew chief and team coordinator Perry Melneciuc orchestrated key pit stops that were imperative to the eventual finishing position. Multi-time AMA Pro Crew Member of the Year Mark Braunwalder was also on board for the 200 and played an instrumental role in the team's success. The guidance they brought to the team was vital to the new crew working together for the first time.
"The depth of experience and knowledge in our crew is astounding," Melneciuc said. "The combined years of racing and mechanical experience at the top level of racing is truly remarkable. I feel very fortunate to have such a great, talented group of guys working with me."
Melneciuc was quick to credit team members John Long, an experienced rider and mechanic, lead mechanic Ed Sullivan and John France, who the team calls its built-in "MacGyver."
"Brumy's (Braunwalder) years as a factory Superbike mechanic took a lot of pressure off everybody as to when, how, and why we do things," Melneciuc said. "Obviously I'm really proud of Barrett. He really gutted out that last stint with the broken master cylinder. When he came in for the red flag and told us the front master cylinder was broken I explained to him that he would have to come back in to the pits for repairs under either a yellow or green flag condition and this would have a huge effect on his track position, so he said he would finish the race with what he had."
Long was ecstatic over his best career Daytona 200 finish.
"The bike felt great and I would like to thank my crew chief for preparing a really competitive machine," said Long, who also participated in Superpole qualifying at Fontana yesterday for the first time. "The pit stops went flawlessly and all the crew really hit their marks. I think we were really able to go out and show what we were capable of. We had an issue with the master cylinder, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't ride around. Obviously this was a new experience and I really am proud to have been a part of such a historic event. Additionally, I'm really honored to have worked with such a great crew. They really have made my job that much easier. It allowed me to get out there and worry solely about the race at hand."
According to Paradigm, the new class structure of the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike class has truly leveled the playing field, ushering in a new era of competitiveness in American motorcycle racing. The implementation of a series-standard tire and fuel has created an atmosphere of equality that ensures the most competitive team wins. Though largely unnoticed by the media, the team has become a real Cinderella story. Paradigm Racing has made a real impact in a paddock filled with big names and even bigger budgets. More info on the team can be found at www.paradigmracing.net.
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