Eslick Takes Points Lead with Win at Heartland Park

NEWS August 1, 2009

Eslick Takes Points Lead with Win at Heartland Park

TOPEKA, Kan. (August 1, 2009) - Danny Eslick (No. 9 GEICO Powersports/RMR Buell 1125R) charged from 10th on the grid straight to the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL championship lead with a strong victory he and the Richie Morris Racing team dedicated to the late Bruce Rossmeyer, who died in a motorcycle accident earlier this week. Eslick has now won six Daytona SportBike races this year and has regained the points lead for the first time since Road Atlanta, currently eight points ahead of nearest rival Martin Cardenas (No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600).  Today's racing action can be seen in a same-day delay telecast at 10:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. PT) on SPEED.

"It was really unfortunate about the passing of Bruce Rossmeyer and we dedicate this win to him," Eslick said. "He was a great guy and our teammate. The family said 'go win a championship for us,' so this is the first step."

After a complete restart following an opening race incident, Eslick immediately began to charge through the field. He took the lead for the first time with a power move past Superpole winner Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600) in the fast run out of the front straight on Lap 8. Eslick stayed up front through the race's halfway point but was soon challenged by Cardenas. Eslick and Cardenas, who has held the points lead for the majority of the season, swapped the lead several times in the final laps only to see Cardenas slide off course in second on Lap 18. From there Eslick was never again seriously challenged as he charged to his third straight victory.

"I glanced back and Martin was all over me and that was pretty close to the end," Eslick said. "I did a couple of really good motocross block passes, and I think I was going slow enough I could have put my foot down. It was 100% clean, he raced me clean and we never touched once. That's the race I've been looking for all year, to be the points leader and all that. Martin's a heck of a guy, a great rider and I wish it wouldn't have ended that way because that would have been a heck of a battle to the checkered flag."

Eslick crossed the finish line 1.810 seconds ahead of Josh Herrin (No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6) who was closely followed by his teammate Tommy Aquino (No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6).

"I thought I was going to be able to catch him," Herrin said. "I found out a real strong point coming on to the front straightaway that I'll be able to use tomorrow. At the end of the race I wasn't riding defensive, I just rode my race. I've had a few races recently where I rode defensive and it didn't pay off, so I just rode my line and took it to the finish line. We started reeling in Danny a little bit but it wasn't enough for the end of the race. I have to congratulate Tommy, and the Buell guys for another win. We'll come back strong tomorrow."

Aquino, who led the first two laps, finished third for the second consecutive race, his best finish of the season.

"That was the first time I've led a race," Aquino said. "Jason seemed to be going a little slow in the beginning so I made a pass really quick. It was just, like, riding by myself, which is really what I like to do - to go out there with nobody ahead of me and put down some laps. I just made a little mistake and let Jason by and after that a couple more people passed me. I settled in, got with the pace, passed who I needed to pass and it was good. I'm really enjoying where I'm at right now. I really have to thank all my guys."

Chaz Davies (No. 57 Factory Aprilia /Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R) finished fourth for his sixth top-five result of the year while Bobby Fong (No. 51 Paradigm Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) finished fifth. It was the best result of the year for Fong and the Paradigm team that also finished sixth in the Daytona 200 with Barrett Long.

DiSalvo also went off course while running second to Eslick on Lap 10 but recovered to finish sixth.

A post-race protest was filed against the winning Daytona SportBike and it was determined in a review by AMA Pro Racing officials that Eslick passed for the lead in Turn 6 under a waving yellow flag. The area of the incident was also covered by a standing yellow flag at the corner workers' stations that Eslick failed to obey. He has been fined half of this weekend's final race purse and will be docked 10 championship points. Eslick currently leads the Daytona SportBike standings 296 - 288 over Cardenas.

Sunday's Daytona SportBike final goes off at 2 p.m. local time.

More from a press release issued by Team M4 Suzuki:


Team M4 Suzuki endured a difficult raceday on Saturday at Heartland Park Topeka when the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race that opened with the tantalizing prospect of another double podium finish for the squad ended with that promise unfulfilled.

Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo both took their turns at the front of the 20-lap affair aboard their Suzuki GSX-R600s but misfortune spoiled incredible efforts on their part in the hard-fought battle for victory.

Polesitter DiSalvo took control of the race on lap 3 and held it until lap 8 but found himself running through the grass and losing ground just one lap later. A frantic series of passes saw the top group shuffle the runner-up position multiple times in just a handful of corners but ultimately ended with DiSalvo running off track.

Cardenas took up the charge at the point and put in a stellar ride just to match the pace of title rival Danny Eslick. The Colombian clawed his way back up to his opponent and made a pass for the lead on lap 17.

However, Eslick's advantage on the front straight proved too much and Cardenas suffered a front-end crash in Turn 4 while trying to work out any possible strategy to claim the win.

"I was pushing very hard to get Eslick because I know either one of us has to win for the championship," Cardenas explained. "I was trying so hard."

"I was thinking when I got right on the back of him maybe I'd pass him on the last lap but he was pulling a very big gap on the straight so that wasn't going to work. So four laps from the end I tried to put pressure on him and pass him and maybe get away or maybe he'd make a mistake because I think that was the only way I was going to beat him today. Unfortunately I lost the front.

"We'll try our best again tomorrow."

Cardenas rejoined the race and finished 18th at the checkered flag. He now trails Eslick by 18 points (306-288) in the Daytona SportBike title race.

DiSalvo came back to take a strong sixth despite his off-track excursion, as he battled to claim back a couple positions late in the contest.

"I was thinking about throwing it into that left-hander but it would have been about a 25% chance that I wouldn't have crashed," DiSalvo explained of the incident that saw him run into the grass.

"The pace wasn't quite what I wanted it to be early so I moved into the lead. But I knew Danny was coming; I could hear the twin. When he passed me at the end of the straight I made some mistakes trying to stay with him and that allowed the group behind to catch up. Then after the whole thing went down in 5-6 and I went off track but came back and put in a good effort.

"I was happy with the rest of the race. I was able to gather it up and get back by a couple guys. I had to put in a couple bold moves to get back up to sixth."

DiSalvo sits fifth in the championship hunt with 217 points.

Team M4 Suzuki will be aiming to come back strong on Sunday and capitalize on their stellar race pace at Heartland Park Topeka in the weekend's final 50-mile Daytona SportBike contest.

From a press release issued by Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki:

Monster Energy Attack Kawasa

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