Eslick Back on Top

Henny Ray Abrams | July 18, 2009

Bruce Rossmeyer Racing’s Danny Eslick (Bue) jumped to second in the point standings with a near flag-to-flag win in the Daytona SportBike final at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.Starting from his first-ever pole position, Eslick sped to the lead while a growing pack gave chase. Streaming behind Eslick were Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking, Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke, M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas, with Graves Motorsports Yamaha teammates Tommy Aquino and Josh Herrin just behind.First to leave the pack was Cardenas, who lowsided on the exit of turn eight for his second race crash in a row. He re-mounted, pitted for his safety check, and went on to finish 12th.Hacking got Eslick at the end of the back straight for the lead and led when they crossed the lead ending laps seven and eight. By then his teammate, Roger Lee Hayden, had parked his ZX-6R by the side of the track.Eslick passed Hacking in turn one on lap nine, Hacking taking it back into turn five. The top three, Eslick, Hacking and Zemke, were strung together, with the Yamahas of Aquino and Herrin next.Hacking’s race would end on the 10th lap with a mechanical problem. He circulated for a lap before retiring.The retirement put Eslick in front of Zemke, but he was passed by both Yamahas on the tenth lap. And when Eslick crossed the line ending lap 10 he had over a second. the gap would grow over three secs. and finish at 2.317.The win was Eslick’s fourth of the year, but first since his race two win at Road Atlanta back in April.Herrin had his hands full fending off his young teammate, which he did, by about a bike length and a half, officially .047 of a second.Zemke was third just in front of the fast closing Chaz Davies, of the Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies team.Davies had Bazzaz Performance’s Steve Rapp (Yam) on his tail for most of the race before Rapp faded to a secure sixth.The three-way battle for seventh went to Latus Racing’s Taylor Knapp (Bue) over Erion Honda’s Chris Peris and M4 Suzuki’s Jason DiSalvo.Aaron Gobert, who replaced Ben Thompson on the second Factory Aprilia this weekend, lost out on tenth to Shawn Higbee (Bue).With tomorrow’s race to run, Cardenas holds a seven-point lead, 264-244, over Eslick. Hacking remains third with 216.

Daytona SportBike:

1. Danny Eslick (Buell)

2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

3. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)

4. Jake Zemke (Honda)

5. Chaz Davies (Aprilia)

6. Steve Rapp (Yamaha)

7. Taylor Knapp (Buell)

8. Chris Peris (Honda)

9. Jason DiSalvo (Suzuki)

10. Aaron Gobert (Aprilia)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.