MILLVILLE, NJ, SEPT 9 - Geico Suzuki's Martin Cardenas won his second race of the weekend with a crafty last lap pass in the red flag-interrupted Daytona Sportbike race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The first attempt to start the race ended on the third lap with a horrific crash that collected both Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha riders. Tommy Hayden was running second to Cardenas when he ran wide and across a dirty, wet section of track in the left hand Turn 8. Hayden high-sided violently, with teammate Cameron Beaubier hitting his toppling Yamaha and crashing.
Hayden took some time to get back on his feet before walking to the ambulance with his brother Roger Lee at his side. The crew worked frantically to repair Beaubier's Yamaha R6, but ran out of time.
Cardenas led from the beginning of the re-start and ran at the front for most of the race before being passed by both Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports Racing Yamaha) when he ran wide in a left-hander on the 19th of 23 laps.
Westby had made up considerable ground with a series of fastest race laps from laps 11 through 14 to catch up to the leaders, which also included Tommy Aquino. Once he was with the leaders, Westby's pace slowed down.
It seemed the same was true of Cardenas, but the veteran from Colombia had a plan. Heading down the front straight on the last of the 23 laps, Cardenas drafted by both riders to take the lead. For the rest of the 2.2-mile final lap he kept Westby at bay, leading him out of the final corner to win by .053 sec. Fong was third at .216 to Cardenas.
Then came Kneedraggers.com's Aquino, the Californian who was part of the lead quartet until the final few laps.
Aquino was well clear of Jake Gagne (Road Race Factory Yamaha) and Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki).
Ducshop Racing's Jake Zemke and JD Beach (Road Race Factory Yamaha) finished in the shadow of Zemke.
The win was the seventh of the year for Cardenas and the first since the second race at Road America in early June. It ballooned his championship lead to 76 over Westby, 372 to 296 with four races, two rounds, remaining.
Daytona Sportbike Results:
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)
2. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
3. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)
5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
6. Cory West (Suzuki)
7. Jake Zemke (Ducati)
8. JD Beach (Yamaha)
9. David Gaviria (Yamaha)
10. Michael Beck (Yamaha)