After crashing out of the Daytona 200 on the opening lap three weeks ago, it became imperative that for Martin Cardenas to win the AMA Daytona SportBike Championship he was going to have to make up gobs of points by winning races. Well, he did that today with a victory in an entertaining race at Auto Club Speedway.Cardenas worked his way through from seventh on the opening lap and took the lead for the first time on the 11th of 21 laps. But he had a battle on his hands and that battle went to the very last lap with defending series and race champion Danny Eslick hounding him for the duration. And those two weren't alone with Dane Westby very nearly passing Eslick at the finish line. Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Josh Herrin was fourth after woking his way back into the after several mistakes early on looked liked they'd cost him any chance of getting to the front again.At the line it was M4 Monster Suzuki's Cardenas by .679 of a second over Eslick with Westby and his Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha just .023 of a second off the Geico/Richie Morris Racing Suzuki rider."We all three had a great battle back and forth all the way" Cardenas said. "It was a great race. I had some arm pump problmes at the end, but I could do it and I want to thank my team and all my mechanics. Thank you very much to them. Maybe the second lap I thought that Danny [Eslick] was going to go away and I was behind Steve Rapp and it was very difficult to pass him, but as soon as I passed him I pushed very hared and got to the lead group."

Herrin was fourth - 1.1 seconds behind after being as much as four seconds behind after his many miscues early in the race. Fifth went to Vesrah Suzuki's Cory West, three seconds clear of Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Tommy Aquino. Latus Racing Ducati's Steve Rapp ended up seventh with Chris Fillmore eighth on the second Vesrah Suzuki. Bobby Fong and Clinton Seller rounded out the top 10.

SportBike Final

1.                  Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)

2.                  Danny Eslick (Suzuki)

3.                  Dane Westby (Yamaha)

4.                  Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

5.                  Cory West (Suzuki)

6.                  Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)

7.                  Steve Rapp (Ducati)

8.                  Chris Fillmore (Suzuki)

9.                  Bobby Fong (Ducati)

10.                  Clinton Seller (Yamaha)

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

Comments