DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR. 5 - Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Josh Herrin became the youngest winner of the Daytona 200 in the modern era by turning in a flawless performance, with the help of a sterling pit crew, one year after losing out to Ben Bostrom by just a half a second.Only Dane Westby and his Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha R6 kept the 19-year-old Herrin in sight after the first round of pit stops with the Oklahoman running neck and neck with the factory Yamaha man. But a slower final pit stop on the 39th lap of the 57-lap race put him some two seconds behind. From there, Westby kept Herrin honest, but couldn't get back in the leader's draft. The result was a 7.9-second win for Herrin after Westby gave up the chase late in the race."I was expecting Dane to catch me because I was stressing so bad about dropping the bike," the 19-year-old Herrin said. "It was a relief when I saw the pitboard and could concentrate on getting to the checkered flag."Herrin, who turns 20 on May 23, became the youngest winner of the 200 at Daytona International Speedway. Harley-Davidson's Brad Andres was just short of his 19th birthday when he won the 200 on the beach course in 1955.The race was the fastest since the switch to middleweight motorcycles in 2005. Herrin set a new record average speed of 113.16 mph-the previous mark of 101.646 in 2007 was held by Steve Rapp-in a race run  without pace cars or interruption following a multi-bike incident on the opening lap. The original attempt to start the race was red-flagged and a complete re-start was ordered.Third place went to Latus Harley-Davidson's Steve Rapp, the Californian riding a Ducati 848 at the front of the pack early on, but his pit stops weren't fast enough and he eventually finished some 24 seconds off the pace.Then came pole sitter Danny Eslick on the Geico Insurance-backed Suzuki GSX-R600. Like Rapp, Eslick was able to run the pace until losing ground in the pits. He ended up almost 50 seconds behind Herrin and the last rider to finish on the lead lap.Kev Coghlan rode the Aussie Dave Suzuki GSX-R600 to fifth, despite crashing on the last lap. The Scot rode a solid race prior to that, but was another who couldn't match the factory Yamaha effort in the pits.Cory West finished sixth with GMR's Geoff May riding his privateer Suzuki to seventh. Buell-mounted Shawn Higbee ended up eighth despite crashing early in the race. Taylor Knapp rode a Ducati to ninth with Eric Wood finshing 10th on a Suzuki.Several riders took themselves out of contention early, including one of the pre-race favorites Martin Cardenas. The Team M4 Monster Suzuki rider crashed out of the lead about 1/16th into the opening lap when he tossed the GSX-R down the road on the entrance to the International Horseshoe. Behind him there was more melee in turn two with three riders going down. So the red flag was thrown before a lap was even in the books. Still, it would be the only red flag of the 200 miler.One of the other pre-race favorites was Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Tommy Aquino, but the youngster ran into a big snag in the first pit stop when the quick fill malfunctioned and covered his R6 and the pit area in fuel. That ended Aquino's day on the 16th lap and he was in the thick of things in the battle at the front at the time.Young Canadian Brett McCormick also showed the speed to run at the front, but he crashed out of the race on the 31st lap.Melissa Paris, the wife of Yamaha factory Superbike racer Josh Hayes, crashed out of an impressive 11th place on the 50th lap in the chicane.

Daytona 200

1. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

2. Dane Westby (Yamaha)

3. Steve Rapp (Ducati)

4. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)

5. Kev Coghlan (Suzuki)

6. Cory West (Suzuki)

7. Geoff May (Suzuki)

8. Shawn Higbee (Buell)

9. Taylor Knapp (Ducati)

10. Eric Wood (Suzuki)

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.

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