Team Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin used a pair of thrilling last lap passes to narrowly hold off the charging Jason DiSalvo (M4 Suzuki) for his first Daytona Sportbike win of the season, and first win in 16 months, with today's success coming on a sweltering afternoon at Virginia International Raceway.The race promised to be a good one from the start, with a seven-rider pack strung together in the early going. Attrition would  take its toll, with a number of riders either crashing or running off the track. So by the time 15th of 23 laps began it was down to two riders, Herrin and DiSalvo, with DiSalvo taking the lead with a bold move from third to first starting that lap.For the next eight laps, DiSalvo led, though never with much comfort. On his first lap in the lead the gap was .709 secs. and it was never under half a second until the end of the 21st lap, when Herrin closed right up.Heavy traffic tightened up the pair on lap 22, as they would be for the rest of the race.Herrin made his first move up the inside into turn one, DiSalvo countering in the right-hander turn seven at the end of the esses. Then came Herrin's final move, a block pass in the turn 16 right at the top of the roller coaster where he snuck up the inside. But it wasn't over.DiSalvo made a run to the flag, only to come up half a bike-length short, officially .010 secs."It was a hard one, for sure," Herrin said after winning his first race in nearly 16 months. His last victory came at Barber Motorsports Park in April of 2008.  "I didn't think I was going to get him. The last three laps he had about a second, a half second, a second lead on me. It was definitely hard. And three passes on the last lap."The second to last lap I could tell for sure he wanted me to go by him, because he was just...we probably did a ‘30 or a ‘31 on that lap. I just stuck behind him and got him on the last lap into turn one. And he passed me back and I thought I was done for, because he was really strong in the last split, but just stuffed a block pass in there on him and got the run to the finish line. I didn't think he was going to be as close as he was, but my Yamaha's been working really awesome today and just can't thank my crew enough."Herrin's win, which came right after Josh Hayes' victory in the American Superbike race, capped Yamaha's best day in years.Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking finished third at a gap of over eight seconds.Early leader Jake Zemke (Erion Honda) dropped to a lonely fourth with 3.5 secs. on Bazzaz Performance's Steve Rapp. Rapp had some early resistance from Paradigm Racing's Bobby Fong (Yam), who he dropped in the final third of the race.Next came the first of the championship contenders. Bruce Rossmeyer Racing/RMR Buell's Danny Eslick finished alone in ninth, two spots in front of M4 Suzuki's Martin Cardenas, the Colombian who was riding with a broken bone in his right hand. Eslick now has a two point lead, 332 to 330, in advance of tomorrow's race.Dane Westby (Yam) finished between the two contenders.Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki's Roger Lee Hayden was in third on the ninth lap when he got into turn one too hot, running off and dropping well down the order. He recovered to finish tenth.Others weren't as lucky. Team Graves Yamaha's Tommy Aquino was in second when he had a spectacular crash in the final corner of the 15th lap. He was unhurt.As was pole-sitter Taylor Knapp (Latus Racing), who crashed out of third on the 16th lap. He got going and finished 17th.

Results:

1. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

2. Jason DiSalvo (Suzuki)

3. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)

4. Jake Zemke (Honda)

5. Steve Rapp (Yamaha)

6. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)

7. Danny Eslick (Buell)

8. Dane Westby (Yamaha)

9. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)

10. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

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.

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