Another piece to the AMA Daytona SportBike series puzzle was revealed with the official announcement of Dane Westby’s plans to race for his own team in 2014 – Yamalube/Westby Racing.
This marks the return for Westby to the Yamaha brand after a three-year absence with the Oklahoman last riding an R6 for the Project 1 Atlanta team in 2010. That was where he first turned a lot heads, finishing second in the Daytona 200.
“I’m ready to get back to my roots,” Westby said in a team release. “The Yamaha has always been my 600 of choice. The first race I ever won at a National club race was on a Yamaha, and I prefer this bike over the others.”
The Project 1 Atlanta team was unable to put together a full-season effort and Westby joined the M4 team in 2011. Westby raced Suzukis for the team until they switched to Hondas last year. In 2012 he finished second in the SportBike Championship to a dominant Martin Cardenas.
With Cardenas’ departure for the Superbike class last season, Westby moved into the GEICO Team and was considered a top contender for the series. But a crash during practice for the Daytona 200 injured his spleen and set a bad tone for the year. He was able to heal up in time for the second round at Road America, but struggled for most of the season on the new bike.
So for 2014, Westby has opted to go in a whole new direction – and race for a team he’s put together himself.
“Some people think I was crazy to leave a good team and run my own program, but I know we can be successful,” Westby said. “I’d like to thank Team Hammer for their help the past few seasons. I feel like I have grown a lot as a rider with their help, and now I’m ready to take on this challenge.
“We’re starting a new team, but everyone involved with the team really wants to be here to take this on and gladly joined up knowing the task at hand and our goals. This project is all our baby together, and I’m more than excited. I got to sit on the bike with the paint scheme on it for the first time Sunday night. She told me to come back when I had my leathers and gear on and let’s go racing.”
The paint scheme revealed featured black, red, and gold - to match their title sponsor Yamahalube’s gold bottle. And on the front of the bike is Westby’s new number for 2014 – the 00.
Westby is fired up about the fresh start and is looking forward to returning to the first round at Daytona International Speedway for some redemption in the Daytona 200.
“I feel like I have some unfinished business at that track, so it’s a great place to start,” Westby said.
As far as the team details go, Westby’s longtime crew chief, Chuck Giacchetto will manage the team and Jerry Daggett will serve as the team’s crew. The team will be based in the Atlanta area, running out of Performance Cycleworx.