Race Report: Daytona SX 2012

By Michael Antonovich

Photos by Jeff Kardas

When the day’s practice schedule was abbreviated to only one timed session and the track was the altered due to collapsing weather conditions, many began to prepare for the worst. On a track that is already more brutal and unforgiving than any other on the Supercross circuit, the thought of rain makes the idea of racing the Daytona Supercross a nightmare. With no irrigation to divert the water and an already saturated base of grass and soil, the track breaks down to a rutted, wet quagmire almost instantly. It is a true test of skill and one that both Justin Barcia and James Stewart aced. Both outlasted the competition en route to main event wins at the most historic racing venue the Supercross series visits.

Lites Qualifying

Lites Heat One

MotoConcepts' Jake Canada led the opening heat race of the night to the first turn and held of the pack for the majority of the first lap. But a charging Blake Baggett, aboard his Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki, who was able to step-on and then off of a treacherous tabletop section, stole the lead from the Canada just before the end of the first lap. Canada would stay within sight of Baggett for the duration of the race but was never able to mount a charge to retake the position. ElevenTen Mods privateer Alex Martin rounded out the podium over J-Star/JDR/KTM rider PJ Larsen and Baggett's Pro Circuit teammate Darryn Durham.

  1. Blake Baggett (KAW)
  2. Jake Canada (HON)
  3. Alex Martin (HON)
  4. PJ Larsen (KTM)
  5. Darryn Durham (KAW)
  6. Jeff Gibson (HON)
  7. Cole Thompson (HON)
  8. Tommy Weeck (HON)
  9. Kyle Peterson (YAM)

Lites Heat Two

Defending East Coast Supercross Lites champion and fastest Lites qualifier of the day Justin Barcia snatched the holeshot over Geico Powersports Honda teammate Justin Bogle and Rockstar Suzuki's Blake Wharton. Barcia would lead all six laps of the heat race to an uncontested win over Wharton and ElevenTen Mods' Phil Nicoletti. Elsewhere in the pack was Red Bull KTM rider Ken Roczen, who charged from tenth to fourth by the final flag.

  1. Justin Barcia (HON)
  2. Blake Wharton (SUZ)
  3. Phil Nicoletti (HON)
  4. Ken Roczen (KTM)
  5. Justin Bogle (HON)
  6. Tyler Bowers (KAW)
  7. Justin Starling (KTM)
  8. Les Smith (KTM)
  9. Shane Sewell (KTM)

Lites LCQ

Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha's Kyle Cunningham was the first racer to the stripe, led the dwindled field of racers in the Lites LCQ, and ran away with the win over J-Star/JDR/KTM pilot Malcolm Stewart. Stewart took advantage of Ohlins/Langston Motorsports/KTM rider AJ Catanzaro early misfortune and secured the final transfer spot.

  1. Kyle Cunningham
  2. Malcolm Stewart

Lites Main Event

Blake Wharton beat Justin Barcia to the line for the Lites main event holeshot, but swept was wide in the following turn, which allowed Barcia to snake to the Suzuki rider's inside. Barcia would hold control for the duration of the shortened 12 lap main event, but it did not come without pressure from a faster Blake Baggett. Baggett closed on the Honda rider early in the main event but was forced to remount a second valiant charge after tucking the front end of his Kawasaki down a long straightway. There was a six second gap between Barcia and Baggett in the final laps, but Baggett closed the gap with his three second a lap faster times, which set the stage for a thrilling final lap. Barcia nearly lost control after he scrubbed his Honda over one of the slippery and rutted singles, he but quickly corrected himself and kept Baggett at bay. The battle came down to the final turn, where Baggett attempted to go beneath and block Barcia, but Barcia's momentum from the wider line allowed him to rocket away to the race win.

Baggett was not the only Pro Circuit rider who charged through the field. His teammate Darryn Durham outlasted a laundry list of racers, including Ken Roczen and Wharton, to earn the final podium spot.

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Overall
1. Justin Barcia
2. Blake Baggett
3. Darryn Durham
4. Ken Roczen
5. Blake Wharton
6. Jake Canada
7. Kyle Cunningham
8. Malcolm Stewart
9. Cole Thompson
10. Tommy Weeck
11. Les Smith
12. Shane Sewell
13. Alex Martin
14. Tyler Bowers
15. Justin Starling
16. PJ Larsen
17. Kyle Peters
18. Justin Bogle
19. Jeff Gibson
20. Phil Nicoletti
250 Class East Coast Championship Standings (After 4 of 9 rounds)
1. Justin Barcia (100 pts./4 wins)
2. Darryn Durham (76)
3. Ken Roczen (75)
4. Blake Wharton (72)
5. Blake Baggett (62)
6. Jake Canada (56)
7. Justin Bogle (46)
8. Malcolm Stewart (42)
9. Kyle Cunningham (42)
10. Cole Thompson (32)

Top Lap Times
1. Blake Baggett 1:27.375
2. Justin Barcia 1:28.485
3. Darryn Durham 1:32.060
4. Ken Roczen 1:32.215
5. Jake Canada 1:32.460

Supercross Qualifying

Supercross Heat One

Kevin Windham took the holeshot in the first 450 race of the night atop his Geico Powersports Honda over JGR/Toyota/Yamaha's Davi Millsaps. Millsaps struggled down the first straightaway and dropped to the middle of the field, but would come back to finish in runner up position behind race winner Windham. Millsaps would have to pass a stacked field of riders, including American Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton and Merge Racing privateer Kyle Regal. Daytona marked Regal's return to the Supercross tour and his third place finish in the heat race locked him in to the night's main event.

Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer would tip over as he exited a deep left hand turn and collected American Honda Muscle Milk replacement rider Cole Seely in the process. Weimer would remount to finish fifth while Seely was forced to face the LCQ.

  1. Kevin Windham (HON)
  2. Davi Millsaps (YAM)
  3. Kyle Regal (HON)
  4. Justin Brayton (HON)
  5. Jake Weimer (KAW)
  6. Brett Metcalfe (SUZ)
  7. Nick Wey (KAW)
  8. Weston Peick (YAM)
  9. Robert Kiniry (YAM)

Supercross Heat Two

The fastest rider of the day, James Stewart, claimed the lead over current points leader and defending champion Ran Villopoto and never looked back. Stewart bombed his JGR/Toyota/Yamaha through the ruts and water and was the only rider to run the creative line of rolling the take off and the doubling out of the track's first water logged triple, which helped him to avoid the deep puddle and pull away. Villopoto overcame an eventful first lap, in which he was pushed wide by MotoConcept's Mike Alessi and then tipped his Monster Energy Kawasaki, to finish in the runner up position. Marvin Musquin rounded out the podium in his second race aboard the Red Bull KTM SX-F 350.

  1. James Stewart (YAM)
  2. Ryan Villopoto (KAW)
  3. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
  4. Matt Georke (SUZ)
  5. Mike Alessi (SUZ)
  6. Justin Sipes (KAW)
  7. Broc Tickle (KAW)
  8. Kyle Chisholm (KAW)
  9. Ryan Clark (KAW)

Supercross LCQ

Cole Seely wasted no time in his bid to make it to the front of the pack and took control of the LCQ over Hart & Huntington/Dodge Motorsports/Sycuan Casino's lone rider Josh Hansen. Hansen's race would come to an early end when he tangled with WMR1's Michael Stryker. Seely would be pursued by Storm Lake Honda racer Gavin Faith, who put on a charge in the brisk six lap affair, but his early lead was too much for the Iowa privateer to overcome. Seely and Faith would both make the main event.

  1. Cole Seely (HON)
  2. Gavin Faith (HON)

Supercross Main Event

Davi Millsaps claimed his second consecutive holeshot of the year when he powered around the slick left hand turn ahead of teammate James Stewart and veteran Kevin Windham. Millsaps' long legs played a role in his early lead, as he was able to maintain his balance in the tenacious ruts with ease. Stewart took the lead away from Millsaps in the beginning of the third lap, after the two drag raced down the long main straightaway. Stewart would set the pace for the final fourteen laps of the reduced sixteen lap main event before cruising to the win. Millsaps and Windham would finish second and third, respectively.

Ryan Villopoto spoke throughout the day that although his closest competitor in the championship chase, Ryan Dungey, was absent, he would still have to fight to claim the title. Villopoto's words were almost prophetical, as the defending champion was forced to claw through the pack after an awkward series of events transpired early in the main event. In an aggressive move to steal a competitor's position, the Kawasaki rider found himself tangled on the inside bales and off his bike, and then off the track after he attempted to remount the then moving bike. This placed the points leader in twentieth place and down a considerable amount of distance from the front of the pack. Over the course of the sixteen-lap race, he picked off a slew of racers, including Broc Tickle and teammate Jake Weimer in one swift section. Villopoto efforts earned him a fifth place overall finish.

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Overall
1. James Stewart
2. Davi Millsaps
3. Kevin Windham
4. Marvin Musquin
5. Ryan Villopoto
6. Mike Alessi
7. Jake Weimer
8. Broc Tickle
9. Matt Georke
10. Brett Metcalfe
11. Nick Wey
12. Kyle Chisholm
13. Kyle Regal
14. Gavin Faith
15. Justin Sipes
16. Justin Brayton
17. Cole Seely
18. Ryan Clark
19. Weston Peick
20. Robert Kiniry
450 Class Championship Standings (After 10 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto (221pts/5 wins)
2. Ryan Dungey (192/2 wins)
3. James Stewart (177/2 wins)
4. Kevin Windham (143)
5. Jake Weimer (134)
6. Davi Millsaps (131)
7. Chad Reed (128/1 win)
8. Brett Metcalfe (124)
9. Justin Brayton (121)
10. Mike Alessi (113)

Top Lap Times
1. James Stewart 1:27.558
2. Kevin Windham 1:27.583
3. Davi Millsaps 1:28.783
4. Ryan Villopoto 1:30.884
5. Jake Weimer 1:31.021