Wisconsin Rider Takes Home Daytona Short Track Victory DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 4, 2004) -- JR Schnabel was the surprise winner of Thursday night's AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National season opener at Daytona Beach's...
Wisconsin Rider Takes Home Daytona Short Track Victory
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 4, 2004) -- JR Schnabel was the surprise winner of Thursday night's AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National season opener at Daytona Beach's Municipal Stadium. The 24-year-old Rotax-mounted rider from West Bend, Wis., took the lead on the second lap and pulled away to a commanding victory over Bryan Smith, of Flint, Mich. Californian Johnny Murphree was third on another Rotax.
Smith, who won the AMA Hot Shoe National at Municipal Stadium on Wednesday night, looked strong in the early laps on his Honda. Then Schnabel made his move, almost by accident.
"I drove in hard and kind of went high in the cushion," said Schnabel, who earned his fourth AMA Grand National win. "I found out it worked well up there. It was going so well I didn't want to back off. I love it. It's great to get my first win at Daytona."
After getting passed, Smith made a heroic effort to stay with Schnabel, but it was to no avail. At the checkered flag Schnabel had almost a full straightaway advantage on Smith.
"I wish I could have run with JR in the cushion," Smith said. "He passed me on the outside, which surprised me. I made a couple of mistakes and he got away."
Murphree said he was happy to start his season with another strong outing in third. He finished second in the championship last year.
Texan Willie McCoy came home fourth and defending AMA Grand National champ and last year's Daytona winner Chris Carr was fifth.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Results Thursday of the opening round of the AMA Progressive Insurance Grand National Championship from Municipal Stadium with rider, hometown and motorcycle:
1. JR Schnabel, West Bend, Wis., Yamaha.
2. Bryan Smith, Flint, Mich., Honda.
3. Johnny Murphree, Paso Robles, Calif., Rotax.
4. Willie McCoy, Justin, Texas, Rotax.
5. Chris Carr, Fleetwood, Pa., Rotax.
6. Shaun Russell, San Jose, Calif., Rotax.
7. Joe Kopp, Mica, Wash., Rotax.
8. Jay Springsteen, Lapeer, Mich., Rotax.
9. Terry Poovey, Euless, Texas, Rotax.
10. Jake Johnson, Deptford, N.J., Rotax.
11. Brett Landes, Los Gatos, Calif., Rotax.
12. Ken Coolbeth, Warren, Conn., KTM.
13. Ronnie Jones, Oklahoma City, Okla., Rotax.
14. Stephen Beattie, Canada, Rotax.
15. Mike Hacker, Colonial Heights, Va., Rotax.
16. Robert Pearson, Chillicothe, Ohio, Rotax