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Daytona: Wednesday practice notes

Riders Geared Up For Daytona 200 By Arai Qualifying DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 6, 2002) - Competitors in the Daytona 200 By Arai hit the track for the first time on Wednesday with two practice sessions as they tweak their bikes for Thursday's...

Riders Geared Up For Daytona 200 By Arai Qualifying

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (March 6, 2002) - Competitors in the Daytona 200 By Arai hit the track for the first time on Wednesday with two practice sessions as they tweak their bikes for Thursday's Daytona 200 By Arai qualifying session.

Nicky Hayden, who rides the factory supported Honda RC51, has to be considered one of the favorites to capture the Rolex watch for winning Thursday's Daytona 200 By Arai pole position.

The Owensboro, Ky., native posted the fastest lap during the Dunlop tire test at the Speedway last December with a time of 1:48.141 seconds (118.512 mph), which would've been fast enough to break the current qualifying record of 1:48.424, 118.203 mph, set by Mat Mladin in the 2001 Daytona 200 By Arai qualifying.

The 20-year-old Hayden, who finished second in the 2000 Daytona 200 By Arai, continued his streak of hot laps on Wednesday, posting the fastest lap in the morning session with a time of 1:49.819. In the afternoon session, Hayden kept up the pace and was again fastest with a lap of 1:49.022 on the 3.56-mile road course.

"It's still really early and I don't want to get too excited," Hayden said. "I think we're just lucky. We came out of the gate and everything felt good. Now we have a little bit more work to do, but we've definitely got a good start on things. The track feels better than it's ever felt on the first day."

Only the top four positions will be locked in during Thursday's Daytona 200 By Arai qualifying session. Even-numbered riders will participate in an one-hour qualifying session at 2:20 p.m. while odd-numbered riders will kick off their one-hour qualifying session at 3:30 p.m.

Joining Daytona 200 By Arai qualifying on Thursday's schedule are the Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying, Buell Pro Thunder Qualifying and Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying.

Also on Thursday is the Miss Hawaiian Tropic Pageant at 11 a.m. The winner of the local competition advances to the regional competition and a chance at the national title. The pageant will take place inside the track near the road course's east horseshoe.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at (386) 253-7223.

-dis-

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Series AMA
Drivers Nicky Hayden