VIR: Series Saturday report

AMA Pro Road Racing VIR Saturday Wrap Up Suzuki White Lightning AMA Pro Nationals Presented by Foremost Insurance ALTON, Va. (August 14, 2010)- - Today saw three thrilling AMA Pro Road Racing races at the 2.25-mile Virginia International Raceway...

AMA Pro Road Racing VIR Saturday Wrap Up
Suzuki White Lightning AMA Pro Nationals Presented by Foremost Insurance

ALTON, Va. (August 14, 2010)- - Today saw three thrilling AMA Pro Road Racing races at the 2.25-mile Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., in the opening day of competition for the Suzuki White Lightning AMA Pro Nationals presented by Foremost Insurance. One was a runaway, one was a photo finish and the last was almost as close as the second one!

In the National Guard SuperBike race, it was Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden who took his fourth AMA Pro SuperBike win of the season by 0.005 of a second over pole position winner Ben Bostrom. Bostrom led on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha coming down to the line but in a mighty move, Hayden pulled out and just crossed the line, inches ahead of Bostrom. The fun wasn't over for Hayden who, in his successful attempt to win the race, was out of position at that very high speed part of the track and he used all of his considerable skills to wrestle his Suzuki under control after he found himself running wide off the track onto the grass. He brought it back under control and took a critical victory in his pursuit of Josh Hayes and his Team Graves Yamaha team.

"We started coming to the finish and I had huge momentum when I pulled out," Hayden commented on his pass for the win. "The way I was pointing too, when I pulled out, I never even got pointed towards turn one I don't think. I started leaning a little and I just had the biggest front slide I think you can have without crashing. I pretty much thought I was down and somehow I just stayed in the throttle and steered it back up and pointed out in the grass and hoped there was nothing out there I couldn't see, any ditches or nothing coming up and just tried to ride it out. It feels good, I really feel like I needed this one today."

Hayes, by virtue of leading the most laps in today's race, has a one point lead over Hayden in their close battle for the National Guard SuperBike Championship. Hayes had led early in the race after taking the lead from a fast starting Hayden. Hayes took the lead on lap four and led until lap 10 when Ben Bostrom asserted himself into the mix by grabbing the lead from Hayes in turn one. Hayes responded and took the lead right back the next lap and he led for the next nine laps until Bostrom moved ahead on lap 21 which enabled Hayden to get by Hayes as well. Bostrom led as the last lap began but Hayden made a big late braking move into turn one and took the lead but Bostrom was able to fight right back and retook the lead two corners later and looked a likely winner until Hayden made his great move heading down to the flag to take the win.

Behind the riveting battle for the win, Larry Pegram on his Foremost Insurance Ducati finished fourth after dueling with Jake Zemke on the National Guard Jordan Suzuki, Zemke's Jordan Suzuki teammate Brett McCormick, Taylor Knapp on the Suzuki and a front row starting Eric Bostrom on his Cycle World Attack Performance Suzuki. Knapp actually finished fifth ahead of McCormick, Bostrom and Zemke.

John Hopkins made his return to the series today and he rode his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki extremely well, running in a solid fourth place for most of the race until he went down in turn four near the end of the race. Another rider making a comeback this weekend was Jordan Suzuki rider Aaron Yates and he practiced and qualified his regular #23 Jordan Suzuki on the outside of the second row. Yates elected not to start today's race, his recovery is obviously going well but he wasn't absolutely sure he would bring his best to the race, which was run in very hot and humid conditions. Overall, it was another exciting race in a season that has seen five different winners in SuperBike. Tommy Hayden continues to respond to Josh Hayes' every move in the championship battle and this fight is going right down to the wire.

Round two of the Suzuki White Lightning AMA Pro Nationals Presented by Foremost Insurance will be tomorrow at 2:45 p.m. local time and can be seen on SPEED in a set of same-day delayed broadcasts tonight, Saturday, August 14, 2010 beginning at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).

Daytona SportBike Photo Finish

The AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL race was even more exciting and came down to an even closer finish. After seeing Danny Eslick take the pole position, Eslick was joined on the front row by his championship rival Josh Herrin along with six time 2010 Daytona SportBike winner Martin Cardenas and Tommy Aquino.

At the start, a fast starting P.J. Jacobson shot into the lead on his Celtic Racing Suzuki, ahead of Eslick's GEICO Powersports Suzuki, Aquino and his Team Graves Yamaha, Martin Cardenas' M4 Monster Energy Suzuki and Clinton Seller, Steve Rapp and Bobby Fong. The big surprise was that Josh Herrin was hit by another rider diving into turn one and essentially, Herrin's day was done. Back on the track Eslick, Jacobson, Aquino, Cardenas and Fong put on quite a show. Right behind this group was Steve Rapp on his Team Latus Motors Ducati and also Cory West on the Vesrah Suzuki. On lap 15 David White, riding Grant Smith's Memory Racing Kawasaki fell in turn four and the race had to be red flagged to remove his stricken motorcycle.

At the restart, Eslick got a great start and led into turn one. Now there were six bikes running together and Cory West was a man in a hurry and a couple laps later, West made a major move and passed Cardenas for the lead but it was short lived as he fell before the end of the very same lap, letting Cardenas and the rest back by.

Bobby Fong had made a couple of major moves of his own and rode his DNA Energy Drink Ducati from tenth to the lead on a couple of occasions as he and Eslick had a quite the battle along with Cardenas who was right there. One would lead and then another, it was anybody's race. As the race wound down, Eslick was pushed back to third and watched as Bobby Fong and Cardenas went at it. Cardenas had the advantage and coming out to the last corner, he looked a sure winner but Fong moved to the outside as the two neared the flag and they went over the line virtually side by side.

It took a photo review by AMA Pro Road Racing Race Director David McGrath to determine that Fong had indeed won by the absolute slimmest of margins to take his very first AMA Pro Daytona SportBike victory. Fong had been knocking on the door for the last few races and after his heartbreaking fall while leading at the last round at Laguna Seca, this was a popular win for him and the CNR Motorsports team. Josh Herrin's misfortune enabled Eslick to take the points lead and allowed Cardenas to move into second in points ahead of Herrin.

"It feels awesome," said Fong. "We've been working at it all year long to get to the top of the box. With this class, you don't know, a person in fifteenth place could win it's so close and the guys are just so awesome out here."

Tomorrow's race will give Herrin a chance to make up some valuable points after losing ground today. Tommy Aquino took fourth ahead of a determined Steve Rapp and sixth was Fong's Ducati teammate, Michael Beck.

Race two of the VIR doubleheader weekend tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. local time. Today's Daytona SportBike race can be seen on SPEED in a set of same-day delayed broadcasts tonight, Saturday, August 14, 2010 beginning at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. PT).

SuperSport Standout

In SuperSport, J.D. Beach took his Rockwall Engineering Yamaha to a dominant win over Joey Pascarella on his DNA Energy Drink Yamaha and Huntley Nash on his LTD Racing Yamaha. Beach took his sixth win of the season by over 13 seconds and extended his AMA SuperSport Young Gun East Division points lead over his sidelined teammate Cameron Beaubier and today's fourth place finisher, Tomas Puerta, Huntley Nash's LTD Racing Yamaha teammate. While Beach was able to again ride off into the distance, Pascarella had to battle his way through Puerta and then had a long battle with Nash to claim second place.

"My bike is my baby, I take good care of that thing," said Beach. "We got that thing set up real good, it's a great bike, the team's great. All I have to do is get on it, twist the throttle and go."

-source: ama pro racing

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Series AMA
Drivers Steve Rapp , Tommy Hayden , Joshua Hayes , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , David White , Cory West , Taylor Knapp , Bobby Fong , Michael Beck , Josh Herrin , Martin Cardenas , Cameron Beaubier , Tommy Aquino , Clinton Seller , Huntley Nash , Ben Bostrom , Joey Pascarella , Tomas Puerta , Danny Eslick