Close finishes decide Championships at Daytona. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2002) -- A hard charging Michael Barnes and a flat tire in the first leg of the Lockhart-Phillips SuperBike combined to cost Craig Connell the championship today at ...
Close finishes decide Championships at Daytona.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 20, 2002) -- A hard charging Michael Barnes and a flat tire in the first leg of the Lockhart-Phillips SuperBike combined to cost Craig Connell the championship today at Daytona International Speedway.
Connell, of Arclight Suzuki, suffered a flat tire in the first leg of the Lockhart-Phillips SuperBike race. Connell rallied back from his 12th place starting position to finish third, but couldn't get past Barnes who finished a close second to Shawn Higbee in the final race. Connell didn't have to win the race to win the championship, but he did have to beat Barnes. Instead Barnes walked away with a podium finish and the series championship.
"That was a fantastic race and it's tough about the tire but that's racing," said Connell.
"I didn't need to beat Shawn (Higbee) but I sure would have liked to," said Hooters Mountain Dew Suzuki rider Barnes. "He's a true champion. But I'll take that number one plate home."
"We had an awesome race and it's a great field of guys," said Higbee of KWS Motorsports Suzuki. "To finish off with such a strong finish for our team, hopefully it will give us some good momentum leading into next year."
The Pro Honda Oil SportBike Series race became a three-way battle between top competitors Larry Pegram, Craig Connell and Jason DiSalvo. But when Pegram and Connell tangled on the last lap they gave DiSalvo all he needed to break away and take the checkered.
"That R6 Yamaha was just absolutely smokin' out there and I think the rest of the riders would agree that it was the fastest bike out there today," said Pro Honda Oils race winner DiSalvo. "They couldn't catch me. I just rode my hardest in the infield and let the bike do all the work on the banks and the straightaway and it turned out to be the right idea. Just get out in front and go."
"That was a really close one. It could have gone to any one of three of us," said second place finisher Connell. "Everybody was so even, it was very difficult. It was one of the hardest races of the year."
Local rider Dave Estok of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., took home the win in the Buell Lightning Series race. The championship in the Buell Lightning Series went to Bryan Bemisderfer of Greencastle, Pa., who finished second in today's Buell Lightning Series race, followed by Mark Reynolds of Woodstock, Ct. in third. Michael Barnes, who turned in a 14th place finish in the race, finished the season second in the points.
While motorcycle racing concluded for the year at Daytona International Speedway, the "World Center of Racing" will host its next event October 31-Nov. 3 when the Brumos Continental Historics roar into town. HSR kicks off a "Sportscar Speedweeks" that runs two weeks and includes the season finale of the Grand American Road Racing Series Nov. 7-10. Tickets are available by calling the Speedway Ticket Office at (386) 253-7223.