On a beautiful spring night in Florida, the largest crowd to attend a Daytona 200 in recent memory left the speedway knowing that Ben Bostrom had won the spring classic, but weren't really sure exactly how he'd pulled it off. They weren't alone. Bostrom himself was somewhat confused about the way events played out.
37 laps into the scheduled 57 lap race, Bostrom's Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Hayes had pulled out to a 5 second lead and looked to be well on his way to erasing the bitter memory of last year's race disqualification that robbed him of his 1st 200 win.
Then, Tommy Aquino went down in the chicane as the apparent end result of a lighting snafu which had brought out the pace car. The race was subsequently red-flagged which left 70-plus racers cooling ther heels on pit road for approximately 30 minutes.
By now, readers not familiar with the 200 are probably wondering: Pace car? The Daytona 200 is an odd race, even by US standards. The distance is over 3 times as long as a typical race, necessitating multiple pit stops and when there is a mishap prompting a yellow or red flag situation, racers are supposed to gather behind the pace car, which, theoretically keeps the bikes in order. Unfortunately, theory doesn't always result in successful practice and there have been incidents in the past where racers have been denied their proper position when racing resumes.
On the restart, after a 30 minute delay, the order was Josh Hayes, Bostrom, Martin Cardenas, Jason DiSalvo and Jake Zemke. A couple of crashes and pace car deployments later, Bostrom pits, apparently losing almost a full lap in the process. Still on track, the pace car waves everybody by and they all take off at top speed. But when Bostrum comes up behind the pace car he is held until the rest of the pack catches back up.
After yet another restart, Josh Hayes eventually passes Bostrom to re-take the lead but crashes out on lap 52 of 57. Bostrom then takes the checkers over teammate Josh Herrin and M4 Emgo Suzuki's Jason Disalvo. But wait a minute, there's more confusion -- the timing tower shows that only 55 laps have elapsed. According to the AMA, there's an explanation for all that -- the timing and scoring sytem was bolloxed up and 200 miles had been run. Honest.
At least that's what this commentator thinks happened. I, like nearly everyone else at the apres-race press conference, including the podium trio, was more than a little baffled by the turns of events.
All of which was unfortunate. As I stated at the beginning of this missive, the weather was lovely, the hundreds of lights illuminating the track made for a striking tableaux, a lot of spectators had turned out and, in between the delays, there was some wonderful racing going on.
1. Ben Bostrom
2. Josh Herrin
3. Jason DiSalvo
4. Jamie Hacking
5. Shawn Higbee
6. Chaz Davies
7. Dane Westby
8. Martin Cardenas
9. Leandro Mercado
10. Steve Rapp