Herrin Claims Victory in Final Daytona SportBike Race of 2011, Says Hello to SuperBike

AMA Pro Race Report, New Jersey: Daytona SportBike Race 2

MILLVILLE, NJ (September 4, 2011) - Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin may not have gotten the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Championship he wanted, but he does have the satisfaction of having ended the 2011 season in the second-best way possible: with a hard-fought win over a list of determined opponents. After dispatching teammate Tommy Aquino, Cameron Beaubier (JHR/RidersDiscount.com), and Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) -- each of whom came back for seconds, thirds, or more -- Herrin took his fifth victory of the season, more than any other rider in the class.

"When we came in for the red flag I talked to Josh Hayes for a little bit and he gave me a little advice, and it seemed to work," said Herrin. "I put my head down hard in both of the warm-up laps, and it seemed to set me up good for the first lap of the race. I couldn't hear anybody behind me for a little while and I thought I had a bigger gap than I did. When I heard Dave behind me, I got real scared because I knew it was him, and it scared me when I saw him put a wheel on me because I thought he would have gotten me on the last lap in Turn 3. But my Monster Energy Graves Yamaha worked really well and I was able to get by most everybody on the straightaway. I can be any happier ending the season with a win, especially since we're going up to SuperBike next year. I'm going to miss this class."

Each rider seemed to typify the particular skill and strategy they've become known for in today's race, Herrin the smooth, determined veteran; Westby the late-race charger; Beaubier the constantly evolving rookie; Aquino the mercurial pilot capable of more than past seasons have shown. With a brief pause caused by a red flag (which flew after a crash by M4 Suzuki's Santiago Villa, who was quickly on his feet), the four-rider pack -- made five by Danny Eslick for the first half of the race - diced non-stop through the 23-laps, sliding forward and back through turns while trying to out-draft and out-break as they tore down the front straight.

"Today I thought I had something for Josh," said Westby, who'd been eager to erase yesterday's crash with a victory today, "but [it wasn't] enough that I could make it happen. Too bad it's the end of the season, because I'd like to do some more racing, but I look forward to seeing everybody next year."

"I actually felt a little pressure today because I realized I could maintain third in the championship," said Aquino, "so that was really cool. I'm almost as happy with this as with the win yesterday, just knowing I placed really well in the championship. It was a harder race than yesterday, which I barely got out of alive. Josh did a really good job of setting the pace and all I could do was hold on. I made a few mistakes on the last lap pushing really hard -- everybody was - but yeah, it's just been a pleasure all year to race alongside these guys. I have to thank my whole team ... this is just getting better and better, and next year is going to be phenomenal, no matter what happens."

Aquino was followed across the line by Beaubier and newly crowned 2011 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick. Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki), Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Racing), Bryce Prince (Bryce Prince Racing), Mike Selpe (Frisco Tap House/Markbilt), and LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha's Huntley Nash rounded out the top ten.

Today's AMA Pro action from New Jersey Motorsports Park airs tonight at 10 p.m. ET on SPEED. GEICO Powersports RMR Suzuki's Danny Eslick -- along with the series' other 2011 champions -- will collect his #1 plate at tomorrow's AMA Pro Road Racing Awards Banquet in Atlantic City.