Daytona 200 bike race gets green flag for 2015 run at Speedway

The Daytona 200 motocross bike race will be held at Daytona International Speedway in 2015 / Headline Surfer®YouTube download by Headline Surfer® / Video by AMA Pro Racing /
You can watch the 73rd running of the historic Daytona 200 featuring the GoPro Daytona SportBike class at Daytona International Speedway, by clicking on the video. Pole-winner Danny Eslick (Riders Discount/Triumph) looks to keep his fortune in-tune by winning and giving Triumph its first Daytona 200 victory since Gary Nixon in 1967.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Daytona International Speedway has reached a sanction agreement with the American SportBike Racing Association to hold the 74th annual Daytona 200 motorcycle race in 2015 during Bike Week, track President Joie Chitwood announced today in a prepared statement.

The Daytona 200, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, March 14, is a 57-lap race on the 3.51-mile road course showcasing 600cc sportbikes battling for a purse of $175,000 with the race winner also being awarded a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona.

ASRA and the Championship Cup Series will have a full complement of road races Thursday, March 12 through Sunday, March 15.

Daytona 200 qualifying will take place on Friday, March 13, with the race going green the following day at 1 p.m. It is America’s most historic motorcycle race with the inaugural event being held on the sands of Daytona Beach before the race moved to Daytona International Speedway in 1961.

“The tradition of the Daytona 200 spans both the sands of Daytona Beach and the high banks of the Speedway and we’re excited about continuing this historic event with the American Sportbike Racing Association,” Chitwood said in a press release. “With a competitive purse and a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona at stake, riders will have plenty of incentive as they compete for a coveted Daytona victory.”

Daytona Internatiional Speedway President Joie Chitwood / Headline Surfer®Joie Chitwood, III, president of the billionaire France family-owned Daytona International Speedway, is quoted in a press release Monday announcing the 74th annual running of the Daytona 200 sport-bike race at the track in March during Bike Week:

“The tradition of the Daytona 200 spans both the sands of Daytona Beach and the high banks of the Speedway and we’re excited about continuing this historic event with the American Sportbike Racing Association,” Chitwood said in a press release. “With a competitive purse and a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona at stake, riders will have plenty of incentive as they compete for a coveted Daytona victory.”

ASRA and CCS are traditionally part of the Fall Cycle Scene motorcycle schedule at Daytona International Speedway. CCS was founded in 1984 and has become the leader in sportsman level motorcycle road racing offering unrivalled competition at nationwide venues. ASRA started administering CCS in 2006.

“To say that ASRA is excited to be a part of the Daytona 200 is an understatement,” Kevin Elliott, president of ASRA, was quoted as saying in the same press release. “There is no other motorcycle event in the United States that comes close to the prestige of the Daytona 200 and we’re honored to keep the tradition alive in 2015.”

In addition to the full road racing calendar and the Daytona 200, Daytona International Speedway, will continue to be the driving force behind Bike Week hosting a wide range of activities.

Here is the rest of the sport-bike racing event schedule in addition to the March 13 Daytona 200 race:
• On Saturday night, March 7, Daytona International Speedway will host the Daytona Supercross. The tough and challenging course will once again be designed by Supercross legend Ricky Carmichael.
• The sixth annual Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross will be held on Sunday, March 8.
• On Monday, March 9, amateur Supercross racers will have an opportunity to test their skills on the same course used in the Daytona Supercross.
• Daytona International Speedway also will feature the AMA Pro Flat Track doubleheader on March 12-13 on the Daytona Flat Track, which is located outside Turns 1 and 2. 

FAST FACTS: Motorcycle racing deaths at Daytona International Speedway

Motorcycle-related crashes account for one-fourth of the 36 fatalities at Daytona International Speedway since 1959. Sport-bike racers Eric Desy and Rick Shaw became the 35th & 36th persons killed at when they collided in on speed bikes in a private race training session on Oct. 17, 2013. Nine of the overall track fatalalities have been on motorcycles.

• March 12, 1969 - Wayne Harris Bartz - Lightweight motorcycle race: Riding a Suzuki in a novice race, Bartz crashed into two downed bikes on the east turn. He was flung through the air and slammed on the ground. The 30-year-old motorcyclist died of massive injuries a short time later in the speedway hospital.
• March 7, 1993 - James Adamo - Daytona 200 race: Exiting the infield course, Adamo's Ducati 888 went straight into a stack of hay bales before striking a retaining wall and guardrail. The crash was caused by front brake failure. The 36-year-old motorcycle parts shop owner instantly died of massive head injuries.
• March 4, 1997 - Roger Reiman - BMW Battle of the Legends practice: A collision involving several motorcycles caused Reiman to be thrown from his bike on the infield part of the road course. The 58-year-old Harley-Davidson dealer was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center.
• March 2, 2000 - Chris Tatro - CCS practice: Riding a 600cc Kawasaki, the 22-year-old amateur rider crashed into the outside retaining wall on the high bank off turn four. A short time later, he died of head injuries and multiple trauma at Halifax Medical Center.
• March 11, 2001 - Dirk Piz - AMA Buell Pro Thunder race: Entering the bus stop chicane, Piz's Ducati 748 collided with Kiyoshige Watanabe's crashed bike, was lifted up, and sent Piz into the tire barrier to his right. The 45-year-old privateer was pronounced dead of internal injuries at Halifax Medical Center.
• Oct. 19, 2001 - Stuart Stratton - CCS GTO race: Practicing a start on his Yamaha YZF-R6 on pit road, Stratton hit and hurt an official, and veered into the wall. The 35-year-old rider was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center.
• Oct. 18, 2003 - Bryan Cassell Jr. - CCS/FUSA Fall Cycle Scene practice: Slowing down at the exit of Turn Four, Cassell's Lightweight/ThunderBike Ducati was rammed and run over by Jeff Tatham, who couldn't evade him. The 28-year-old rookie was pronounced dead at Halifax Medical Center.
• Oct. 17, 2013 - Eric Desy and Rick Shaw: The veteran racer, Shaw, 65, of Port Orange, an instructor for Team Hammer, and student Eric Desy, 45, of Quebec, were killed in a collision during a late morning practice while racing in a pack under Team Hammer, which rented the 3.51-mile road course from DIS for its  riding school. The two victims collided coming off the East banking "at a high rate of speed." Desy was pronounced dead shortly after transport to Halifax Health Medical Center and Shaw died at 7:06 p.m. of the injuries suffered in the crash. The Speedway did not alert the media about the double fatlity until the next day. To this day, there has been no official report on the cause of the fatal collision.
Sources: Wikipedia and reporting.
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Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.