MotoAmerica: The 82nd Running of the Daytona 200 Provides Triumph and Failure

March 9, 2024Ramon Jones

The 82nd running of the Daytona 200 has concluded at Daytona International Speedway to kick off the MotoAmerica season. Josh Herrin (Warhorse HSBK Ducati) successfully defended his 2023 Daytona 200 championship with a decisive win today. Herrin became the sixth rider to win 3 Dayton 200’s joining all time legends Dick Klamfoth, Brad Andres, Roger Reiman, Kenny Roberts, and Mat Mladin who have all achieved the same feat. The win was not straight forward as Herrin admittedly faced issues during pit stop practice that left the team uncertain come race time.

Josh Herrin Speaks On the Win

“That was two dream pit stops. I’m not going to lie. I didn’t have much faith in my team going into the race after the pit stop challenge yesterday and some of the practice we did yesterday. I was nervous. But they impressed me. I owe them an apology for doubting them, for sure. They’ve been working super hard this week to make everything as perfect as they can. That was as close to perfect as we could have gotten. I owe the entire race to those guys for doing those two amazing pit stops…A lot of drama for me, even though it seemed like there wasn’t. But that was a dream finish.

I owe it all to my team. Ducati USA, Ducati Corse for putting me on an amazing motorcycle for the last three years. Warhorse Racing, I’m so bummed that we weren’t able to run OnlyFans on the bike. It is what it is. At least I got to run the helmet, so I’m happy that I got to support them, because that’s three years in a row that we’ve had OnlyFans on the helmet.”

Herrin and the team were met with push back regarding their title sponsor OnlyFans. It’s not clear what AMA regulation they violated by signing Only Fans as a sponsor. Herrin is a long standing ambassador for the brand. If an appeal is issued we will provide an update on that development.

Josh Herrin during the 82nd running to the Daytona 200. Photo by Brian J. Nelson/MotoAmerica

Heartbreak for Richie Escalante

Richie Escalante (Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki) had a successful race up until the final lap. Escalante was running in second place with a sure podium in hand after building a very large gap to P3 behind. However, disaster struck when he ran out of fuel and had to try to coast his Suzuki across the finish line. Unfortunately, for Escalante he dropped back 3 positions on the final lap before making it around the track.

However, it wasn’t a complete negative for the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team. Escalante still finished P5 and teammate Tyler Scott was promoted to P2 as a result. Scott said, “Yeah, the race was good. Got a decent start. Made a big mistake coming across the start/finish the one lap. I went really sideways. Maybe it was because there were so many people around drafting. It kind of put me at the back of the lead group there.

A little bit later in the race, I kind of lost Richie’s (Escalante) draft and I feel like that would have helped me to stay close. Most of the race, I was just riding by myself. Rode with Bobby Fong before the one pit stop there. It was good. The pit stops, we were really clean. No issues. Just rode by myself in third the whole race. Unfortunately for Richie (Escalante), he ran out of gas, but we secured second.”

As a result of a post race inspection of Bobby Fong’s bike. It was concluded that he’d be disqualified from his P4 finish for having an oversized fuel tank which promoted Escalante to P4 after the race.

Hayden Gillim Inherits a Surprise Podium

Hayden Gillim also benefited after having fallen behind in the race. Gillim was in a race of his own fighting against Bobby Fong for a seeming P4 finish. An earlier mistake seemingly cost him a chance at the podium so he was thinking he’d have to settle for a battle for third. However, the race wasn’t over for Gillim come the final lap. Escalante’s mishap turned into a gift as he would cruise by the deflated Escalante to finish P3 and claim his first Daytona 200 podium.

Next up is the regular season opener at Road Atlanta next month April 19-21, 2024. You can find more information about the event by clicking here: MotoAmerica: Road Atlanta