From a press release issued by Daytona International Speedway:
Valvoline EMGO Suzuki Shines At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 29, 2004) – Valvoline EMGO Suzuki riders turned in excellent rides Sunday in the Formula USA finals at historic Daytona International Speedway.
Team rider Steve Rapp of Perris, Calif., won the Sportbike final in the closest race of the day over Floridian Michael Barnes. His new teammate Chris Peris was third. Valvoline’s Vincent Haskovec took the win in the Formula USA Superbike final.
The Sportbike race turned into a typical Daytona last-lap draft-fest. Three riders were in the lead pack as they took the white flag. Peris got stuck behind a lapped rider going into Turn 6, but was able to get back into the draft made by Rapp and Barnes. Peris lost his chance at the victory when another lapper got between him and the leaders going into the chicane.
It was then a two-rider battle to the flag.
“On the last lap I just decided to get out front and go,” Rapp explained. “Sometimes if you’re not in front you can get stuck behind lappers, you never know. If you’re leading at least you can see what’s happening in front of you. I just went for it and it worked. I knew he (Barnes) was there. I’m glad I beat him. This is his home track so it feels good to beat Barney here.”
Barnes said he was in the perfect position to draft to the lead, but when he made his move his bike hit the rev limiter. “In hindsight we should have gone taller two teeth (on the sprocket).”
Haskovec, a native of the Czech Republic who resides in Lake Elsinore, Calif., won the red-flag shortened Formula USA Superbike race. He was thrilled to get a victory for his new team.
“It was like our first official big race and the first outing on the beautiful new Suzuki,” said an enthusiastic Haskovec.” I had some power on those guys. A lot of riders were right there and it was exciting, like it always is in a 600 race.”
All three Valvoline riders are expected to be leading contenders in the AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport and Repsol Superstock races this week during the AMA portion of Daytona 200 Week.
David Estok, of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., won the Thunderbike final on a Harding Harley-Davidson Buell. He nipped teammate Bryan Bemisderfer at the line. North Carolinian Scott Harwell won the Formula Sportbike race.
Next up at Daytona International Speedway is the two-day schedule of American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA) races on Monday, March 1 and Tuesday, March 2. Tickets for all motorcycle races at Daytona International Speedway are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Formula USA Superbike: 1. Vincent Haskovec, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki 600; 2. Steve Rapp, Perris, Calif., Suzuki 600; 3. Robert Jensen, Chafee, N.D., Yamaha 600.
Formula USA Sportbike: 1. Steve Rapp, Perris, Calif., Suzuki 600; 2. Michael Barnes, Boca Raton, Fla., Yamaha 600; 3. Chris Peris, Calgary, Alberta, Suzuki 600.