LEEDS, Ala. (June 24) — Martin Cardenas survived another grueling day at Barber Motorsports Park and brought home a respectable third-place finish on his GEICO Suzuki to improve his lead in the GoPro Daytona SportBike championship to 51 points over second-place Jason DiSalvo.
Cardenas, who has won six of 10 races this year, entered this weekend’s Triumph SuperBike Classic with a 47-point lead on DiSalvo. In Saturday’s race, DiSalvo finished fourth and Cardenas fifth, shrinking the lead to 45. But Sunday ended with DiSalvo in sixth, so Cardenas ultimately leaves Alabama with a net gain of four points.
“I did what I could this weekend,” Cardenas said. “It was an okay result. Third place is enough to make me happy. I finished ahead of DiSalvo today so we made back the points there and that was the most we could ask for.
“I didn’t have the speed to catch Dane (Westby) and Cameron (Beaubier) towards the end of the race. The bike was just a little off all weekend. We tried some new things Friday and Saturday and they didn’t work the way we had hoped, so they switched back to what we knew today and it was better. Not perfect, but better. In the end, we gained points so we are pleased.”
Most of the finishers needed quick baths of cold water and iced wrapped towels around their necks to help them cool down. Temperatures reached 97 degrees and the hottest point of the day came during the race itself.
“It was extremely hot and I must say the last five laps seemed like they took a long time,” Cardenas said. “I keep my fitness at a very high level but it was very tough even for me. I hope this is the hottest conditions we’ll face this year.”
Up next is the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire, which takes place July 13-15 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.