MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 8) — Martin Cardenas came up a few inches short of tallying his seventh AMA GoPro Daytona SportBike victory of the season Saturday, but his runner-up finish to Cameron Beaubier in Saturday’s first race of the American Red Cross Devil’s Showdown still added six points to his championship points lead with five races remaining on the season.
Cardenas now has 10 podium finishes in 14 starts this year and unofficially leads second-place Dane Westby by 70 points heading into Sunday’s second race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The 29-year-old Colombian gained four points with Saturday’s finish and collected two more bonus points for being low qualifier and leading the most laps (11 of 23). Westby came in third after starting in 13th place.
“It was a very good race for me,” Cardenas said. “I made two very good starts (the second after a red flag) and got out front each time and tried to fall into a nice rhythm. But these other guys made it very challenging. They were with me the whole time and there was lots of passing. Nothing out of line; just very clean, hard racing between one another.
“It was a great battle and at the end I tried to make a move to get around Cameron but I was just a little bit short. The GEICO Suzuki team did a great job, as usual, and we will try again tomorrow a little bit harder and see what happens.”
Beaubier passed Cardenas going into Turn 1 of the final lap and managed to hold off the GEICO Suzuki at every turn. In the final straightaway Cardenas used the draft to try and slingshot around Beaubier at the finish line but came up .023 seconds short.
The intense, back-and-forth racing among the front group of riders proved Cardenas isn’t taking it easy en route to what could be his second Daytona SportBike title, even though his sizable points lead adds up to more than two full races of action.
“I try not to think about that because it’s very distracting and I think it can cause you to make a mistake very easily,” Cardenas said. “I just ride my race and try to do the best I can. Of course, I try not to take big, big risks, but I still take risks and try to win every race. We are all here to win. Today I just didn’t have quite enough.”
The Daytona SportBike class will hold a warm-up session at 9:30 a.m. followed by the second main event, beginning at 2:15 p.m. SPEED TV will air Saturday’s race at 9 p.m. and Sunday’s race starting at 11 p.m.