Sean Dylan Kelly backed up his perfect run of two Daytona 200 poles in two attempts by doing the same for his podium record in Saturday’s 79th running of the historic race at Daytona International Speedway, finishing a close second.
Kelly pushed the pace throughout the legendary 200-miler, controlling the contest from the front for the vast majority of a race that tests the upper limits of endurance, courage, speed, reliability, and focus.
Following a picture-perfect pitstop, “SDK” made a late break, opening up substantial lead aboard his M4 Palm Beach Police & Fire Foundation 1-833-CJKNOWS Suzuki GSX-R600 built by Team Hammer.
However, he was reeled back into reach by a rival in the waning laps. And as it so often does, it all came down to one final showdown on the high banks.
Kelly was draft-passed in the decisive sprint to the checkered flag and immediately made an under-and-over move to try to power back by at the stripe. His audacious bid for victory came up a scant 0.031-second short, and the Floridian was forced to accept another close second place in the Daytona 200, in as many starts.
“It’s tough,” Kelly said. “Honestly, it hurts to get passed right at the line, but that’s what this race is. The Team Hammer crew gave me a really good bike, we did a great pitstop, and I think we did an overall amazing job. We tried our best and did what we could.
“I thought I could lead the last few laps, but it just wasn’t enough — that draft pass was just perfectly calculated. Huge thank you to the entire team and everyone out here supporting us. I hope everyone enjoyed that race.”
About Team Hammer
The 2021 season marks Team Hammer’s 41st consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 108 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 291 times and have won nine AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships (in Superbike and Supersport). The team has also won 137 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won four F-USA Championships.