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10 Things to Watch: Daytona

USA Supercross 2015

maddix park mx

By Aaron Hanse, Jason Weigandt, and Chase Stallo

Animated Track Map Daytona

The Orange Bowl

Ryan Dungey is no stranger to doing well at Daytona—he’s landed on the podium in all four of his premier class starts there—but he has yet to score a win at the famous speedway. Chad Reed and Ken Roczen are the only active Monster Energy Supercross racers who have beaten Dungey in Daytona, and they’ve both beaten him at times this year too. But judging by how strong Dungey’s been this year (three wins and only one race off the podium), keeping him out of the winner’s circle this time around is going to be tough. Maybe they'll even replace last week's Georgia peaches with Florida oranges! – Aaron Hansel 

Rough Playing Field

Daytona isn’t quite a regular supercross, but it’s not a typical motocross track, either. Still, we know there are some tough, fit dudes that can’t wait to get a shot at the place, starting with 250 National Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin. Down 7 points to Marvin Musquin in the 250SX East points, he’ll need to rely on his ridiculous fitness to lock down a win here. In 450s, Chad Reed has visited the famous Gatorade Victory Lane at Daytona several times, and you know the flying Honda duo of Trey Canard and Eli Tomac will be, well, flying again. Tomac is especially tough when he gets into a good groove on a rough track. Will any of these boys be able to use their rough-track knowledge to bag a Dayton win, and turn their season around? – Jason Weigandt

Five Down, Fifteen to Go

What a race Weston Peick put on early for the fans last week in Atlanta! After getting passed by Chad Reed on the first lap for the lead Peick immediately battled back and shocked everyone in attendance by retaking it and holding it for five laps. It really makes you wonder just how good he might have been this year had he not broken his foot in Phoenix and sustained a torn MCL in Dallas. We’ll see if he can lead more laps tomorrow night with another week of recovery time under his belt. – Hansel

Will the Daytona trophy be filled with Red Bull and oranges?Photo: Simon Cudby
Will the Daytona trophy be filled with Red Bull and oranges?Photo: Simon Cudby

Making Headway

Learning the supercross ropes isn’t easy—something Arnaud Tonus would likely agree with. He’s been fast in qualifying but just hasn’t been able to put the pieces of the main event puzzle together yet. He was closer last week though—he ran second for four laps—but ended up throwing out the anchor in the final stages of the race to finish seventh. He even had to visit the Asterisk medic center due to low blood sugar. The good news for Tonus is that Daytona, while still a supercross track, is a bit more like a motocross track than the other sixteen races. We’ll see if the change in scenery helps the former GP rider break through for the first top five of his career. – Hansel 

Josh Grant

To say that Josh Grant’s season got off to a slow start would be like saying Chad Reed was a bit miffed at the black flag that was thrown in his honor at A2. In the first five races Grant only notched eight points for a dismal 1.6-point average! Fortunately those days seem to be in the past, and his results have been steadily improving lately, culminating with a season-high sixth last week. If he keeps it up he’ll be in the top five in Daytona. – Hansel

New Look

Daytona International Speedway has been hosting an AMA Supercross since 1971—the longest running supercross in history. This year, the Ricky Carmichael-designed and Mark Barnett-built course will see a lot of changes. The starting gate has moved from pit road to the west end of the infield. Also, the track will race clockwise and feature thirty jumps, two whoop sections, and a mogul section. We’ve also heard that the course is expected to be much faster this year. We’ll see who adjusts to the changes Saturday night. – Chase Stallo

Back on Track

Prior to Atlanta 2, Cole Seely had an average finish of 5.5 over six rounds. Seely struggled last weekend (he thinks a rock may have gotten caught in his bike, which caused him to stall) to finished outside the top ten since Phoenix. “To me, Cole just seemed a little flat all day,” team manager Dan Betley said in a statement. “He struggled a little bit tonight for whatever reason, so we’ll regroup and come back swinging at Daytona.” Transitioning from a nine-round regional series to a full seventeen rounds can take its toll on rookies. Coming out “flat” happens from time to time. “Adjusting to the longer season has been at the forefront of my training,” said Seely in a statement. “I’ve been learning to create my schedule during the week in a way that doesn’t burn me out at this point in the season.” Can Seely get back on track this weekend? – Stallo

Can Savatgy return to the podium this weekend?Photo: Simon Cudby
Can Savatgy return to the podium this weekend?Photo: Simon Cudby

Looking for the Podium

Joey Savatgy survived a mistake-filled day/night at Atlanta 2, which included a number of crashes throughout the day, to finish fourth. According to a team statement, Savatgy injured his right hand in one of the crashes. “Getting fourth isn't what I want to do, but it has been a bit of a rough stretch,” Savatgy said. Since opening the East Region with a third, the 2013 SX Rookie of the Year has gone 5-4. If 100 percent, a return to the podium could be in the cards this weekend. – Stallo  

The Alaskan Assassin Returns

Ben LaMay is back! After being let go from CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha prior to San Diego, LaMay has raced just one round—on a borrowed Yamaha. He recently struck a deal with Munn Racing and will make his debut Saturday on a Husqvarna. Has he had enough time to adjust to the new bike to make the main? – Stallo

Roczen’s Ankle

It’s been a tough stretch for the defending 450MX Champion. Roczen re-aggravated an ankle injury sustained at Atlanta 1 last weekend, and finished outside the top five for the second straight weekend. “We spent a lot of time together after the race, trying to figure out how to get that program back on track,” said co-owner Carey Hart in a team statement following the race. “I think we know what we need to do to get him back in the same frame of mind that he had at the beginning of the season.” Will Roczen’s ankle hold up on the rough, long Daytona racetrack? - Stallo

 
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