DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 14, 2014) – Two-time AMA Pro Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick and the #69 Riders Discount Triumph team won the pole position for the 73rd running of the Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway. It was the first time a Triumph won the pole for this prestigious race in 43 years, when Paul Smart rode a Triumph Trident 750 in 1971.
“Winning the pole at Daytona is always special, but this one is really sweet since it’s the first Daytona 200 pole for Triumph since 1971,” said Eslick. “Everything just clicked with the bike, the team, and working the draft. It was a smoking hot lap for sure.”
The fastest lap Eslick turned in with his #69 Triumph Daytona 675R was 1:49.292, nearly three-quarters of a second faster than the second place qualifier. His top speed was 182.629mph on the 675cc machine.
“Congratulations to Danny and the Riders Discount team for their achievement, and to all of the Triumph riders and teams,” said Greg Heichelbech, CEO of Triumph North America. “It’s a great feeling to see such a strong showing of Triumph’s at Daytona. We’re looking forward to a great race.”
This is the third time that a Triumph won the pole for the Daytona 200. Gene Romero was fast qualifier in 1970 with his 750cc Triumph Trident, and Paul Smart backed it up in 1971. While the machines that Eslick, Smart and Romero rode are separated by more than 40 years of technology, all three machines feature Triumph’s signature inline triple engine.
Jason DiSalvo, the 2011 Daytona 200 winner, qualified fourth with his #40 Sportbike Track Time/Castrol/Triumph.
“We had a solid day and the team’s really pumped up about the race tomorrow,” said DiSalvo. “It’s fantastic that so many Triumph’s are in the top ten today. I think we’re going to see even more Triumph’s in the top ten tomorrow during the race.”
Qualifying seventh is British Supersport competitor Luke Stapleford of Leicestershire, England. Stapleford and his # 68 Profile Racing team traveled to Daytona because “This is a nice chance to get in a bit of riding before the British Supersport season.” Stapleford continued, “The race distance is quite difficult mentally. A top six is the aim in the race and I’d class that as a job well done.”
There are six other Triumph riders in the Saturday, March 15, race at Daytona International Speedway. Those riders and their qualifying positions are:
12. #50 Bobby Fong, Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph
19. #21 Elena Myers, Apex Manufacturing/Castrol/Triumph
21. #15 Steve Rapp, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph
23. #42 Kenny Riedmann, RRM/Castrol/Triumph
39. #71 Lee Farmer, Apex Race Services
40. #62 Shaun Summers, D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph
A Triumph has won the Daytona 200 three times. Don Burnett won in 1962, Buddy Elmore won in 1966, and Gary Nixon won in 1967. The first Triumph Daytona production motorcycle appeared in 1967, the Tiger T100R Daytona, as a tribute to Elmore’s victory.
Watch the Daytona 200 live at the newly launched fanschoice.tv. Pre-race ceremonies begin at 12:00pm EST and the race at 1:00pm EST.