450 Words: Daytona

March 10, 2008 1:00pm

Walking into the Ale House across the street from Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, one might have stumbled on two different celebrations of equal modesty. Near the bar, a group of old friends gathered to toast the man in their midst—Daytona SX winner Kevin Windham—all cleaned up and ready to celebrate his good fortune. K-Dub knew he got a lucky break on the last lap, when race-long leader Chad Reed’s motor “gave up the ghost,” as my esteemed colleague Steve Cox pointed out earlier. What was funny though was the fact that Windham had already given up when he came upon Reed.

Kevin Windham splashed his way to victory Friday night.

“When they lit the fireworks off, I was still on the other side of the track, so I thought the race was over,” K-Dub told me after the race. “But they went off on the wrong guy, and when I came around to where Chad was stuck, all I could see was that #22 sitting there. I couldn’t believe it!”
Of course, we now know that Windham would have won anyway, as the AMA decided to dock Reed three and a half minutes for several off-track excursions. In his defense, none of them looked intentional; he just got sloppy in the slop and went off the track a few times, but then took his time getting back in the slop. The cruel irony, of course, is the fact that he had maybe two and a half turns left when his bike quit. Regardless, Reed’s mud-riding skills were damned impressive out there. If Thor MX’s Victor Sheldon, the 8-time Jet Ski champ, was the one who told him to keep the front end light, it was great advice.
Back to the Ale House. While Windham held station at the bar, everyone staring at the incredible Speed TV coverage—director Jack Carbone and his whole crew of cameramen did an outstanding job (and Rhino driver Cliff Nobles looked like he had more fun than anyone else out there all night long)—there was a table of late-night diners doing the same thing on the restaurant side of the big beer hall. It was Jacob Marsack, his father, brother and the rest of his small team. Marsack, who rides for the Bad Boy Power Drinks / RWR / Full Travel Innovations Honda team, is the most unlikely podium finisher AMA Supercross has seen since Sebastien Tortelli slithered across the checkered flag first in the Los Angeles Coliseum back in 1998. But Marsack almost made it there just a few weeks ago in San Francisco, where he posted a solid fourth. 

Jake Marsack before the rain started to fall.

Here’s the thing. Jake and his dad and his crew all had smiles as wide as your computer screen, watching and cheering when he would show up on the screen, laughing as he fumbled with the Pirelli hat he threw on for Speed TV. But they also told me they are getting low on parts and support. He likely cooked his engine, brakes, among other things out there in his bid for the podium, and while he now has a nice trophy and a place in supercross lore, he always has a lot of parts to replace. So if anyone at American Honda or one of the bigger satellite teams is reading this, there’s a kid out there with a lot of potential who could use a little extra help in the next few weeks. He wears #66, and he was last standing up on the podium at Daytona.

Supecross results:
1. Kevin Windham
2. Davi Millsaps
3. Jacob Marsack
4. David Vuillemin
5. Antonio Balbi
6. Chad Reed
7. Heath Voss
8. Andrew Short
9. Eric Sorby
10. Ryan Dungey
11. Bryan Johnson
12. Nathan Ramsey
13. Dusty Klatt
14. Travis Preston
15. Paul Carpenter
16. Nick Wey
17. Josh Hill
18. Charles Summey
19. Cole Siebler
20. Jeff Gibson
21. Tyler Bright