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Rev Up: Daytona

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  • The unique Daytona grass start
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. Well, March Madness is finally here and damn do I have a kick in my step! I'm a little pissed off about my Kansas Jayhawks losing last night to Texas Tech, but they'll still wrap up the Big 12 title and march into the tournament with their shoulders back. It's actually a blessing to feel the sting of a loss as you prepare to make your way to the Big Dance. As the defending national champions, they'll make some noise. Speaking of noise, damn do we have a plethora of that spread out across the south as we aim a thousand-yard stare at the weekend. The weatherman says it’s going to be sunny and 70 for the boys at Daytona, so we can all look forward to the biggest test of the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross Series yet. 

Daytona. Go ahead and think about your most cherished Daytona memory... What sticks out? For me, the shot of Johnny O'Mara hucking it 100 feet to the flats to grab second place still ranks up there. That 1987 mudder where Ricky Johnson stuck his head in Ron Lechien's spinning rear wheel is hard to forget. Keith Bowen should have won that race, but Ricky Ryan made for a more nostalgic champion. Remember when James Stewart painted a big #3 on the infield grass? Then there's Travis Pastrana's many feats of full-blown Flying Ws. Shit goes down at Daytona.

  • The weatherman says this year will nothing be like last!
Hey, a stadium is a stadium, but when you drive under the bridge at Daytona you feel something. Over 50 years of competition bear down on you and the venue exists as the permanent home to some of the biggest names in motorsports history. I know every time I go there it's hard to even look at turn four. The place is heavy, folks. Of course, Bill France created the mammoth track for race cars, but we have been racing dirt bikes on her for most of its existence and we have a pretty stout resume in our realm. And here we come with what may be the biggest Daytona supercross ever. Has the championship ever arrived at Daytona tied? Beats the dog piss out of me, but it sure is in 2009! Time to get it up in here, folks. The sun is shining, and it's time to get nasty this weekend. Close your eyes real quick and think about the grass starting line, the high banks in the background, those white jumps and black whoop sections. Now open them, and imagine being on the line with the 30-second card up. Click her into second and pin that pig to the stops. Time for the Rev, Daytona style.

LITES

Only 15 points separate Austin Stroupe and Christophe Pourcel with five rounds to go. Stroupe should dominate this race, while C-Pour might find the track a little gnarly. You can count on this year's track to be a chewed-up mess by the time the main events roll around. A serious dark horse with these guys is Branden Jesseman. Brando has come close to tasting Daytona glory a few times, and he has the goods to get the job done. The Lites guys are normally inconsistent, but this multiplies exponentially at Daytona. The track changes every lap and mistakes are common. One thing to put in the back of your head is how fast Nico Izzi was at the end of the outdoor season in 2008. He's one of those guys that doesn't look ultra-fit, but he was charging at the end of 30+2 last summer.

SUPERCROSS

  • Josh Grant's had a couple rough weekends. We could see him shine again in Daytona.
It doesn't take long to be reminded how mental supercross racing is. Go back a few weeks and watch tapes of Chad Reed, then watch Indy. He made up his mind when the gate dropped that he was going to put the hammer down. Confidence is an awesome thing, and when he hucked the double off the start, you knew you were watching a man that wants to keep that #1 plate. Reedy has to be shadow-boxing as he takes it to arguably his strongest venue. Remember when everyone scoffed about him beating RC in 2005? The Daytona dirt is loose and choppy just like his practice tracks and I think this really helps him in the corners. Everyone knows races are won in the corners. If they have that typical 100-yard whoop section, it will be hard to stop Bubba from wheel-slapping the whole damn thing in fourth gear, but Reed knows how to chop wood in the whoops as well. 

It's pretty damned cool that we have so any possibilities for the podium this weekend. The Daytona SX is a Honda event and they always put the heat on their boys to win or podium, so look for Shorty, Tedesco, Windham, and Millsaps to be taking a little extra around with them. 

How about Josh Grant? Hey, JG rides the outdoor stuff REALLY well, and it's been a while since he has pulled a holeshot. He could run if he grabs one on the grass. Speaking of holeshots, #800 quietly put it on the steps last weekend and could do some damage this weekend, what with the outdoor theme.

Like I said last week, it's time to smile, folks. Everything just seems to get rolling this time a year. I took some time this morning to think about what's going on and it's hard to hold back the shivers. Daytona is going to be designed by Ricky Carmichael, who probably won't be able to make the race. You see, he'll be over at a little track called the Atlanta Motor Speedway, mashing the loud pedal in his #4 Monster Energy K.H.I. Silverado. I think he'll lead laps, folks. Things are coming together there. Who knows, maybe he'll carry a big victory-lane trophy with him on his plane and fly over to watch the boys do work on his track design. Saturday night at Daytona is going to be wild, I can just tell. Then, Sunday, I get to watch little bro try to lead the Sprint Cup Points for the first time in his career. Heavy. Let's wish everyone racing this weekend, good luck.

Thanks for reading, see you next week.

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