CARLSBAD, Calif. – Spy Optic’s Jason “JLaw” Lawrence (Boost Mobile/ampm/Monster Energy/Troy Racing) made a spectacular debut in the premier SX class at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla., on Saturday, dominating the entire field in qualifying practice and then stepping up in the main and leading the majority of laps before placing 2nd to Chad Reed.
“He (Lawrence) should be thrilled. That was an impressive ride all around,” said SPEED TV commentator and former SX champ, Jeff Emig.
Upon arriving at Daytona, Lawrence, who suffered a setback in his first attempt at the SX class (flu-like symptoms at Indianapolis), made a statement early when he bested series points leaders Chad Reed and James Stewart in qualifying practice, putting up the only sub-1:07 lap time on the rugged Daytona track (1:06.998). With a prime gate pick in heat two, Lawrence rode fast – and smart – and pulled off a podium finish in his first SX class heat race which, in turn, gave him another good gate pick for the SX main.
Running yellow and black Spy Magneto goggles with clear anti-fog lenses and a stack of tear-offs that he’d barely need, Lawrence got a great start in the main and managed to avoid trouble caused when Stewart tucked his front tire in, at speed, at the end of the first turn and caused a massive pile up. Lawrence got out of the mess and set his sites on race leader Mike Alessi, who Lawrence caught and passed with a nice move in a tight ‘S-turn’ section of the Daytona SX course three laps into the main.
Lawrence the proceeded to put distance between himself and the rest of the field for the next dozen laps, overcoming a couple mistakes – including coming up short on a landing that no doubt stung his wrists. At the end of 15 laps, or what he’s used to running on the WSX Lites series, Lawrence would have been the winner. But the SX class is 20 laps and that would give series points leader veteran Chad Reed the amount of time he needed to catch up to Lawrence, who obliged the defending SX champ by allowing him past with no hassles. Lawrence then buckled down and showed his mettle on his privateer Yamaha by holding off a hard-charging pack of factory-backed racers, including Alessi, Davi Millsaps and Spy Optic’s own Kevin Windham (Geico Powersports/Honda).
“Chad (Reed) was able to make up a lot of time late in the race, closed the gap and got right up on me late and I didn’t try to be the hero or anything – just backed it down,” said Lawrence. “But I’m stoked, my first SX main event ever and I’m on the podium.”
For Windham is was another pro performance on the track where he won last year. Windham was 7th-fastest in qualifying practice, then made the podium (2nd) in the first heat race. In the main Windham also avoided the brunt of trouble at the start and came out after the first lap in 7th place. He then got by Tyler Bowers, Heath Voss, Thomas Hahn and, on lap 11, moved past Alessi in an exciting battle to put himself in podium position (3rd). Windham held onto 3rd for a couple laps before multi-time outdoor MX national champ Ryan Villopoto got by him. Windham would eventually drop back to 5th place – which was still his best finish since Anaheim 2 in January.
“Racing in Daytona during Bike Week is always a big deal for us,” said Windham. “The entire industry’s here and Daytona Speedway always puts on a first-rate event. Looking forward this weekend to racing in New Orleans again.” Note: Windham won the New Orleans SX class main event, on his birthday, in 1998.
Also: Spy Optic’s Nick Wey (Boost Mobile/ampm/Monster Energy/Troy Racing) narrowly missed transferring to the main out of his heat race (11th, top nine move on) and then finished 3rd in the LCQ behind two factory Honda racers (Ivan Tedesco and Millsaps) where the top two transfer to the main. Wey’s still inside the top 15 (14th) with 55 points.
Next up for the Spy Optic-backed supercross racers is round ten of the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross Series at Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla. (March 7).
Spy Optic designs, develops and markets premium products for the action sports and youth lifestyle markets. Spy’s principal products, sunglasses and goggles, target the action sports market, including surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, motocross, wakeboarding and skiing, and the youth lifestyle market within fashion, music, and entertainment. Spy’s innovative proprietary products utilize high-quality materials, handcrafted manufacturing processes and engineered optical lens technology to convey premium quality, contemporary style, and progressive design. Spy is a wholly owned subsidiary of Orange 21, Inc. (NASDAQ:ORNG). www.spyoptic.com
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