But all that nice stuff goes away once the racing begins. The Daytona track looks gnarly and nasty already, but the weather may really have an impact. Heavy rain yesterday has left this place pretty soaked, and that will lead to rough, rutted conditions. Said BTOSports.com/BBMXS’s Jimmy Albertson of one on-off section: “This should be the classic peg dragger to endo city section right here.”
Veteran two-time SX Champion Jeff Ward explained, “At this track, the fastest lap time is just going to go to the guy who makes the least mistakes every lap.”
The track also features two of the now famous Daytona Gator Pits, with a dug out section of dirt followed by a wall. This is the type of section that James Stewart jumped over last year—which was spectacular. But then he crashed in a different spot last year while leading.
...and right side of the track.
A Gator Pit.
Stewart is looking to get his day started on a fun note by running his old school #259 on his JGR/Toyota Yamaha—it’s legal to do that in the first five-minute free practice session. He’ll revert to the #7 for actual qualifying and racing.
Also, Ricky Carmichael will make his return in today's free practice. Well, just for practice. RC will be taking a lap of the track duirng opening ceremonies so he needs a few practice laps to dial it in.
Meanwhile, Ryan Dungey’s Red Bull KTM bike sits in the pits, a sad sign that Dungey will not be here racing due to a broken collarbone.
The weather report shows a small chance of showers this morning and afternoon, with everything clearing up by the night show. The weather today shouldn’t be a problem, but the rain yesterday could still have an impact on how tonight’s track develops. We will see!
Only at Daytona: teams pull bikes and parts out of the haulers and work inside the NASCAR garages.
A riderless KTM. Bummer.