Daytona supercross hosted the third round of the 2011 East-Coast lites championship series with three JWR rider’s making the main event. Jimmy Weinert and Ryan Schafer said it was “a turn-around from the first two” races as they were pleased that all four of their riders qualified into one of the heats.
The team’s best finish went to the #44 of Les Smith. Smith qualified 10th earning 5th gate-pick in his heat. “I felt good, my confidence was up and I was in the right mind-set going into the heat race” said Smith. After a 9th placed start, Smith says he “took his time and tried to work his way up” while staying smart and learning lines. Smith moved up to 5th place before reaching the checkered flag, which earned him the 10th spot in the main event. In the main, Smith got off to a great start but said, “in the first couple laps I rode way too tight and lost some spots but once I relaxed I started riding pretty good”. The long lap times of Daytona gave Smith plenty of time to find his groove and ride his way to a 10th place finish. Smith says he needs to practice his sprints and staying relaxed at the beginning of the race so he can get out front and “bump some elbows with those guys”. Going into Indianapolis next weekend “I just want to be no worse than I was this weekend in Daytona and just keep moving forward” says Smith.
Not far behind Smith, was the #89 of Taylor Futrell. Futrell qualified 7th earning 4th gate-pick in his heat. “I got a good start in my heat race and I was in 3rd or 4th coming around the second corner where Wharton checked up and I bumped him a little bit”. This put Futrell back in the mid-pack where he was able to fight his way up 6th before the finish. “That finish didn’t set us up for the best gate-pick but at least we were in” says Futrell. Even with the 12th gate-pick Futrell was able to get off to a great start in about 6th. “Coming around the second corner there was a little rhythm section and I went outside and somebody went to the inside and I landed on them and someone bumped into me and I actually don’t know how I didn’t go down” said Futrell. Futrell came around the first lap in 13th. After a few laps Futrell said he “was having a few issues physically” with himself and he “wasn’t able to push”. “I salvaged a 12th which is better than Houston and Atlanta but far from what I’m capable of” said Futrell. Futrell will be taking it easy this week in preparation for Indianapolis as he works on getting physically better.
The #244 of Ryan Zimmer was next in line for the team. In his heat race, Zimmer got off to a good start where he said he “was in 4th for a few laps and ended up washing the front end out and not making it into the main event”. In the LCQ he got a top-five start and quickly worked his way up to 2nd place. “Justin Sipes and Gannon Audette were right behind me and they ended up taking each other out, so that gave me some breathing room” said Zimmer. Zimmer took the last qualifying position earning him the 20th gate-pick for the main event. “I went into the first corner about mid-pack and then I got pushed over into a tough-block and it wrapped around my back brakes and sprocket and I ended up having to pull off the track and get it off”. said Zimmer. This damaged the rear brakes of Zimmer’s bike leaving him with front brakes only for the entire race. “I couldn’t race and have fun but I’m still learning more and stuff like that so it was pretty good.” said Zimmer. For Indianapolis Zimmer says he needs “to do better with sprints and timed-qualifying because after I qualify I’m fine it’s just trying to qualify to get into the night show is what I need to work on”.
Right behind Zimmer was the #709 of Tyler Bright who showed promising speed throughout qualifying and the heat races. “I went in the heat race and had a crash in the first turn, I got back up and was coming up pretty good and then I had another crash that put me in the back and I had to go to the LCQ” said Bright. In the LCQ Bright says he “had another great start in about 5th and then went through the whoops, came around another left-hand corner and had another crash in the second turn”. By the time Bright was able to get back up and going he was towards the back of the pack. The LCQ is only four laps and Bright ran out of time. This week Bright looks to work on getting his bike setup to be a little more comfortable so he can perform better in Indianapolis next weekend.
Jimmy says he “learned so much from watching” and that he “got a re-fresher course” on what he needs to better train his team during the week. The riders have now “gotten over the hurdle, they know what they need to do and how they need to do it” says Jimmy. The next round brings JWR to Indianapolis Indiana where all Jimmy is asking for is progress.