AMA Sportbike: 2009 Heartland Park results

Cardenas, Eslick tied at 318 points

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Aug. 04, 2009
Danny Eslick moved into a tie with Martin Cardenas with 318 points at the top of the AMA Daytona Sportbike standings as the pair split a pair of victories at Heartland Park Topeka Aug. 1-3.

Riding the Rossmeyer Geico RMR Buell 1125R, Eslick leapfrogged over Cardenas after Race One with his sixth win of the 2009 season. Eslick dedicated the victory to Bruce Rossmeyer who died in a motorcycle accident earlier in the week.

“It was really unfortunate about the passing of Bruce Rossmeyer and we dedicate this win to him,” says Eslick. “He was a great guy and our teammate. The family said ‘go win a championship for us,’' so this is the first step.”

Eslick took the lead on Lap 8, sprinting past Superpole winner Jason DiSalvo of Team M4 Suzuki. A few laps later, DiSalvo’s teammate Cardenas began to challenge. The two racers swapped the lead several times over the second half of the 20-lap race until Cardenas slid off course on Lap 18. Eslick was unchallenged the rest of the race, finishing nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Josh Herrin and his Graves Yamaha teammate Tommy Aquino.

“I glanced back and Martin was all over me and that was pretty close to the end,” says Eslick. “I did a couple of really good motocross block passes, and I think I was going slow enough I could have put my foot down. It was 100% clean, he raced me clean and we never touched once. That’s the race I’ve been looking for all year, to be the points leader and all that. Martin’s a heck of a guy, a great rider and I wish it wouldn’t have ended that way because that would have been a heck of a battle to the checkered flag.”

Eslick’s wish came true in Race Two. Eslick led going into the final lap but lost the lead to Cardenas twice, with the Suzuki racer taking the victory.

Martin Cardenas leads Danny Eslick and Jason DiSalvo at Heartland Park Topeka.

“The race was very tough,” says Cardenas. “I noticed that the pace wasn’t as good as yesterday and Danny was struggling in the first part of the track. I made a move three or four laps from the end and put a little bit of a gap in the parts that I saw he was struggling. He came right by me again so I just waited for the last lap to make a move and it worked out.”

After losing the lead to Cardenas with half a lap remaining, Eslick lost another position to a hard charging Herrin. The Yamaha racer overcame an off-track excursion mid-race that dropped him down to seventh to finish second.

“That was really scary,” Herrin says about the incident. “I ran it in really hard, and I was going to try to make a move on Danny going on the outside. I think I hit his exhaust or something with my fist and it just jabbed it, cut my hand actually. I ran off into the grass, made a couple of jumps through there and charged back. That was definitely the furthest I’ve had to work to catch back up to the leaders. The pass on Danny on the last lap was just full lock, sliding the bike on the last corner. Taking a second after charging that long is just as good as a win to me.”

Eslick dropped to third after Herrin’s pass, putting him into a tie with Cardenas with 318 points on top of the standings. Cardenas led going into the weekend but lost the lead to Eslick after Race One. Thanks to a 7-6 margin in race victories, Cardenas holds the advantage going into the final two rounds beginning with the Aug. 14-16 round at Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking sat out the weekend’s races over concern about the Topeka, Kans., track’s safety. His absence allowed Herrin to move past him into third in the championship standings.

“We support Jamie in his final decision,” says Mike Fisher, team manager. “Jamie is an experienced racer and has always been an advocate for track safety.”

2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R600 318
2nd Danny Eslick Buell 1125R 318
3rd Josh Herrin Yamaha YZF-R6 261
4th Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 244
5th Jason DiSalvo Suzuki GSX-R600 235