I’ll go out on a limb here and predict that Daytona is and will be the best SX race of the year. Mostly for all the reasons that make it the least Supercross-like of all the races — longer track, no 180-degree bowl turns, multiple soil types, varied obstacles, really rough.

What a wild get-off by Austin Stroupe in the 250 main. What carnage in the 450 first turn. What a T-bone by Milsaps on Mike Alessi. What a ride by Stewart to get back to 7th with a busted bike and probably a bang-up headache.

Great coverage on SPEED — the best all year. The ground-level shots were great. The real-time whoops coverage was very cool. Even the SPEED commentary team is getting better. Or maybe I’m softening up. But Shaheen seems to be learning something about the sport and is less reliant on overblown platitudes. Erin Bates’ malapropisms are much less frequent, and less noticeable.

This says they’re trying, and take their work seriously. I can respect that. Let’s hope they keep pushing to improve — just like the racers they cover.

The racing was good. Lots of action. Rough, long track actually made fitness an issue, not something that happens in any other SX race, really. Stewart took a beating in the first-turn crash that looked, to me, like he initiated it with a little too much front stopper. Front wheel went right out from under him mid-pack and created carnage.

Reed got held up but stayed upright, and made a good charge through the pack to catch a pooped-out Jason Lawrence in the last couple laps for the win. Milsaps rammed the crap out of Mike Alessi on the last lap to take third. Stewart managed to work his way back to 7th.

All in all, it was a great race. The best SX I’ve seen in a long, long time. Congrats to SPEED for really doing the show right. Michael Byrne did not rejoin the race after taking a pretty brutal hit in the first-turn melee. And Tim Ferry dropped out a lap or so in with some sort of ankle problem, also after the big crash. Here’s hoping both are ok.

ama24hrdaytonaThis is pretty cool. Former AMA Champions Scott Russell, Reg Pridmore, and Jeff Ward are planning to compete in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona sports car event later this month. Russell, known as “Mr. Daytona” for his five wins in the Daytona 200 motorcycle race, and Pridmore are competing in their first sports car race. Ward, who has extensive race car experience and finished second in the 1999 Indy 500, competed in the Daytona event in 1997.

The American Motorcyclist Association is the primary sponsor on the car. To my knowledge this is the first time the AMA has ever done such a thing and, if the car does well, it could be great exposure for the association. Former AMA champ Ricky Carmichael, known as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) was originally scheduled to drive the event but withdrew, probably to focus on his budding NASCAR Truck career.

I don’t expect these guys to have a shot at winning, but I’d sure like to see them get a Top 5 and represent the motorcycle racing community in style. Here’s wishing them good luck.