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May 29, 2013

Westby Still Optimistic Of AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Championship Chances

GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Championship: Dane "The Wolverine" Westby. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
GEICO Motorcycle's Westby returns to competition at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - With the pain and disappointment of the season-opening race well behind him, GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby is focused on getting back in the championship hunt of the GoPro Daytona SportBike class in the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series.

The season will resume this weekend with the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America, and Westby can't wait to get started after weeks of no motorcycles and little activity as the result of a serious spleen injury suffered in a pre-race crash at Daytona International Speedway.

"It was a long few months of sitting around," Westby said. "When we tested last week, I felt right back at home on the bike after a few laps. It felt really nice."

The team's test in Alabama was extremely productive and Westby can't wait to start racing for real again.

"The team has been working hard to make the bike all nice for me," Westby said. "It really is one of the nicest motorcycles I've ever ridden. I'm excited for this weekend because Road America is one of my favorite tracks."

Westby wasn't able to ride in the Daytona 200, so he will enter this weekend's event with no points. However, he feels fortunate because Daytona is one of the few stops on the schedule with just one race during the weekend rather than two like at Road America.

"If I can string together a couple of wins, we'll be right there in the thick of things," Westby said. "I've always done some of my best racing with my back against the wall. Last year I started on the sixth row in New Jersey and fought for the win, so maybe it won't be so bad coming from behind. Maybe I'll make the other guys look over their shoulders."

Westby said Road America's lengthy 4.05-mile, 14-turn layout makes the track one of his favorites on the schedule.

"It's an old style of racetrack," Westby said. "It's got some walls that are close to the track. The Canada Corner is kind of hairy. I just enjoy that kind of racing.

"There are a lot of drafting opportunities, so there will be a lot of pack racing in this round."

Practice for the GoPro Daytona SportBikes gets under way at 1 p.m. CDT Friday at Road America and the first qualifying session is at 4 p.m. The final qualifier will start at 8:50 a.m. Saturday and Race 1 begins at 1 p.m. The second race of the doubleheader will start at 1 p.m. Sunday. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the races at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.