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Mar 15, 2019

Daytona 200: Sean Dylan Kelly Becomes Youngest Pole-Sitter In Race's 78-Year History (Updated)

Sean Dylan Kelly (311). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

Floridian Sean Dylan Kelly used a Dunlop-shod M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R600 to record the fastest lap time, a 1:49.064, during qualifying Friday at Daytona International Speedway, earning the pole position for the 78th running of the Daytona 200.

And at age 16 years and 302 days, Kelly also became the youngest pole-sitter for the race, according to Daytona 200 historian and former race winner Don Emde.

(Above) Sean Dylan Kelly (right), age 16, being interviewed by former racer and Daytona International Speedway public address announcer Richard Chambers (left). Photo by David Swarts, copyright Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

“Talk about being excited, I’m absolutely stoked to be on pole here!” said Kelly. “I didn’t really expect it coming into the weekend. That wasn’t the first thing in my mind.

“I knew that after [winning] the [ASRA] Team Challenge in October [2018] this would be something similar but at the same time completely different. There’s a whole lot more competition. There’s a lot of good riders this year running the 200.

“I was just coming in from a solid week of testing with the team, and it was my first time officially with them, and everything has gone super well from that moment. Today, was just working step by step with my crew chief Jeremy [Toye], and my whole team was working step by step. We saw that every time out we were improving, and the feeling was good. It definitely helps to have a really good bike, a really good crew, and everything was just going really solid.

“Again, I’m really stoked on this pole, and I definitely believe the most important [part] is tomorrow. So we will just concentrate for tomorrow and try to get the job done.”

Kelly said he did his fastest lap while riding alone late in the 35-minute session on the same Dunlop tires he started the session with and only benefitted from the slipstream of one slower rider, indicating he has a strong race pace.

Early in the qualifying session (the third of three sessions on Friday), Kelly worked together with his teammate Bobby Fong, who was quickest in qualifying session one and two, but the two riders got split up in slower traffic.

Fong was unable to improve on the 1:49.354 he did in the second qualifier, but that time was good enough to earn the second starting spot on the grid for the Californian.

Claiming the third and final spot on the front row was 2017 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion Jason Aguilar, who like Kelly was riding at Daytona International Speedway for only the second time in his young career. Aguilar, who lives in Placentia, California, did a 1:49.706 on his Dunlop-equipped Team Lexin/CL Auto Yamaha YZF-R6.

The 57-lap Daytona 200 is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday, March 16. It will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv.

We will update this post with a complete list of qualifying times when they become available.


78th Daytona 200

ASRA Sportbike

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

March 15

Combined Qualifying Results:

1. Sean Dylan Kelly (Suz GSX-R600), Dunlop, 1:49.064

2. Bobby Fong (Suz GSX-R600), Dunlop, 1:49.354

3. Jason Aguilar (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:49.706

4. Kyle Wyman (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 1:49.814

5. Tyler O'Hara (Kaw ZX-6R), Dunlop, 1:50.217

6. Josh Hayes (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:50.312

7. Geoff May (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:50.334

8. Danny Eslick (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:50.364

9. Jason Farrell (Kaw ZX-6R), Pirelli, 1:50.597

10. Brandon Paasch (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 1:50.760

11. Ryan Jones (Kaw ZX-6R), Pirelli, 1:50.854

12. Max Angles (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:51.046

13. Cory West (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 1:51.114

14. Jason DiSalvo (Yam YZF-R6), Michelin, 1:51.390

15. Jody Barry (Kaw ZX-6R), Pirelli, 1:51.985

16. Christian Miranda (Yam YZF-R6), 1:52.334

17. Armando Ferrer (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:52.370

18. Carl Soltisz (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:52.644

19. Ross Patterson (Kaw ZX-6R), 1:52.711

20. Joseph Giannotto (Yam YZF-R6), 1:52.846

21. Wayne Reyne Veras (MV Agusta F3 675), 1:53.575

22. Joseph Blasius (Tri Daytona 675R), Michelin, 1:53.592

23. Gwen Giabbani (Suz GSX-R600), Dunlop, 1:53.763

24. Darren James (Yam YZF-R6), 1:53.845

25. Alen Gyorfi (Yam YZF-R6), 1:54.271

26. Max Flinders (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:54.324

27. Bailey Cox (Kaw ZX-6R), Dunlop, 1:54.379

28. Tony Storniolo (Kaw ZX-6R), Pirelli, 1:54.429

29. Barrett Long (Duc 848), Dunlop, 1:54.523

30. Pat Mooney Sr. (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 1:54.931

31. Anthony Fania Jr. (Yam YZF-R6), 1:55.991

32. Justin Holderman (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 1:56.391

33. Kristofer Knopf (Yam YZF-R6), 1:56.796

34. Tyler Wasserbauer (Kaw ZX-6R), 1:57.895

35. Alex Arango (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:57.992

36. Alexander Guilbeault (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:58.193

37. Adam Wingard (Yam YZF-R6), Michelin, 1:58.227

38. Daniel Spaulding (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:58.389

39. Ryne Snooks (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 1:58.394

40. Alejandro Rei (Yam YZF-R6), 1:58.435

41. Timothy Wilson (Kaw ZX-6R), 1:58.743

42. Daniel Weems (Yam YZF-R6), 1:58.823

43. Johnny Rock Page (Yam YZF-R6), 1:59.045

44. Gabriel Wingard (Yam YZF-R6), 1:59.055

45. Rick Lind (Yam YZF-R6), 1:59.286

46. James Barry (Yam YZF-R6), 1:59.543

47. John Ashmead (Kaw ZX-6R), 1:59.693

48. Bradley Moser (Kaw ZX-6R), 2:00.282

49. Darrin Klemens (Kaw ZX-6R), 2:00.599

50. David McPherson (Yam YZF-R6), 2:00.940

51. Russ Intravartolo (Yam YZF-R6), Pirelli, 2:01.179

52. Antal Halasz (Suz GSX-R600), 2:01.372

53. Andrew Abel (Suz GSX-R600), Pirelli, 2:01.560

54. Chris Sullivan (Yam YZF-R6), 2:01.784

55. Patrick Ryan (Kaw ZX-6R), 2:01.793

56. R. Scott Briody (Kaw ZX-6R), 2:02.215

57. Mikal Pechota (Suz GSX-R600), 2:02.343

58. Zoltan Nemes (Suz GSX-R600), 2:02.784

59. William Finnerty (Tri Daytona 675), Pirelli, 2:03.660

60. Dorsey DJ Birch (Suz GSX-R600), 2:03.801

61. Roosevelt Wright Jr. (Yam YZF-R6), 2:04.134

62. Christopher Dove (Yam YZF-R6), Dunlop, 2:04.721

63. Bob Berbeco (Suz GSX-R600), 2:04.896

64. David Moser (Duc 848), Bridgestone, 2:05.066



More, from a press release issued by Daytona International Speedway:

Sean Dylan Kelly, 16, Becomes Youngest Pole Winner in DAYTONA 200 History

· Defending and 4-Time Champion Danny Eslick Qualifies 8th

· 78th DAYTONA 200 on Saturday at 1 p.m.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 15, 2019) – Suzuki rider Sean Dylan Kelly, a 16-year-old making his DAYTONA 200 debut, became the youngest pole winner in the race’s 78-year history on Friday, posting a fast lap of 115.859 mph at Daytona International Speedway.

On Saturday, tradition will be renewed on the 3.51-mile DIS road course with the green flag at 1 p.m. (ET) for the 57-lap/200-mile event that will wrap up the 78th Bike Week At DAYTONA. Leading the three-abreast field will be a front row of Kelly, second-fastest qualifier Bobby Fong on a Suzuki (115.551) and third-fastest Jason Aguilar on a Yamaha (115.181). Noted motorcycle historian – and former DAYTONA 200 champion – Don Emde confirmed Kelly’s age was a record for a polesitter.

Sanctioned by the American Sportbike Racing Association (ASRA), the DAYTONA 200 is an integral part of Daytona Beach’s rich racing history, dating to 1937 when it was held on the Daytona Beach-road course that utilized both the Atlantic Ocean shoreline and State Road A1A. It quickly became a companion to the course’s stock-car races that were first held in 1936. The DAYTONA 200 moved from the beach-road course to the speedway in 1961, the facility’s third year of existence.

Kelly posted the pole-winning lap during the last of three Friday qualifying sessions. His M4 Ecstar Suzuki teammate Fong led the first two sessions with top speeds of 115.204 and 115.551.

While Kelly is racing in the DAYTONA 200 for the first time, he is familiar with the “World Center of Racing.” Last October he won the ASRA Team Challenge at the speedway.

“I’m so, so happy to get this [pole],” said Kelly, from Hollywood, Florida. “But the important thing is [Saturday]. It will be a long, long race – but I will sleep well tonight.

“Talk about being exciting. I am absolutely stoked to be on the pole. I didn’t really expect it coming into the weekend. It wasn’t the first thing in my mind. I knew after the Team Challenge that this would be something similar but at the same time completely different. There’s a whole lot more competition and a lot of good riders this year running the 200. I was coming in after a solid week testing and today was just [about] working, working, step-by-step with my crew chief and whole team in general. Every time out we were really improving. Everything was just going really solid.”

When you’re talking history these days regarding the DAYTONA 200, Danny Eslick is invariably central to the discussion. A four-time (2014-15, 2016-17) champion of the event, Eslick qualified eighth on a Yamaha. The Tulsa, Oklahoma rider is attempting to become the third five-time DAYTONA 200 champion. Scott Russell (1992, ’94-95, ’97-98) and Miguel Duhamel (1991, ’96, ’99, 2003, ’05) share the all-time record for DAYTONA 200 victories.

Tickets for the DAYTONA 200 and all speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.



More, from a press release issued by Team Hammer:

KELLY AND FONG QUALIFY 1-2 FOR THE DAYTONA 200

Team Hammer has locked down the top two spots on the grid for Saturday's 78th Daytona 200. Pitted against a deep field of contenders boasting a stack of national titles and Daytona 200 victories, Team M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammates Sean Dylan Kelly and Bobby Fong showcased spectacular speed on Friday afternoon to qualify on pole and in second position, respectively.

Teenager Kelly has been blazing fast at Daytona International Speedway, and threw down a best time of 1:49.064 in the third and final qualifying session. In doing so, he became the youngest pole winner in the prestigious race's nearly-eight decade history, at 16 years and 302 days old.

Kelly has impressed not only with his rapid pace, but also his rapid adaptation to the team and its Suzuki GSX-R600 Supersport racebike following three seasons riding what is essentially a Moto3 250cc racebike in the MotoGP Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup.


After winning the pole, Kelly said, "Overall, I'm really, really happy how we've started this week. I wasn't expecting the pole position here at Daytona, but I'm really happy to start this way. We've been moving in a good direction from the first moment on the bike. Working with my crew chief, Jeremy Toye, we've continued to make good steps, and overall, I'm happy with how the bike is working -- and really how the whole team is working. This is just about the best way to start the weekend, and tomorrow we'll see if we can finish the job."

Fong, a 28-year-old AMA Pro and MotoAmerica veteran, will start from second on the grid with a best lap of 1:49.354. Earlier, he'd set the time to beat heading into the final session, having sat on provisional pole for the first two qualifying sessions. The experienced Fong has previously finished on the podium in the grueling 200-mile race and understands what it will take to translate his undeniable speed into race-winning form.

"I'm excited to get the 57 laps going tomorrow," said Fong. "We've been working good all weekend, and actually, ever since I first got on the bike last Tuesday, I've been happy with it. My teammate is going good, too. It's a long race so anything can happen. The fastest rider doesn't always win in the end here, so we've just got to play it smart, have a good strategy, and charge hard. My fitness is good. I've been training hard, and there's nothing out there that is going to fatigue me. It's just a mental game out there, and I'm ready to get going."

The 78th Daytona 200 is scheduled to get underway at 1:00pm ET on Saturday afternoon.

About Team Hammer


The 2019 season marks Team Hammer's 39th consecutive year of operating as a professional road racing team. Racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 70 AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National races, have finished on AMA Pro and MotoAmerica National podiums 202 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, as well as two FIM South American Championships. The team has also won 135 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running "Methanol Monster" GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won four F-USA Championships.