What Is The Daytona 200?
The biggest race of the MotoAmerica Superbike season is the Daytona 200. Similar to NASCAR’s Daytona 500, the race kicks off the season and has a rich history in the sport. Keep reading to learn more about the Daytona 200.
- Venue: Daytona International Speedway
- Location: Daytona Beach, Florida
- First Race: 1937
- Distance: 200.07 miles (321.98 km)
- Laps: 57
- Most Rider Wins: Miguel Duhamel, Scott Russell (5 wins each)
- Most Team Wins: Yamaha Motor Company (12 wins)
- Most Manufacturer Wins: Yamaha (26 wins)
- Prize Pool: $175,000
What Is the Daytona 200?
The Daytona 200 is a famous 200-mile motorcycle race that serves as the season opener for the MotoAmerica Superbike World Championship. The Daytona 200 is held every year at the beginning of March. The race takes place over 57 laps of Daytona International Speedway’s 3.51-mile (5.65 km) infield course that is used for sports car and motorcycle racing. The Daytona 200 is one of America’s most popular motorcycle races and is reliably the most-watched race of the MotoAmerica Superbike schedule.
Daytona 200 History
The Daytona 200 is known as America’s most historic motorcycle race, and it has been held since 1937. NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. created the race by finding a new venue for what was previously the Savannah 200, a 200-mile motorcycle race that had been held in Georgia since 1932. In the early years, the Daytona 200 was run on the 3.2-mile Daytona Beach Road Course.
After a break during World War II, racing continued and then moved to the newly built Daytona International Speedway in 1957. For three years, the race ran on the two-mile oval course, but then an infield road course that incorporated part of the oval was created for motorcycle racing over safety concerns. The Daytona 200 reached the height of its popularity in the 1970s, but it remains the most popular MotoAmerica Superbike race.
There are two initial qualifying sessions, usually a day apart. To qualify for the race, a rider must set a time no more than 10% slower than the fastest qualifying time. The 12 riders with the fastest times between both sessions advance to a Time Attack session, a 15-minute final qualifying session used to set the front of the field.
All riders that set a fast enough qualifying time are permitted to start the race. The starting grid is set up in rows of three. The 12 Time Attack riders make up the first 12 starting positions, and the riders for starting positions 13 and up are determined by the times set in initial qualifying.
Daytona 200 Format
The Daytona 200 is run continuously, but pit stops for refueling are required to complete the race. The need for efficient pit stops and the grueling, endurance nature of the competition make the Daytona 200 one of the most difficult Superbike races to complete. The race winner earns 25 points, second place gets 20, and third place gets 16. Fourth place gets 13 points, fifth gets 11, and points decrease by a single point per finishing position from there.
Teams and Riders
The Daytona 200 draws a wide range of teams beyond the full-time competitors in the MotoAmerica Superbike series, as it is the most prestigious race of the season. Most teams field a single bike but some have multiple riders. Some of the biggest teams are Tytlers Cycle Racing, Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki, Fresh N Lean Progressive Yamaha Racing Team, and Edge Racing.
Typically, around 50 riders attempt to qualify for the Daytona 500. The number of riders that start the race depends on how many are able to set a qualifying time no more than 10% slower than the fastest qualifying time. The riders in MotoAmerica Superbike are some of the best motorcycle riders in the world. Superbike is the premier class of sport bike road racing sanctioned by MotoAmerica. These riders show their talents on highly modified production motorcycles at speeds approaching 200 mph.
Why is the Daytona 200 so important?
The Daytona 200 is so important because it is the biggest race of the MotoAmerica Superbike schedule. Held in early March, the race is a season-opener for the series and its most prestigious race.
How does the Daytona 200 work?
The Daytona 200 is run continuously over 57 laps of the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. The first rider to cross the start/finish line when the checkered flag is waved (signaling the end of the race) is declared the winner. Points are awarded to the top 13 finishers that can be used toward the Riders’ Championship.
How long is the Daytona 200?
The Daytona 200 is 200.07 miles long and is run over 57 laps. The race usually takes just under two hours to complete.