The Estenson Racing team rebounded to score some solid results Friday night at the American Flat Track season opener at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida. During a long and at one point, red-flagged AFT SuperTwins Main Event, JD Beach rode strong to finish 10th, while teammate Kolby Carlile finished 15th. AFT Singles rider Mikey Rush started his tenure with the team just off the podium in fourth. Dallas Daniels put in a great effort all day, but had trouble in his Semi and did not make the transfer to the Main.
Hot weather and slick track conditions made for a challenging day at the series season opener. The team struggled in qualifying on both sides of the tent, but they put their heads together to make some gains. The AFT SuperTwins Main Event experienced a delayed start after some moisture was discovered on the back straight of the track during the sighting laps. When racing got underway, Beach got a decent start from the fourth row and was in 12th before the red flag came out. The field formed a staggered start and got back underway with the Kentucky rider comfortably in eighth. He held good lap times, but ultimately gave up a few spots to finish 10th when the checkered flag flew.
New to the class and the deep field, Carlile had his work cut out for him starting from the back row on a track that was very difficult to make a pass. He kept pressing on, and was eventually able to finish 15th for the night.
On the AFT Singles side of the tent, Rush found himself starting well from the second row aboard his Yamaha YZ450F and was in the thick of the battle with the lead pack. He made a final charge on the last lap, but was just 0.04 seconds behind third.
Unfortunately Daniels’ night ended early in the Semi. The 17-year-old got jammed up at the start and in trying to make his way forward went off the groove a couple times, and found himself just outside of that final transfer position.
The riders get another go on the Volusia Half-Mile on Saturday, July 18 for Round 2 of the season in Barberville, Florida.
Tommy Hayden – Estenson Racing Team Manager
“I am happy to get one race under our belt. To finally get on the track after a long off season and see where we’d end up. The results aren’t what we hoped for but at the end of the day we learned a lot. I do feel like we should be a little stronger tomorrow night. I like this doubleheader format for that reason. You get more of a chance to try some stuff and learn some stuff. We’ll see what we can do when we line up tomorrow.”
JD Beach – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“We started out the day struggling a little bit. We thought we had something good on Thursday during our test, but the track was different today. Wind and other factors changed things and I think we lost sight of our bike setup trying to chase the track. After the Semi, we went back to what we ran yesterday for the Main Event and it actually worked really well. The first 15-20 laps it worked really well. It was a good race for us, finding that set up. It was the longest race we had run – I think it was around 37 laps – so we learned a lot about the setup. I think we are starting off way better than last year. We will see what we can do tomorrow.”
Kolby Carlile – Estenson Racing AFT SuperTwins
“I learned a lot. The track changed a lot. This is the first time we were on a track with calcium, and it was different from what we had yesterday, so we were chasing that a lot. We hurt ourselves pretty bad in the Semi and didn’t set ourselves up at all for the Main with track position. We made some changes, but I got stuck behind a few riders and it was probably the toughest track to pass on all year. If I would have gotten by, I think I could have made up some time. We’ll have to work better not put ourselves at the back to start.”
Mikey Rush – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“We struggled a little bit on setup earlier in the day, but made some great decisions before the Main Event. I didn’t get a great start, but overall a decent start from the second row. I felt like I made a lot of passes and I’m so glad the series went to a timed race versus laps. That helped me out a bunch. I tried to put in smooth laps throughout the race. It was tough to pass so I was happy to be one of the few riders to make some passes. I almost had third at the line but we’ll take fourth. We have such a great crew behind us, I know we can be up there.”
Dallas Daniels – Estenson Racing AFT Singles
“We started the day with a bad qualifying session. I had a good start in the Semi but ran into the back of a few guys. The changes we made took a few laps to get used to but then I made a silly mistake and fell back to 10th. I was coming back but then made the same mistake again. Not really much to say about today other than it was a bad day. I have an awesome team behind me so it’s nothing other than myself that needs to improve. I know last year there were guys that won championships that missed races so I know it can happen, but we made it really hard on ourselves. The glory of these new doubleheaders is that it gives us another chance to go after a podium tomorrow.”