In just his fifth race in the professional ranks, Estenson Racing’s Dallas Daniels put on a masterclass performance in his home state of Illinois to score his first-career American Flat Track AFT Singles victory at the Peoria TT. His teammate Ryan Wells pushed through adversity to score points.
Daniels’ day got off to a good start, qualifying in the top three. The 16-year-old backed that up with a third-place finish in his Heat race then went on to turn a lot of heads with an impressive win in the Semi. In the Main Event, he quickly worked his way into second and was able to take the lead from the reigning AFT Singles Champion in turn three on lap two. From there on, the rookie put his head down to build a gap and take the win by 2.124 seconds aboard the Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F.
On the flip side, the day did not go as smoothly for Wells. He had a solid start to qualifying in fifth, but unfortunately, he was sidelined with a technical issue in the second qualifying session. When it came time for the Heat races, the track had changed, and Wells was unable to find his comfort zone in the demanding conditions. He finished fourth in his Heat race and crossed the line eighth in his Semi, which put him on the third row of the grid for the Main Event. The 2016 AFT Singles champ soldiered on to finish the race 15th and score points.
Estenson Racing’s AFT Singles team gets a weekend off before returning to Illinois for the Springfield Short Track on Friday, August 30.Dallas Daniels – AFT Singles #163:
“It feels awesome, not only for me to get my first win, but to reward everybody who’s been helping me over the years and my awesome team, Estenson Racing. We’ve had to face some adversity already here at the beginning of our short season, but it’s been good for us because we’ve been learning how to rebound and how to come back stronger when we have bad days.
“Coming here I felt really confident. I have ridden this track a couple times. My dad always went very well here. I was in the top three in both qualifying sessions, got third my Heat race, won the Semi, so we were sitting second for the Main Event. I knew I had the speed. I just had to get an okay start. I didn’t really need to holeshot it. I just needed to play it safe the first few laps. I got past Jesse [Janisch] going into turn one, and he ran it up the inside of me, and I was actually able to square up him and [Ryan] Sipes and pass both of them at the same time. Then I followed [Dan] Bromley for a little bit. I had kind of a line going off the jump through the right-hander and the left. I would get out a little wider and miss the bumps going into turn three. Bromley hit them and huckabucked, and I was able to get to the bottom and pass him. That was really it. At about two laps to go, I looked back just to make sure – because I was starting to kind of make some mistakes. I was making myself tired and getting nervous, but coming across the line and seeing everybody and being able to take my dad and sister for our first victory lap, it’s hard to put into words. My family, my mom, my sister, they’ve all done so much for me. My grandma, my grandpa, my mechanics – Josie, Larry… Everybody’s done so much, and to get it here at my home track, it was awesome.”Ryan Wells – AFT Singles #94:
“I started off the day pretty good. I was fifth in the first qualifying session, but I had to miss the second qualifying session. We went out for the Heat race and the track just got way rougher than the last time I was out there. It was just really hard for me to kind of catch up, I think. It’s a tough track. There’s one thing about this track, when jump is rough, it’s hard for me to get used to it. Of course, the jump got rough today. I just was not comfortable at all. It’s definitely not the results we were looking for, but we’re looking forward to the Springfield Short Track. We’re going to try to make another run for it and finish off the year strong.”